JP Morgan a ‘No Show’ in Deliveries For Its Own Account So Far in April

04 April 2017 — Tuesday


The gold price showed a bit of weakness the moment trading began in New York at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening — and that weakness became more pronounce starting around noon China Standard Time on their Monday, with the low tick of the day coming at, or just after the noon silver fix was done for the day in London. The price began to edge higher from there — and then rallied a bit more aggressively once the London p.m. gold fix was over.  That rally got capped/ran out of gas shortly after London closed for the day — and it didn’t do much after that.

The low and high ticks aren’t worth looking up, but here they are anyway…$1,246.40 and $1,255.90 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Monday session in New York at 1,253.00 spot, up $3.80 on the day.  Net volume wasn’t overly heavy at just under 130,000  contracts.

The silver price chopped quietly lower as well once trading began on Sunday evening in New York — and it’s low tick of the day was set around 9:10 a.m. EDT on Monday morning in COMEX trading.  It rallied for about thirty minutes — and then, like gold, chopped mostly sideways for the rest of the day, but did tack on a few more pennies in the thinly-traded after-hours market.

Silver closed in New York yesterday at $18.23 spot — up a half a penny from Friday’s close.  Net volume was about ‘average’…whatever that means these days…at a hair under 39,000 contracts.

Platinum was higher by 6 dollars by 8:30 a.m. China Standard Time [CST] on their Monday morning, but gave up more than half of that by the Zurich open.  It traded flat from there until shortly after the COMEX open, before getting sold down to its low tick of the day by shortly after 9 a.m. in New York trading.  By 10:30 a.m. it was back at its Far East high…but was obviously capped at that price for the rest of the day.  Platinum was closed on Monday at $955 spot, up 7 bucks from Friday.

Palladium made it back above the $800 spot mark by shortly before 9 a.m. in Shanghai — and from there chopped very unsteadily lower until shortly before 2 p.m. in Zurich.  It’s rally above $800 spot from there was sold off moments before 9 a.m. in New York.  But once the p.m. gold fix was in, it rallied to $804 spot — and obviously ran into ‘all the usual suspects’ before getting sold down a bit from there.  Palladium managed to close above the $800 mark, but only by a dollar — and up 4 bucks from Friday’s close.

The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 100.57 — and began to head lower once trading commenced in New York at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday afternoon.  The 100.38 low tick of the day came shortly before noon CST — and began to rally from there, albeit in a very broad range, with the 100.69 high tick of the day coming a minute or so after the London close.  It headed lower from there — and finished the Monday session at 100.50…down 7 basis points from Friday.  Nothing much to see here.

And here’s the 3-day U.S. dollar index chart, so you can see Monday’s data in some context.

Here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index — and there’s not much to see here, either…except for the fact that at its high tick yesterday, it touched its 50-day moving average.  It remains to be seen whether that means anything as the week progresses.

The gold shares opened unchanged and rallied quietly until shortly after the COMEX close — and didn’t do a lot after that, although they did finish the day on their respective high ticks.  The HUI closed higher by 2.37 percent.

The silver equities also opened unchanged — and rallied to their highs by around 11:20 a.m. in New York — and from there they chopped sideways for the remainder of the Monday trading session.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed higher by 1.94 percent, which is certainly a positive considering the fact that silver closed at basically unchanged on the day.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 134 gold and 62 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  In gold, the only short/issuer worth noting was JP Morgan with 100 contracts out of its client account.  International F.C. Stone was in very distant second place with 21 contracts.  There were nine short/issuers in total.  There were 13 long/stoppers.  The three largest were S.G. Americas, International F.C. Stone — and JP Morgan, with 32, 28 and 28 contracts…and all for their respective client accounts.  In silver, the only short/issuer worthy of the name was International F.C. Stone with 60 contracts from its client account.  Scotiabank stopped 45 — and Citigroup stopped 13.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

As Ted pointed out in his Saturday column, JP Morgan [for its own account] has been missing in action so far this month.

The CME Preliminary Report showed that gold open interest in April dropped by 219 contracts, leaving 2,572 still open, minus the 134 mentioned above.  Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 57 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 219-57=162 gold contracts disappeared from the April contract without either making or taking delivery.  Silver o.i. in April declined by 2 contracts, leaving 472 still around.  Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero silver contracts were posted for delivery today…so those two contract holders also disappeared from the April delivery month as per my comments about April open interest in gold.

There was a decent-sized deposit in GLD on Monday, as an authorized participant added 142,795 troy ounces — and as of 6:48 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

The folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the goings-on in their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of business on Friday, March 31 — and this is what they had to report.  Their gold ETF declined by a smallish 1,020 troy ounces — and their silver ETF went down by 54,592 troy ounces.

There was a sales report from the U.S. Mint to start off the new month.  They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — plus 255,000 silver eagles.

There was a decent amount of gold action over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories on the U.S. east coast on Friday.  There was 3,000.000 troy ounces deposited at Brink’s, Inc. — and that precise amount would represent three hundred 10-oz gold bars.  There was also 63,760 troy ounces shipped out.  There was 1 kilobar [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight shipped out of Brink’s, Inc. — and the other 63,727 troy ounces came out of Canada’s Scotiabank.  The link to that activity is here.

And after a frantic and unprecedented first four days of last week, not one ounce of silver was moved either in or out on Friday.

It was pretty quiet as well over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Friday, as they only reported receiving 865 of them — and shipped out 150.  Except for 1 kilobar shipped out of Loomis International, all of the rest of the in/out activity was at Brink’s, Inc. as per usual.  The link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

Here are a couple of charts that Nick Laird passed around on Sunday.  I talked about this in my Saturday column. They show U.S. gold [eagles and buffaloes] and silver eagle sales updated with March’s data.  Here’s visual representation that retail bullion sales suck.  December 2016 sales shouldn’t be considered, because the mint cut off sales for the rest of the year as they went into production for the 2017 calendar year.  Click to enlarge.

I have an average number of stories today — and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you.


Almost a Decade Later, U.S. Money Markets Are Yet to Recover

Regulators’ effort to stamp out risk in the $2.6 trillion U.S. money-fund industry is creating unintended ripple effects across financial markets, with far-reaching consequences for companies and investors.

Far less cash than anticipated has returned to the higher-yielding slice of the money-fund world, after the overhaul that took effect in October led to a $1 trillion exodus from what are known as prime funds. They’ve been the principal buyers of the commercial paper that companies and both foreign and domestic banks have sold for decades to obtain short-term U.S. dollar-denominated financing.

By squelching demand from prime funds, commercial-paper rates relative to other money-market securities have risen, and are now at the highest levels since the financial crisis, causing borrowers to seek new sources of funding like the short-term securities lending market. Investors are also feeling the pinch — most money funds are stuck with Treasury bills offering paltry rates. What’s more, the massive shift toward funds that can only buy the safest U.S. debt has created the potential for a bottleneck if Congress is unable to resolve long-simmering disputes related to the nation’s debt ceiling.

The biggest losers are financial institutions,” said Anthony Carfang, a Chicago-based managing director at Treasury Strategies, a consultant for corporations and financial-services providers. “U.S. financials and non-financials have also been hurt. There are very few U.S. corporations getting funding from prime funds.

The commercial-paper market is a shadow of its former self, with foreign financial issuance up only about $20 billion since November, as overseas institutions gravitate to high-quality, short-term government assets to secure U.S. dollar funding. Non-U.S. banks lost $555 billion of U.S. dollar funding from prime funds since December 2015, according to the Bank for International Settlements’ Quarterly Review published March 6.

This very interesting Bloomberg article put in an appearance on their website at 4:00 p.m. Denver time on Sunday afternoon — and was subsequently updated at 9:16 a.m. on Monday morning MDT.  I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for today’s first story — and another link to it is here.

Put me in, coach: Money is pouring into the market from the sidelines

The bullish beginning of 2017 did more than set a sizzling pace for the year — it actually pulled some long-dormant cash off the sidelines.

As the S&P 500 gained 4.7 percent, and bonds managed to stay above water, investors yanked about $75 billion out of low-yielding money market accounts and put it to work, according to data from the Investment Company Institute and TrimTabs. The total represented about 2.7 percent of all assets.

That money accounted for a sizable chunk of the $162 billion that flowed to both stocks and bond funds during the quarter, TrimTabs said.  The money market total is through February, the most recent data available from the ICI.

Though bonds barely moved during the quarter, the sector received the greater portion of that money. Fixed income ETFs pulled in just more than $100 billion, the highest level in four years. Global stock fund inflows, meanwhile, totaled $39.8 billion, the most since the second quarter of 2015. The rest of the inflows were scattered among other categories.

If the current trends hold through the year, it would show a marked reversal in trend. Money markets are a traditional safe haven for investors, so outflows often signal a willingness to take risk.

This CNBC story showed up on their website around 3p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon — and I found it on Doug Noland’s website.  Another link to it is here.

Insider Selling Hit 6-Year Highs As Retail Investors Rushed Into Stocks

Yet while retail investors, whether due to latent “Trumpforia”, or other reasons, were allocating cash to risk assets, others were selling, most notably corporate insiders, who according to TrimTabs unloaded $10 billion ($500 million) in stock in the first quarter, the highest volume since February 2011, even as corporate buybacks continued to decline to the lowest level since November 2013. Some more details:

   U.S. companies have been committing less money to shrink the float ever since the election. In March through Thursday, March 30, announced corporate buying (new cash takeovers + new stock buybacks) of $44.5 billion was only 1.5 times the $29.5 billion in new offerings. This buy/sell ratio is the lowest since November 2013. Since the start of November 2016, the buy/sell ratio has been 2.7-to-1, below the average of 4.3-to-1 in all of 2016.

    As companies have been less willing to use cash to support share prices, corporate insiders have been selling at the fastest pace in six years. Insiders unloaded $9.9 billion ($500 million daily) in February and $9.7 billion ($450 million daily) in March, the highest monthly volumes since February 2011.

Do buying mom and pop investors know something selling corporate insiders do not? Normally, some would smile at this assumption, alas in this day and age when retail investors are increasingly becoming the “smartest” money (with hedge funds almost terminally relegated to “dumb money” status), this time may just be different. For the definitive answer check back this time next quarter.

This story was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 3:19 p.m. on Monday afternoon EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

Beginning of the End? Auto OEMs Miss March Sales ‘Bigly’ As Stocks Tumble

Despite continued heavy incentive spending, every auto OEM, with the exception of Nissan, missed their sales forecasts for the month of March.  The “D3” were the biggest losers of the month with GM sales up 1.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} YoY vs. estimates of +7.0{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} while Ford sales dropped -7.2{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} and Fiat Chrysler declined -5.0{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}.  Car sales were even worse with industry volumes down 10.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} overall versus light truck sales that were up 5.2{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} according to Autodata.

As Bloomberg points out, the massive sales misses come even though there “were a lot of incentives during the month” which will almost certainly result in further production cuts.

The results cast doubt on expectations that industrywide U.S. auto sales would bounce back following declines in the first two months of the year. Carmakers are using heavy discounts to try to trim inventory that’s swelled to the highest level in more than a decade. GM has dialed back output of cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze, while Fiat Chrysler is eliminating models including the Dodge Dart compact.

    “Sales are under forecast, and there were a lot of incentives during the month,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst with, said by phone. “Before long, we will see more production cuts.”

    GM sees the the industry’s annualized sales pace, adjusted for seasonal trends, accelerating to 17 million for the month, trailing analysts’ estimates for a rate of 17.2 million. The selling pace was 16.7 million a year earlier.

This far-from-surprising news item was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 3:40 p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon — and it’s certainly worth your while if it interests you.  Another link to it is here.

Retail earnings on track for worst quarter in more than three years

If you thought the fourth quarter was tough on retailers, brace yourself for an even more dismal first-quarter report card.

With roughly two-thirds of the fiscal quarter in the books for most chains, Retail Metrics expects the sector’s earnings to fall 6.8 percent. That would mark the worst three-month performance since the final quarter of 2013, when profits fell 7.1 percent, according to the firm’s data.

Revenues are also expected to be their weakest since the fiscal 2013 fourth quarter. They’re seen rising just 1.6 percent, compared with a 1 percent gain during that period. Retail Metrics’ data is based on the historical and expected performance from 113 companies.

It has been a cruel [first quarter] for the industry,” Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins said in a report.

This CNBC story appeared on their Internet site very late on Monday morning EDT — and it’s something I plucked from this morning’s edition of the King Report.  Another link to it is here.

Jim Rickards: The Financial System Will Crash Sooner Than Later

There’s a lot of financial and political upheaval on the horizon, Jim Rickards Highly recommends that “people have at least 10{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of your financial wealth in physical gold and silver.”

Please Join Greg Hunter as he sits down with four time, best-selling author James Rickards, with his newly updated paperback book “The Death of Money.”

This 53-minute video interview…posted on the Internet site yesterday…which Hunter headlines “James Rickards: Trump didn’t Get a Honeymoon…He Got a Burning Bed“…covers a lot of old ground, plus there’s some new material as well.  I watched the whole thing — and thought it worthwhile, even though I know Rickards stuff inside out.  Several subscribers sent me this story yesterday, but the first person through the door with it was Jim Gullo — and another link to it is here.

Venezuela: Supreme court backtracks on powers bid

The Venezuelan supreme court has reversed its ruling to strip congress of its legislative powers.

It made the decision after the government of President Nicolas Maduro urged it to review the ruling “to maintain institutional stability“.

The initial decision – announced on Wednesday – had been denounced as a “coup” by the opposition, which dominates the National Assembly.

Anti-government protesters have staged daily protests against the move.

The supreme court announced the reversal on its website.

This news story was posted on the on April 1 — and I doubt very much if it was an April Fools’ joke.  I thank Patrik Ekdahl for his second contribution to today’s column — and another link to it is here.

April Fools’ — The Best One I Received on Saturday

This spring, Google is introducing the self-driving bicycle in Amsterdam, the world’s premier cycling city. The Dutch cycle more than any other nation in the world, almost 900 kilometres per year per person, amounting to over 15 billion kilometres annually.

The self-driving bicycle enables safe navigation through the city for Amsterdam residents, and furthers Google’s ambition to improve urban mobility with technology. Google Netherlands takes enormous pride in the fact that a Dutch team worked on this innovation that will have great impact in their home country.

This appeared on the Internet site on the weekend — and Google spent a lot of time and money on this one.  I can’t remember who sent it to me first, as I only thought of including it when I mentioned April Fools’ in the BBC story that precedes this one.  Another link to it is here.

Rioters storm Paraguay congress and set it on fire after vote to extend president’s term

Two top Paraguayan government officials were fired on Saturday after a protester died in violent clashes sparked by a secret Senate vote on a constitutional amendment allowing President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election.

While the capital city Asuncion had calmed down the day after Paraguay’s Congress was stormed and set on fire, protests may resume if the lower house votes on the amendment next week.

The violent upheaval punctured a period of relative stability under Cartes, in which the soy and beef exporting nation became one of South America’s fastest-growing economies and began to move past a long history of political uncertainty.

Rodrigo Quintana, 25, was killed by a rubber bullet fired by police who entered the headquarters of the Liberal Party, the country’s second-largest, opposition politicians and a federal prosecutor said.

In a Facebook message on Saturday, Cartes said the loss of Quintana’s life was “unjustifiable” and “a calamity.” He pledged to hold those responsible accountable and said he would submit to “self criticism.”

This news item showed up on the Internet site on April 1 — and was updated the next day.  I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.

May Laughs Off Gibraltar War Talk, Says It’s Jaw-Jaw Instead

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May laughed off the suggestion she’d go to war over Gibraltar and said any dispute about the tiny British territory at the southern tip of Spain will be resolved through dialogue.

The issue flared up after Michael Howard, a former leader of May’s Conservatives, suggested on Sunday that Britain would fight with Spain to defend the rock. The U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union raises concerns about the status of Gibraltar and those questions were laid bare on Friday when the E.U.’s negotiating guidelines gave Spain an effective veto over whether any post-Brexit deal would also apply to the territory.

Spain urged the U.K. Monday to keep its cool and May also moved to defuse tensions. She threw her head back and let out a laugh when asked about it by reporters on a plane en route to the Middle East.

What we’re doing with all European countries in the European Union is sitting down and talking to them,” May said. Pressed on whether the policy is “jaw-jaw rather than war-war,” she responded that “it’s definitely jaw-jaw.”

This Bloomberg story was posted on their Internet site at 7:00 a.m. MDT on Monday morning — and was updated less than an hour later.  It’s another offering from Patrik Ekdahl — and another link to this article is here.

Belarus: The place where western regime change dies

Russia’s Ambassador to Belarus explains how Moscow and Minsk are united against western aggression.

The blood-soaked quagmire that is Ukraine and recent statements from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson alluding to the notion that regime change in Syria is off the table, indicate that the U.S. policy of toppling governments it doesn’t like may be a thing of the past. However, western meddling in Belarus says otherwise.

But unlike neighbouring Ukraine, Belarus is looking increasingly like a rampart against the west’s regime change steamroller.

The disingenuous nature of the protests in Belarus has been exposed in light of the so-called vagabond tax being revoked by the government. Yet the monument behind the protests has not be cancelled, thus exposing these protests as having everything to do with regime change fanaticism and nothing to do with disagreements over the now defunct tax law.

It must be said that the protests have been confined to a very small portion of the population of the country and what’s more is that the government is not allowing them to spiral out of control. This contrasts sharply with Ukraine in 2014, where the government seemed totally demoralised in respect of its ability to restore law and order.

This very interesting article appeared on Internet site on Sunday sometime — and is certainly worth reading if you’re a serious student of the New Great Game.  It’s the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens — and another link to it is here.

Russia wins energy war in Europe after E.U. surrenders on Nord Stream 2

Confirmation that the E.U. Commission has dropped its opposition to Nord Stream 2 – the giant gas pipeline Russia is building through the Baltic to supply natural gas directly to Germany – effectively ends whatever doubts previously existed about the project.

More importantly, it also means Russia has won the energy war, which has been raging around the issue of Russian gas supplies to Europe over the last decade and a half.

Nord Stream 2 is the second undersea gas pipeline directly linking Russia to Germany.  It comes after Nord Stream 1, which was laid down in the late 2000s and completed in 2011, coming on stream in 2012.

The story of the export by Russia of gas to Europe is extraordinarily tangled and is scarcely ever discussed properly.  This is unfortunate because in my opinion it is the single most important reason for the collapse in relations between Russia and the West since Putin came to power in 1999.

This longish, but very interesting commentary by Alex Mercouris put in an appearance on Internet site on Sunday sometime — and it’s another offering from Roy Stephens.  Another link to it is here.

Iraqi Kurdistan sets road map for independence referendum

The major parties in Iraqi Kurdistan have agreed on a roadmap for a much-anticipated referendum on independence. Although a timeline for the landmark vote is yet to be set, the region’s leaders say it is Kurds’ “natural right” to secede from Baghdad.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met on Sunday with Masoud Barzani, the long-time president of the Kurdish autonomous region, to discuss the practicalities of the independence referendum.

In a joint statement quoted by Rudaw news outlet, Kurdish leaders declared that the vote was “a natural right of the nation of Kurdistan to decide on its political and administrative path in a referendum and an entity of an independent state.

A joint committee will now be set up to discuss the issue with the other parties of Iraqi Kurdistan as well as “to set the timing and mechanism to hold a referendum,” the statement said.

Calls for Kurdistan’s secession from Iraq gained impetus following Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) offensive on northern Iraq. Baghdad-controlled forces abandoned some areas, which were then recaptured by Kurdish Peshmerga militia and placed under their control.

This story showed up on the Internet site at 11:57 a.m. Moscow time on their Monday morning, which was 4:57 a.m. EDT in Washington.  It’s the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens — and another link to it is here.

Gold and Silver Best Performing Assets In Q1, 2017

– Gold, silver two of the best performing assets in the first quarter of 2017 with gains of  8{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} and 14{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} respectively
– Gold outperforms benchmarks – S&P 500 up 6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, MSCI (All Country World Index) up 6.4{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} (see tables)
– Nasdaq and German DAX rise 11.8{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} and 7.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}
– Silver best performing currency in quarter
– Five best performing currencies in Q1 are in order – silver, bitcoin, Mexican peso, Russian ruble and gold
– Gold’s biggest quarterly gain since Q1 16, when rose 16{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}
– Gold has seen gains in 8 of the last 10 first quarters
– Palladium and platinum  gain 17.7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} and 5.2{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} respectively
– Uncertainty over Trump’s economic and foreign policies and geo-political risks from Brexit and elections in the E.U. lead to safe haven demand for gold and silver bullion

This chart-filled news item appeared on the Internet site on Monday — and another link to it is here.

German and Swiss Precious Metals Refiners join forces as Heraeus acquires Argor-Heraeus

German precious metals group Heraeus Precious Metals (HPM), part of the Heraeus industrial group, has just announced the full acquisition of Swiss precious metals refining group Argor-Heraeus. Heraeus is headquartered in Hanau, just outside Frankfurt. Argor-Heraeus is headquartered in Mendrisio in the Swiss Canton of Ticino, beside the Italian border.

The Heraeus takeover announcement, on 3 April 2017, continues a noticeable acquisition trend in the Swiss precious metals refining sector and follows the July 2016 acquisition of Neuchâtel based Metalor Technologies by Japanese Tanaka Precious Metals, and the takeover of Ticino-based Swiss gold and silver refiner Valcambi by Indian group Rajesh Exports in July 2015. The Heraeus press release from Monday 3 April can be read here in English.

In early November 2016, BullionStar was among the first to report that Swiss Argor-Heraeus was indeed an acquisition target. At the time, market sources had indicated that the most likely acquirer was a private equity company Capinvest, with other suitors said to be Japanese group Asahi and Swiss based MKS-PAMP.

As a reminder, Argor-Hereaus had an unusual ownership structure in that it was jointly owned by 4 shareholders, namely German group Heraeus, German bank Commerzbank, the Austrian Mint, and Argor-Heraeus management. Prior to the takeover, Heraeus was the largest shareholder holding 33{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of Argor-Heraeus shares, with Commerzbank holding a further 32.7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of the equity, the Austrian Mint holding another 30{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, and Argor-Heraeus’s management holding the balance of shares.

As an existing shareholder and board member of Argor-Heraeus, the Heraeus group would have been privy to all of Argor-Heraeus’s financial and operational details, and so would have been in an advantageous position to negotiate purchase price details with Commerzbank and the Austrian Mint, which would have been a natural advantage relative to external potential acquirers.

This very interesting news item put in an appearance on the Internet site yesterday — and I found it in a GATA dispatch that Chris Powell filed from Hong Kong on their Tuesday morning.  Another link to it is here.

Gold Bugs: Why Russia is Stacking Bullion Bricks Like There’s No Tomorrow

Russia’s Central Bank purchased record amounts of gold in 2016, and plans to accelerate its purchases, retaining its spot as global leader in the growth of gold reserves. That’s according to a recent survey by the GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters. Russian economists explain the thought process behind the Bank’s purchases.

According to GFMS analysts, Russia’s Central Bank purchased 201 tons of gold in 2016, more than the central bank of any other country. The Bank made its purchases over 11 consecutive months, with purchases accelerating to an average of 36 tons per month between October and November as gold prices fell.

The analysts expect Russia to continue buying large volumes of gold in 2017, predicting about 200 tons in purchases, regardless of fluctuations in gold prices, oil prices and even exchange rates. For comparison, the report estimates the total purchases of gold by other Central Banks to amount to roughly 250 tons for the year.

Commenting on the Central Bank’s moves, economist Valentin Katasonov, professor of the faculty of international finance at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told Russia’s Svobodnaya Pressa online newspaper that the Bank is making the right move.

The Bank is doing the right thing. Specialists know that the today the price of the precious metal is undervalued, and significantly so. Therefore, investors looking for long-term results are investing in gold,” Katasonov said.

Of course, from the perspective of the short-term investor, such an investment means possible losses. The gold market includes very large speculators, who periodically reduce prices artificially for some period of time, making it possible for interested investors to buy gold at a lower price. But this market also has its own written and unwritten rules.

The Russians have known through GATA about the gold price management scheme for about ten years now — and have been acting accordingly.  This must read gold-related news item showed up on the Internet site at 9:12 p.m. Moscow time on Saturday evening, which was 2:12 p.m. in New York — EDT plus 7 hours.  I thank Tolling Jennings for finding it for us — and another link to it is here.

GATA secretary discusses gold market rigging on CNBC Asia

CNBC Asia‘s “Squawk Box” program with Bernie Lo in Hong Kong gave Chris Powell five or six minutes to discuss recent developments in gold market rigging by central banks. A two-minute, 30-second excerpt from the interview is posted at the CNBC archive.

If you’re having trouble with the CNBC link in the headline, you can try the link over at — and that’s here.



Strangest of all is the behavior of JP Morgan in silver. Over the past month the bank has acquired more than 20 million oz of physical silver, mainly through stopping COMEX futures deliveries (17 million oz) and through metal for share conversions in SLV (4 million+ oz). No one came close to acquiring that much physical silver in the past month. At the same time, the market manipulators at JP Morgan also sold 20 million oz of paper silver short on the COMEX over the past reporting week. The three words going through your head right now are abbreviated by the crude but descriptive universal symbol of how can this be, or WTF?

How could one financial institution, arguably the most important U.S. financial institution of all, be allowed to have such a dominate control on both the physical and derivative market for a single commodity? The fact that JPMorgan is buying physical and selling short paper contracts leads to the unmistakable conclusion that the bank is pressuring prices to be lower than if the short sales didn’t occur in order to buy as much physical silver as it can at those depressed prices. It is not possible there could be any more plausible or possible explanation or a more egregious example of classic antitrust behavior.

Most puzzling to me is still the sheer brazenness of JPMorgan in all matters related to silver. Why is JPMorgan so open and transparent in their silver dealings? I don’t mean to be crude, but I have to conclude that the bank just doesn’t give a crap about what anyone thinks when it comes to silver. Here we have an incredibly important institution, with hundreds of thousands of employees and whose public ownership is wide and deep and who tries to be a pillar of the community in charitable giving and the hiring of veterans, engaging in what must be called overt market manipulation. Once again, my claims are based upon very public data only a mouse click away and have been sent to the bank and the regulators all along. If JP Morgan or anyone else thinks I’m out of place, I’d love to hear why. Silver analyst Ted Butler: 01 April 2017

Although I was more than happy to see both gold and silver…plus their associated equities…finish in the plus column yesterday, it was a ‘nothing’ sort of day in the grand scheme of things.  There was nothing special about the volume in either precious metal — and the only thing worth pointing out, is the fact that silver has closed within a penny of $18.20 spot for the last five trading days in a row.  I would suspect that the odds of that happening in a free market would be in the ‘billions-to-one’ category.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper, once again.  The click to enlarge feature helps a bit with the first four charts.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I see that the gold price has been rallying in fits and starts in Far East trading on their Tuesday — and at the moment, it’s up $4.40 an ounce.  Silver has been doing the same — and is currently up 8 cents.  Platinum rallied in early Far East trading as well, but was sold down below unchanged by shortly after 2 p.m. CST, but it’s back at unchanged as the Zurich open approaches.  The price action in palladium has been similar to that of platinum, except it’s up 2 bucks.

Net HFT gold volume is a bit over 24,000 contracts, which isn’t a lot considering the current price action.  Silver’s net HFT volume is around 4,800 contracts, which is pretty light.

The dollar index dropped down to its current 100.44 low tick, which occurred at precisely 1 p.m. China Standard Time — and has  been in rally mode since — and is up to the 100.60 mark, up 10 basis points as London opens.

Today, at the close of COMEX trading, is the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report.  Along with this report comes the monthly Bank Participation Report — and this will give Ted the opportunity to recalibrate JP Morgan’s short position in the COMEX futures market.  I’ll have all of this in my Saturday column.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT this morning, I note that the gold price has been more or less capped in the first hour of trading in London — and is currently up $4.50 the ounce.  It’s the same in silver — and it’s up 7 cents.  Although platinum rallied a buck going into the Zurich open, it’s now down a dollar — and in palladium, it was up 4 bucks at one point, but is back at up 2 dollars, which is where it was at the Zurich open.

Net HFT gold volume is right at 30,000 contracts, which is still pretty light — and that number in silver is approaching 6,500 contracts, which isn’t overly heavy, either.

The dollar index continues to crawl higher — and is up 19 basis points at the moment.

Gold is back within five dollars of its 200-day moving average — and it will be interesting to see if it’s allowed to break above it with any kind of authority as the Tuesday session moves along, or will the short buyers and long sellers of last resort appear before then?

Just as a FYI, I’ve had several subscribers recently comment on the fact that I did not have a ‘safe’ site.  With the help of my webmaster, I have rectified that situation — and as of last night my site now sports an “SSL Certificate“.

That’s all I have for today — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.


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