SLV Reversal: The 11.1 Million Ounces of Silver Are Back In

12 April 2017 — Wednesday


The gold price didn’t do a whole heck of a lot in Far East trading on their Tuesday morning, but then rallied a small handful of dollars between noon CST in Shanghai and 9 a.m. BST in London.  From there it traded flat until 1 p.m. BST, which was twenty minutes before the London open — and then away it went to the upside.  The rally ended/got capped at the 11 a.m. EST London close — and from there was sold down a bit into the COMEX close.  In continued to chop a bit higher in the after-hours market, finishing the Tuesday session just off its high of the day.

The low and high ticks were reported as $1,254.70 and $1,276.50 in the June contract.

Gold finished the day at $1,274.00 spot, up $19.60 from Monday’s close — and the biggest one-day gain I can recall.  But there was a price to pay, as the 200-day moving average was broken with real authority — and the associate net volume was enormous at something north of 273,000 contracts.

Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart from Brad — and it should come as no surprise that the only volume that mattered occurred during the New York trading session.  The big volume spikes were associated with the tiny price melt-up just before the London close, which is 9:00 a.m. MDT on this chart.  It didn’t drop off to what I would consider background level until 2 p.m. Denver time…4 p.m. in New York.

The vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. Denver time, midnight in New York — and noon China Standard Time [CST] the following day in Shanghai—and don’t forget to add two hours for EDT.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature is a must.

The silver price action in Far East and London trading was about the same as gold’s — as it was for the price rally that began just before 1 p.m. BST in London.  After the price capping event at the London close, the silver price continued to rally quietly right into the 5 p.m. close, but wasn’t allowed to close on its absolute high tick…but close enough for me.

The low and high ticks were reported by the CME Group as $17.91 and $18.345 in the May contract.

Silver finished the Tuesday session at $18.325 spot, up 39.5 cents on the day — and back above its 200-day moving average once again.  Not surprisingly, net volume was pretty chunky at the 61,500 contract mark.  Roll-over/switch volume out of May was pretty decent as well.

Here’s the 5-minute silver tick chart from Brad, for which I thank him.  It looks almost identical to the 5-minute tick chart for gold, except that volume was back to mostly background levels by 12:30 p.m. Denver time on the chart below.

The vertical gray line is 10:00 p.m. Denver time, midnight in New York — and noon China Standard Time [CST] the following day in Shanghai—and don’t forget to add two hours for EDT.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature is a must as well.

The platinum price was up 5 dollars or so by shortly before 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning — and then chopped more or less sideways until a few minutes before 9 a.m. in New York.  Then it too blasted higher…complete with the same run-up in price just minutes before the London/Zurich close.  And it too traded quietly higher for the rest of the day.  In most respects, the platinum charts, looks like the silver chart.  Platinum closed on Tuesday in New York at $968 spot, up an even 30 dollars on the day.

The price pattern in palladium was mostly similar to platinum, except for the fact that after its 1 p.m. EST price spike high tick, it traded sideways for the rest of the Tuesday session.  Palladium was closed at $804 spot, up 16 bucks from Monday.

The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 101.01 — and then chopped very quietly sideways until around 8:15 a.m. BST in London on their Tuesday morning.  It began to head lower from there — and really fell off a cliff between 10 and 11 a.m. in New York.  The low tick at 10:58 a.m. EDT was recorded as 100.58.  I would suspect that it was the usual ‘gentle hands’ that appeared a few minutes before the London/Zurich close to stop the fall.  The index then rallied into the COMEX close before selling off a bit.  It traded flat from 2:30 p.m. onwards.  The dollar index finished the day at 100.70 — down 31 basis points from its Monday close.

It should be very obvious that there wasn’t much correlation between what the dollar index was doing and the price action in the precious metals, as the rallies in them didn’t start until almost five hours after the dollar index began to head south.

Here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart — and it closed right at its 50-day moving average.  I would be careful as to how much you read into that event, as ‘da boyz’ can paint whatever chart pattern they want — and in any market they care to stick their noses into.

The gold stocks gapped up a percent and change when trading began in New York at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning.  Their respective highs came at 11:30 a.m. — and they wandered around in a fairly tight range after that, closing just off their highs.  The HUI finished the day up 2.93 percent.

It was virtually the same chart pattern for the silver equities, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 3.42 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

I was somewhat surprised by the fact that the precious metal equities didn’t rally more into the close, as both gold and silver continued to power higher in the after-hours market.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that only 2 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here, but it’s not worth the trip.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in April rose by 173 contracts, leaving 1,922 still around, minus the 2 contracts mentioned just above.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 13 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 173+13=186 gold contracts were added to the April delivery month.  Silver o.i. in April declined by 96 contracts, leaving 65 still around.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 103 silver contracts were posted for delivery today, so that means that 103-96=7 more silver contracts were added to the April delivery month.

A verrryyy slooowwww delivery month in gold is getting even slower — and for the fifth day in a row there were more silver contracts added to the April delivery month.  So far this month there have been only 623 gold contracts issued and stopped, but in silver that number is 744 contracts.

There was a fairly healthy deposit in GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant added 133,263 troy ounces.  But the big surprise was in SLV, as the entire 11,130,753 troy ounce withdrawal reported on Monday, was reversed on Tuesday.

I can’t image it being an accounting error, but I doubt there will be any explanation forthcoming, regardless.

The folks over at the Internet site updated their data for both SLV and GLD as of the close of trading on Friday, March 21 — and this is what they had to report.  The short position in SLV rose a tiny amount…from 12,360,600 shares/troy ounces…up to 12,469,700 troy ounces, which is an increase of less than 1 percent.  The short position in GLD declined by just about the same small amount…from 855,770 troy ounces, down to 835,370 troy ounces, a drop of 2.4 percent.  Nothing much to see here, folks…please move along.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 50,000 silver eagles.

There was very little activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday.  There was 771.600 troy ounces/24 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] transferred from Brink’s, Inc. to Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc…plus 1,286.000 troy ounces/40 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] shipped out of Scotiabank.  I shan’t bother linking this amount.

It was another huge day for silver movement, as 2,405,038 troy ounces were received — and 878,791 troy ounces were shipped out the door for parts unknown.  The big ‘in’ movement was the two containers…1,213,297 troy ounces…received over at JP Morgan.  A container each went into Brink’s, Inc. and CNT as well.  In the ‘out’ category, there was 826,652 troy ounces shipped out of CNT, plus 52,138 troy ounces out of Brink’s, Inc.   And to top things off, there was a 516,170 troy ounces transfer from Eligible to Registered at CNT.  A link to all of that action is here.

It was fairly busy over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday.  They only received 238 of them, but shipped out a healthy 5,289.  All of the activity was at Brink’s, Inc. — and a link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

I have a very respectable number of stories for you again today — and I hope you can find the time to spend on those that interest you the most.


I’m Sorry, We’ll Fix This“: United CEO Issues Apology to Passenger and Everyone Else

Hopefully putting an end to the media circus that has gripped America’s attention over the past 24 hours, the CEO of United Continental, Oscar Munoz, has finally apologized for the airline’s handling of a Chinese-American passenger who was forcibly dragged out of a flight in Chicago, an incident which caused media outrage and cost the airline over a billion dollars in market cap as traders dumped its shares on fears of a Chinese backlash.

As a reminder, earlier this morning, in a letter to employees, Munoz said he was “upset to see and hear about what happened,” but defended his staff’s actions because the passenger had been “disruptive and belligerent.”

It took just a few hours of persistent selling of United stock to change his mind.

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right,” Munoz said, promising a review or airline’s policies on crew movement, volunteer incentives, oversold flights and interactions with law enforcement, to be concluded by the end of April.  “It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again,” Munoz said.

For many Americans (and Chinese), however, it may be too little too late.

I was horrified by this story.  You just have to know when corporations get overloaded with A-Type/sociopathic personalities, sooner or later it’s going to come back to bite them in the a$$.  This passenger just as easily could have been you, dear reader.  Why should any passenger have to pay the price for an airline’s mistake, just so they can squeeze every dollar out of every flight.  This Zero Hedge article appeared on their Internet site at 5:03 p.m. EDT on Tuesday — and another link to it is here.

Dr. Dave Janda interviews your humble scribe

Dave and I had a rather animated chat that lasted for about twenty-five minutes on Sunday afternoon.

It took place on all-talk radio WAAM-1600 out of Ann Arbor, Michigan — and I hope you feel that it’s worth your time.

Is Trump Enlisting in the War Party? — Patrick Buchanan

By firing off five dozen Tomahawk missiles at a military airfield, our “America First” president may have plunged us into another Middle East war that his countrymen do not want to fight.

Thus far Bashar Assad seems unintimidated. Brushing off the strikes, he has defiantly gone back to bombing the rebels from the same Shayrat air base that the U.S. missiles hit.

Trump “will not stop here,” warned U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday. “If he needs to do more, he will.”

If Trump fails to back up Haley’s threat, the hawks now cheering him on will begin deriding him as “Donald Obama.”

But if he throbs to the war drums of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and orders Syria’s air force destroyed, we could be at war not only with ISIS and al-Qaida, but with Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

A Syrian war would consume Trump’s presidency.

This commentary by Patrick was posted on his website at 9:46 p.m. EDT on Monday evening — and it comes courtesy of Roy Stephens.  Another link to it is here.

The Only Solution to Britain’s Housing Crisis May Be a Crash

The solution to the U.K.’s housing woes may not be pretty.

Staggeringly high prices, which are preventing many Britons from buying a home, may only be corrected by a market crash, according to economists from the University of Reading. While many say boosting the supply of property for sale would help with affordability, the academics say the effect would be very limited, because the amount of building needed just isn’t feasible.

Permanent increases in construction would be required that have never been achieved in history,” Geoffrey Meen, Alexander Mihailov and Yehui Wang said in a research paper to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference this week.

According to their model, “price-to-income ratios are likely to stabilize even without major increases in supply, although adjustment could take the form of an undesirable market collapse.”

Average home values are about 7.6 times annual earnings, up from a ratio of 3.6 times 20 years ago, according to data from the statistics office. Over that period, house prices have more than tripled, far outpacing growth in incomes.

This solution will inevitably apply to Toronto at some point as well.  This Bloomberg article showed up on their Internet site at 5:01 p.m. on Monday afternoon Denver time — and I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for bringing it to our attention.  Another link to it is here.

Boris Johnson fails to secure backing of the G7 nations for swift sanctions against Russia and Syria

Boris Johnson has failed to secure the backing of the G7 nations for swift sanctions against Russia and Syria, leaving the U.S./U.K. plan to pressurise Vladimir Putin in tatters.

Germany and Italy vetoed the idea of targeting Russian and Syrian military leaders until an investigation has been carried out into who was to blame for last week’s nerve gas attack in Idlib province.

The Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Mr Putin “must not be pushed into a corner”, suggesting Italy may not support extra sanctions even if an investigation proves Assad was to blame.

On Monday night President Donald Trump and Theresa May said that there was “a window of opportunity” to persuade Russia that “its allegiance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest”, but it now seems that window is rapidly closing because of Germany and Italy’s lack of support.

The E.U. high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, is also understood to have been cool on the idea of sanctions.

It means Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State, will fly to Moscow tonight with a hugely weakened hand.

This news story put in an appearance on the Internet site at 12:25 p.m. BST on their Tuesday afternoon, which was 7:25 a.m. in Washington — EDT plus 5 hours.  It’s another offering from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him — and another link to it is here.  There was another article on this subject posted on the Internet site late on Tuesday afternoon in London.  This one, courtesy of Patrik Ekdahl, is headlined “Syria war: G7 fails to agree sanctions on Russia after ‘chemical attack

U.K. Ambassador blasts BBC, “expect ISIS to stage more chemical weapons attacks” thanks to Trump

Former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford went on the BBC to explain why the chemical attack in the ISIS-Al Qaeda controlled town of Khan Sheikhoun was not committed by the Assad government.  Ford was the UK ambassador to Damascus from 2003-2006, so he actually has experience dealing with Assad and knowledge of Syria.

When the BBC host claimed that Assad is responsible for the chemical attack in Syria, saying, “That’s a statement of fact, right?

Ford countered with logic. Something western mainstream media has conveniently left out of the conversation as they ramp up for war. Peter Ford replied…

It’s a myth. It’s a statement of non-fact.

What’s needed is an investigation, because there are two possibilities for what happened. One is the American version, that Assad dropped chemical weapons on this locality. The other version is that an ordinary bomb was dropped and it hit a munitions dump where jihadis were storing chemical weapons. We don’t know which of these two possibilities is the correct one.”

This news story, complete with the embedded 4:32 minute BBC video interview, was posted on Internet site very early on Tuesday morning EDT — and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

French Sovereign Risk Soars to 5-Year Highs as Election Looms

With the rise of communist candidate Melenchon throwing the French election results into disarray for the status quo supporters, it appears traders are rushing headlong for the safety of core-core Europe and rapidly exiting anything to do with France.

As reported in our overnight wrap, the recent surge in far-left candidate Melenchon has changed the French presidential election calculus materially in recent days, sending the spread between French and German 10Y blowing out again, helped by yesterday’s Goldman downgrade of French OATs.

Looking elsewhere on the curve, as the Trump election hit, France and Germany were equal in terms of 2Y bond yields; since then, the risk premium for owning French bonds over German has exploded to over 55bps – the highest since May 2012.

This is practically the highest level of differentiation between the core European nations’ bond markets since the very peak of the European crisis.

It’s not just France however, as 1-month, 25 delta EUR/USD risk reversals hit levels not seen since the depths of the Eurozone crisis, suggesting the market views Le Pen’s odds of winning as far higher than the daily polls would suggest.

This brief story was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 8:21 a.m. EDT yesterday morning — and I thank Richard Saler for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

Three ways Vladimir Putin has embarrassed Donald Trump, after the dust settled on the U.S. attack on Syria

Trump was outplayed on the international stage.

After all the dust settled on Trump’s rah rah ‘America hits Assad and Putin’ missile attack hoopla, the new U.S. commander and chief today got a very rude awakening in diplomacy, that has not only made him look like a complete fool, but also a total geo-political amateur.

The optics are simple. European leaders have doubts in the U.S. story that it was Assad who committed the chemical attack. They are hedging their bets because they know, deep down inside, that the entire thing smells of false flag trickery.

Putin used the press and media to his advantage (against Trump’s war drums and the Deep State’s push for more false flag conflicts), by announcing at a press conference that Russian ‘intel shows more attacks planned in Syria to blame Assad.’

Putin showed that two can play the information warfare game. With one well timed announcement, Russia thwarted more ISIS/White Helmets false flags attacks, which would have surely served the purpose to push for a full US invasion into Syria.

The liberal left warmongers and neocons will need to think up an entirely new script to drive Assad’s out of power. For now John McCain, CNN, and their Saudi rulers will have to continue to rely on their ISIS jihadist proxy army, to fight Assad without American air cover and ground troops.

This very interesting and right-on-the-money commentary appeared on Internet site late Tuesday morning EDT — and it’s another contribution from Roy Stephens — and another link to it is here.

Professor Stephen Cohen: The last voice of reason in a world gone mad? — The Saker

Professor Stephen Cohen is, in my opinion, the best Russia specialist in the USA.  He is also a wise, decent, honest and courageous man.  A friend send me this video of him this morning (he begins at 1:38) and I can only agree with him.  We are, once again, looking at the very real possibility, or even probability, of a hot war between Russia and the USA.  As I write these words I ask myself whether I am exaggerating or not, and I come to the extremely depressing conclusion that no, I am not.

Things are really that bad.

Professor Cohen seems to have some hopes left for today’s  Tillerson visit to Moscow.  I sure hope that he is right.  The future of mankind might depend on the outcome of this visit and, alas, I have to say that I am not hopeful at all.  My best hope is that somebody in the Kremlin can convince Tillerson that Russia will fight.  That is all I personally can hope for even though I realize that even if Lavrov and/or Putin convince Tillerson, Tillerson might not be able to convince the crazies in DC.  God help us all!

This 8:11 minute CNN video clip was embedded in a commentary that was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday sometime — and I thank Larry Galearis for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

Here’s why Russia doesn’t want to fight the United States in Syria

Russia’s historical suffering through bloody wars has made the Russian state and Russia people averse to further conflict.

Conservative estimates for Soviet deaths in the Great Patriotic War/Second World War are just over 26 million. Other scholars take the aggregate total of deaths including those who died from starvation and disease at around 40 million.

Between 1941 and 1945, more Russian mothers had to bury their sons than any other group of mothers in the world and that’s just the mothers who themselves didn’t die during the war.

Every Russian person alive today either knows or is related to someone who fought in the Great Patriotic War. It is why on the 9th of May, every year, everyone from Vladimir Putin to ordinary people march in The Immortal Regiment to honour their loved who were veterans of that war whether they died in battle or after.

With this in mind, is it any wonder that Russians do not share the same zeal for war as those who have numerically and dare I say emotionally, not experienced the hell of war as sharply and as painfully?

This very worthwhile news story showed up on Internet site on Monday sometime — and it’s the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens — and I thank him on your behalf.  Another link to this article is here.

A multi-level analysis of the U.S. cruise missile attack on Syria and its consequences — The Saker

The latest U.S. cruise missile attack on the Syrian airbase is an extremely important event in so many ways that it is important to examine it in some detail.  I will try to do this today with the hope to be able to shed some light on a rather bizarre attack which will nevertheless have profound consequences.  But first, let’s begin by looking at what actually happened.

The pretext:

I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that Assad or anybody else in the Syrian government really ordered a chemical weapons attack on anybody.  To believe that it would require you to find the following sequence logical: first, Assad pretty much wins the war against Daesh which is in full retreat.  Then, the US declares that overthrowing Assad is not a priority anymore (up to here this is all factual and true).  Then, Assad decides to use weapons he does not have.  He decides to bomb a location with no military value, but with lots of kids and cameras.  Then, when the Russians demand a full investigation, the Americans strike as fast as they can before this idea gets any support.  And now the Americans are probing a possible Russian role in this so-called attack.  Frankly, if you believe any of that, you should immediately stop reading and go back to watching TV.  For the rest of us, there are three options:

1.  a classical U.S.-executed false flag
2.  a Syrian strike on a location which happened to be storing some kind of gas, possibly chlorine, but most definitely not sarin.  This option requires you to believe in coincidences.  I don’t.  Unless,
3.  the U.S. fed bad intelligence to the Syrians and got them to bomb a location where the U.S. knew that toxic gas was stored.

This very, very long commentary by The Saker put in an appearance on his website yesterday sometime — and it has already had 42,000+ reads so far.  I’ve skimmed large parts of it — and it’s a must read if you’re a serious student of the New Great Game.  I thank “Wojtek from Warsaw” for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours.  Another link to it is here.

China Car Sales Growth Slumps in March as Tax Incentives Removed

As U.S. auto OEM’s deal with ‘plateau-ing‘ sales domestically, it appears increasingly likely that they’re also about to suffer the consequences of some volume pull forward in China that artificially boosted 2016 sales.

As The Wall Street Journal points out this morning, Chinese auto sales growth has slowed materially so far in 2017, with passenger car sales up just 0.59{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in March versus 15{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} growth in 2016, after auto ‘purchase taxes’ were raised to 7.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} from 5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} last year.  The tax cut was implemented in 2016 to boost slowing car sales and it seems to have worked ‘beautifully.’ The tax is expected to return to it’s normal level of 10{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} at the end of 2017…unless more stimulus is deemed necessary in the interim, of course.

Car sales in China rose at their fastest pace in three years in 2016 but are expected to cool considerably this year, as a weaker sales-tax incentive puts pressure on demand. Buyers of cars with engines up to 1.6 liters last year paid a 5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} purchase tax. This year, buyers of such cars will pay a 7.5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} rate.

    In January, the car manufacturers’ group predicted a considerably slower 5{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} rise in China’s car sales this year compared with 15{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in 2016. A rush by consumers to benefit from a lower purchase tax drove record-setting monthly sales figures last year but cut into future purchases, dealers and analysts say.  Ford Motor Co. has said it expects sales growth in China to slow as the market matures.

Sales of vehicles, excluding those typically used for commercial purposes, grew 1.7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} to 2.1 million units in March from a year earlier, the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Tuesday.

    This marked a slowdown from the 6.3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} growth in the first two months of the year. By comparison, sales grew nearly 10{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in March 2016 from the previous year.

Meanwhile, sinking sales have pushed Chinese auto inventories to multi-year highs.

This 2-chart Zero Hedge article put in an appearance on their website at 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for finding it for us.  Another link to it is here.

Toshiba files unaudited results and says future is in doubt

Toshiba has filed its delayed financial results, warning that the company’s survival is at risk.

There are material events and conditions that raise substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the company said in a statement.

The electronics-to-construction giant reported a loss of 532bn yen (£3.8bn; $4.8bn) for April to December.

However, the results have not been approved by the firm’s auditors.

These latest financial results have already been delayed twice and raise the possibility that Toshiba could be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

This company is basically admitting that’s it’s ‘done like dinner’ — and it will be interesting to see if the Japanese government allows them to fail…or not.  This very important news story was posted on the Internet site yesterday sometime — and my thanks go out to Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for his final offering of the day as well.  Another link to it is here.

Man Discovers $2.4 Million in Gold in Ex-Army Tank

A tank collector in the United Kingdom was in for a surprise when he and his mechanic opened one of his tank’s diesel fuel tanks. Inside were gold bars totaling approximately $2.4 million dollars.

The tank came into possession of Nick Mead, a tank collector and owner of Tanks Alot, a company that offers tanks and other armored vehicles for driving classes, private events, and television and film appearances. Mead found the tank, an ex-Iraqi Army Type 69, on sale on eBay and traded it for an Abbot self-propelled howitzer and a British Army truck.

Mead and his mechanic, Todd Chamberlain, were filming the opening of the fuel tank because they had already found machine gun ammunition in the armored vehicle and wanted video proof in case more ammunition was found. They pulled out five gold bars weighing about twelve pounds worth an estimated $2.4 million. The gold was handed over to authorities, and Mead has placed a receipt for the bars of bullion in a safe deposit box.

The Type 69 was a Chinese copy of the Soviet T-55 medium tank and sold in large numbers to the Iraqi Army during the 1980s. The Type 69 was armed with a 100-millimeter main gun and a 12.7-millimeter machine gun. The design, first introduced in 1949, is thoroughly obsolete but still serves in Third World armies around the world.

The gold is thought to be Kuwaiti in origin—Iraqi forces engaged in wide-scale looting of the country after the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Six months after the end of the war, Iraqi authorities returned 3,216 gold bars under UN supervision.

This interesting gold-related news story showed up in my in-box just after I’d posted today’s column on the website — and didn’t make the e-mail version.  It was posted on the Internet site on Monday — and I thank Ellen Hoyt for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.


Today’s photos are of a merlin, formerly known a pigeon hawk.  It’s a the smallest member of the falcon family in North America — and they are everywhere.  I heard one on Monday, as we’ve had a pair nesting around here for the last decade, so they’re back to raise another brood again this year — and terrorize the other small birds in the neighbourhood in the process.  I picked the first photo to give you some sort of scale, as they aren’t a big bird — and the dragonfly provides that.  Click to enlarge.


To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.  If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so.  If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.  The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.” — Timothy Snyder, History Professor, Yale

I must admit that the rallies in all four precious metal that greeted me when I switched my computer on yesterday morning, came as a bit of a surprise — and the fact that they were allowed to continue even after the COMEX close was a surprise as well.

They had very little to do with what was going on with the dollar index, as it began to head south shortly after the London open — and the rallies didn’t get started until 1 pm. BST, which was twenty minutes before trading began on the COMEX.

And as I pointed out at the top of the column, both gold and silver broke above, and closed above, their respective 200-day moving averages as well.  Volume was very heavy in both precious metals, so it was obvious that these rallies did not go unopposed.  And as Ted mentioned on the phone yesterday, there was…without doubt…a huge increase in the commercial net short position in gold, but the jury is still out on silver, because of the price action on both Friday of last week — and Monday of this week.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals — and because most their respective high ticks and closes didn’t come until after the COMEX closed at 1:30 p.m. EDT, they won’t show up until today’s dojis are posted.  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 didn’t do much in the early going in Far East trading on their Wednesday.  But it jumped up a bit at 9 a.m. CST — and that was dealt with quickly — and was back to unchanged by shortly after 11:30 a.m. over there.  At the moment, the gold price is up 30 cents an ounce.  It was the same price ‘action’ in silver — and it’s currently down 2 cents.  Platinum had the same tiny rally at 9 a.m. CST, but the price was sold down after that — and is lower by 3 bucks as the Zurich open approaches.  Palladium traded flat until shortly before 11 a.m. China Standard Time — and then suffered the same fate as platinum — and is down 4 dollars — and back to $800 spot.

Net HFT gold volume is sitting right at 49,000 contracts, which is pretty high — and that number in silver is a hair under 10,000 contracts, with very little roll-over/switch volume out of May.

The dollar index rallied up to the 100.76 mark by around 11:20 a.m. China Standard Time, but has rolled over since — and is down 8 basis points as London opens.

Yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report — and the only unknown is just how much of yesterday’s price/volume activity will actually make it into this report, as there’s always a bit of a lag.

It’s a safe bet that the commercial net short position in gold will be materially higher, but as for silver, who knows.  Ted posts his mid-week column for his paying subscribers on his website this afternoon — and if he has something to say, I’ll ‘borrow’ what I can for Friday’s column.

And as I post today’s effort on the website at 2:02 a.m. EDT, I note that nothing much is happening.  The gold price has edged a bit lower during the first hour of London trading — and is back to unchanged.  Silver is still down 2 cent the ounce.  Platinum and palladium are lower by 2 dollars and 4 dollars respectively.

Net HFT gold volume is pretty heavy at something over 58,000 contracts — and that number in silver is approaching 13,500 contracts, which is pretty decent as well.

The dollar index is down 9 basis points.

There has been absolutely no price follow-through in any of the precious metals during Far East and early London trading, so yesterday’s price action was obviously strictly a New York/COMEX affair.  And it’s a dead certainty that the Managed Money traders were the ones piling in on the long side — and ‘da boyz’ were there as short buyers and long sellers of last resort…like they always are.

After yesterday’s surprising price action, all bets are off as to what will happen once the COMEX opens later this morning.

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


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