JP Morgan Takes Delivery of More Silver

25 April 2017 — Tuesday


With Le Pen coming in second in the French elections on Sunday, the markets rejoiced — and ‘da boyz’ did the dirty in gold and silver right at the start of trading at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening.  Gold was smashed for about twenty bucks right out of the chute, but recovered over half of that amount by shortly after 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Monday morning.  It ran into more selling pressure about an hour before the London open — and then again shortly after the noon silver fix, with the New York low coming right at the COMEX open.  It chopped higher from there until 11:20 a.m. EST — and crept higher in fits and starts for the rest of the Monday trading session.

The low and high tick were reported by the CME Group as $1,266.00 and $1,280.00 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Monday session at $1,276.00 spot, down $7.90 on the day.  Net volume was sky high at just under 272,000 contracts.  But no moving averages were broken yesterday.

Here’s the 5-minute tick chart for gold — and the blast to the downside at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening just made it into this chart that Brad Robertson sent our way yesterday afternoon.  The volume on that spike was a bit over 12,000 contracts — and just eye-balling the volume bars, they don’t seem to come close to even the net volume that was traded yesterday.  I’m not sure what to make of that.

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.

Of course it was silver that JPMorgan et al were really after — and they hammered it down 30 cents or so.  It came roaring back from there — and excuse me for thinking this, but it wouldn’t have surprised me in the slightest if it had rallied to up on the day during morning trading in the Far East if had been allowed to trade freely.  It was obvious that someone was “buying the dip”.  Anyway, from its 8:30 a.m. CST high in Shanghai, the price was quietly sold lower until the London p.m. gold fix.  It rallied back to virtually unchanged by 11:20 a.m. EST, which was the same time that gold’s rally in New York was halted as well.  From that point the price chopped sideways until about 3:20 p.m. in the thinly-traded after-hours market.  At that juncture, it popped up another nickel into the close — and back into positive territory.

The low and high tick were reported as $17.55 and $17.91 in the May contract.

Silver closed in New York yesterday at $17.93 spot, up 3.5 cents, which I consider to be hugely positive for the price going forward.  Gross volume was monstrous — and roll-over/switch volume out of May was as well, but net volume was only about 42,500 contracts.  Higher than ‘normal’…yes, but not anywhere near as high as I was expecting.  I’ll have more about this in ‘The Wrap‘.

Here’s the 5-minute silver tick chart courtesy of Brad as well — and the left-hand side of the chart just barely shows all of the engineered price decline at the 6:00 p.m. EDT open in New York on Sunday evening, as well.  Also like gold, the volume chart doesn’t appear to show all the volume…net or gross…that was traded yesterday — and because of that, I’m posting this chart for interest’s sake, although my eyes may be deceiving me.

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.

Platinum was hit for all of 5 bucks once trading began at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening.  It was back to unchanged within an hour or so, but was down 4 dollars by around 1:30 p.m. Zurich time on their Monday afternoon.  It was sold off pretty hard from there, with the $952 spot low tick coming shortly after 9:30 a.m. in New York.  Then, like silver and gold, it was allowed to rally until around 11:40 a.m. EDT — and the price didn’t do a lot after that.  Platinum finished the Monday session in New York at $959 spot, down 11 dollars…but was down 18 at its low.

Palladium was down a dollar as soon as trading began in New York on Sunday evening, but by shortly before 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Monday, it was back up at the $800 spot mark.  Like silver and gold at that juncture, the price was sold lower for a bit, but was back at $801 spot shortly before 11 a.m. in Zurich.  Then an hour later, the plug got pulled on that as well — and the $791 low tick was printed just minutes before the Zurich close.  It rallied from there until noon in New York — and then didn’t do much after that.  Palladium was closed at $795 spot, up a dollar from Friday’s close.  But, like the other three precious metals, would have obviously closed higher, if allowed.

The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 99.74 — and within a minute of the New York open at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, was down around the 98.80 mark, before the usual ‘gentle hands’ showed up.  By around 9:30 a.m. China Standard time four hour and a half hours later, it had rallied back to just over the 99.30 mark, but rolled over from there.  The 98.90 London low was printed at 11:30 a.m. BST — and it chopped unevenly higher from there until a minute or so before 1 p.m. in New York.  At that point it printed 99.22 — and then sold off a bit until 4 p.m. EDT — and didn’t do much after that.  The dollar index finished the Monday session at 99.04 — down 70 basis points from its Friday close — and around 24 basis points off its low tick on Sunday night.

You’ll carefully note that despite the fact that the dollar index was down big, the powers-that-be were there to make sure that the precious metals did not benefit from that fact.

Here’s the 3-day U.S. dollar index chart so you can see the entire activity on Friday, Sunday and Monday — and there was quite a bit going on.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index, so you can put Sunday/Monday’s move in some perspective.  Heaven only knows how far it would have fallen on Sunday evening if the currencies had been allowed to trade freely.  And as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, the crash in the dollar index wasn’t allowed to show up in precious metal prices.

The gold stocks gapped down about 2.5 percent at the open, but by about 11:15 a.m. EDT had recovered over half of their loses.  They began to slide a bit from there — and combined with a slight downdraft in the last fifteen minutes of trading, the HUI closed lower by 2.28 percent.  It could have been far worse.

The silver equities followed virtually the same price path as their golden brethren — and even made it back to unchanged by 11:25 a.m. in New York trading.  But despite the fact that the silver price continued to inch higher for the remainder of the day, the equities couldn’t hold onto their gains — and combined with the same mini sell-off minutes before the close, finished down on the day as well.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed lower by 1.08 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 38 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  The largest short/issuer was Morgan Stanley out of its client account with 28 contracts — the two largest stoppers were JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs with 21 and 15 contracts for their respective client accounts.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that gold open interest in April fell by only 1 contract, leaving 553 still around, minus the 38 contracts mention in the previous paragraph.  Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 10 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 10-1=9 more gold contracts just got added to the April delivery month.  That’s pretty late in the month to be adding contracts for April delivery.  Silver o.i. in April declined by 14 contracts, leaving 11 still open.  Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 14 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so the numbers work out exactly for a change.

There was a deposit in GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant added 47,587 troy ounces.  And as of 8:13 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

There was a small sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 235,000 silver eagles.

It was all zeros in gold over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories on the U.S. east coast on Friday…as nothing was reported received, or shipped out.

But in silver, the manic in/out activity just never stops.  There was 2,122,791 troy ounces received — and 1,191,732 troy ounces shipped out.  There was 895,536 troy ounces received at Brink’s, Inc. — and one container load…629,639 troy ounces…received at Canada’s Scotiabank.  Not to be left out, JP Morgan got a container full as well…597,615 troy ounces…with that amount coming courtesy of Scotiabank.  There was a container full…594,117 troy ounces…shipped out of Delaware as well.  The link to all that action is here.

JP Morgan’s COMEX silver stash is now sitting at 103.8 million troy ounces.

It was fairly quiet over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Friday.  They only received 451 kilobars — and shipped out 334 of them.  All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

I have a few more stories than average today, including a couple of audio/video clips of some length as well, so I hope you can make the time for the ones that interest you.


The Streak is Over: Caterpillar Posts First Positive Retail Sales After 51 Months of Declines

On Monday, traditionally just ahead of earnings, Caterpillar reported that in March its world retail sales rose 1{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} Y/Y, the first increase since November 2012. The reason: Asia/Pacific, also known as China, which saw a 46{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} surge in total machine sales, up from 39{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} last month, and the best Asian performance going all the way back to April 2011. Aside from China, however, the drought remained as every other region posted a decline in annual sales, led by Latin America (down 25{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}), North America (down 13{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}) and EA/ME [East Asia/Middle East] (down 3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}).

Looking at a breakdown of what kinds of machines drove the global rebound, it was all construction related machinery, which rose 7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, once again entirely due to China, where sales soared by 56{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} as all other geographic regions posted negative sales. Elsewhere, the contraction among resource industries continued, with world sales down 19{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, and even China declining by 1{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}. The only region higher, perhaps predictably, was EA/ME where sales of resource machines rose 23{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in March.

Finally, looking at the type of Energy and Transportation machines sold, Power Gen, Industrial and Transportation all declined( -7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, -6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} and -3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}, respectively), while Oil and Gas rose by 15{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in March.

As a reminder, the last cycle peaked in early 2011, just as the latest Chinese credit impulse peaked and rolled over, something it has also done in recent weeks. As such, CAT retail sales may be the best concurrent, or slightly lagging, indicator of the Chinese reflation trade, which as UBS explained recently is the fundamental driver behind the global reflation impulse.

The headline deceives — and the bad news is in the story.  This article was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 10:11 a.m. EDT yesterday morning — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Where There’s Smoke…there’s central bank manipulation — Chris Martenson

Central banks around the world have colluded, if not conspired, to elevate and prop up financial asset prices.  Here we’ll present the data and evidence that they’ve not only done so, but gone too far.

When we discuss elevated financial asset prices we really are talking about everything.

We’re talking not just about the sky-high prices of stocks and bonds, but also of the trillions of dollars’ worth of derivatives that are linked to them, as well as real estate in dozens of countries and locations.  All are intricately linked together. For instance, stocks are elevated, in part, because bond yields are so low.  Same for real estate.

These are important questions to consider because if central banks have been too involved and gotten themselves mixed up in trying to ‘wag the dog’ by using elevated financial asset prices as a means to drive economic expansion — then the risk is a big implosion in financial asset prices if their efforts fail.

The difficulty, as always, is that you can’t print your way to prosperity.  It’s never worked in history and it won’t work this time either.  You can, however, print (or borrow) to delay a correction, after which a boost in real economic growth (or additional income) had better materialize to save your bacon.   But if enough growth does not emerge to both pay back all the old outstanding loans plus all the newly created debt and currency, then you’re going to experience a worse correction than if you had not tried to print/borrow your way to prosperity.

As I’ve outlined before, that economic boom the central banks have been staking everything on been MIA the entire time during the “recovery” following the Great Recession.  And there’s no sign of it showing up any time soon.

This is Part I of a 2-part essay by Chris that appeared on his Internet site on Saturday — and you have to “enroll” to read Part II.  If what he’s talking about sounds familiar, it’s because it reads like a list of the news items that have been in GATA dispatches over the last number of years.  But it’s worth reading nonetheless — and another link to it is here.  I thank Richard Saler for pointing it out.

Paul Craig Roberts on President Trump’s ‘Disappearance’

In my long experience in Washington, vice presidents did not make major foreign policy announcements or threaten other countries with war. Not even Dick Cheney stole this role from the weak president George W. Bush.

But yesterday the world witnessed V.P. Pence threaten North Korea with war. “The sword stands ready,” said Pence as if he is the commander in chief.

Perhaps he is.

Where is Trump? As far as I can tell from the numerous emails I receive from him, he is at work marketing his presidency. Once Trump won the election, I began receiving endless offers to purchase Trump baseball caps, T-shirts, cuff-links, coffee mugs, and to donate $3 to be entered into a raffle to win some memorabilia. The latest offer is a chance to win one of “personally signed five incredible photographs of our historic and massive inauguration.

For Trump, the presidency is a fund-raising device. If his VP, National Security Advisor, Secretary of Defense, U.N. Ambassador, CIA Director, whoever, want to start wars wherever, that’s just more memorabilia to raffle off for a $3 donation.

This brief Paul Craig Roberts piece was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 9:10 p.m. EDT on Friday evening — and I thank ‘aurora’ for sharing it with us.  It’s certainly worth your while if you have the interest — and another link to it is here.

Candidate Trump: ‘I Love Wikileaks.’ President Trump: ‘Arrest Assange!

I love Wikileaks,” candidate Donald Trump said on October 10th on the campaign trail. He praised the organization for reporting on the darker side of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was information likely leaked by a whistleblower from within the Clinton campaign to Wikileaks.

Back then he praised Wikileaks for promoting transparency, but candidate Trump looks less like President Trump every day. The candidate praised whistleblowers and Wikileaks often on the campaign trail. In fact, candidate Trump loved Wikileaks so much he mentioned the organization more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign alone! Now, as President, it seems Trump wants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sent to prison.

Last week CNN reported, citing anonymous “intelligence community” sources, that the Trump Administration’s Justice Department was seeking the arrest of Assange and had found a way to charge the Wikileaks founder for publishing classified information without charging other media outlets such as The New York Times and Washington Post for publishing the same information.

It might have been tempting to write off the CNN report as “fake news,” as is much of their reporting, but for the fact President Trump said in an interview on Friday that issuing an arrest warrant for Julian Assange would be, “OK with me.”

This must read offering from Ron Paul was posted on his website on Monday — and it comes to us courtesy of Roy Stephens.  Another link to it is here.

Trade Wars Begin: Trump Announces 20{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} Tariff on Canadian Softwood Lumber Imports

Speaking during a first of its kind meeting dedicated only to members of the U.S. conservative media, including Breitbart News, OANN and Daily Caller, President Trump told reporters to expect a 20{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} tariff on softwood lumber coming into Canada.

We’re going to be putting a 20 per cent tax on softwood lumber coming in — tariff on softwood coming into the United States from Canada,”  tweeted Charlie Spiering of Breitbart Media.

Trey Yingst of OANN tweeted that according to Trump “Canada has treated us very unfairly” and also threatened a tax on Canada’s dairy industry.

According to the WSJ, Wilbur Ross said the tariff will be applied retroactively and imposed on Canadian exports to the U.S. of about $5 billion a year. He said the dispute centers on Canadian provinces that have been allegedly allowing loggers to cut down trees at reduced rates and sell them at low prices. “The determination that Canada improperly subsidizes its exports is preliminary, and the Commerce Department will need to make a final decision. In addition, the U.S. International Trade Commission will need to find that the U.S. industry has suffered injury. But even a preliminary decision has immediate real-world consequences, by discouraging importers from buying lumber from Canada.

This news story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 7:29 p.m. on Monday evening EDT — and another link to it is here.

BHS crash sets trend for a chain of closures on U.K. high streets

The retail sector is still reeling a year after the collapse of the chain, with rising numbers of staff on zero-hours contracts and other big hitters shutting shop as the internet squeezes their share of profits.

When BHS crashed into administration, taking 11,000 jobs along with it a year ago, one employee described the feeling as a “terrible gut-punch”.

A year on, the high street is still reeling from the body blow. More than two-thirds of the retailer’s 164 stores are still lying empty and its pensioners have been left worse off, even after former owner Sir Philip Green agreed to pump up to £363m into supporting the pension scheme.

For many long-serving BHS staff, the chain’s failure marked a turning point in their lives from which they are yet to recover financially. And regardless of the passage of time, the stabbing finger of blame is still being pointed at Green who, despite his role in the unravelling of BHS, has clung on to his knighthood.

I’m annoyed about what happened,” says one former employee, who hasn’t yet found a new job. It should never have come to that. At store level, we were a group of people that worked well together and worked hard.

He adds: “The only reason Green couldn’t turn BHS around was because he never invested in it. We had outdated fixtures and fittings, asbestos and outdated lifts that didn’t work because no money was being spent on them. He starved it.

This news item showed up on Internet site at 4:00 p.m. BST on their Saturday afternoon, which was 11:00 a.m. in New York — EDT plus 5 hours.  I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for sending it our way — and another link to it is here.

Kremlin advisor reveals “cure for U.S. aggression

The only way to stop U.S. aggression is to get rid of dollar addiction, a Kremlin advisor said on Friday.

The more aggressive the Americans are, the sooner they will see the final collapse of the dollar and by getting rid of the dollar this would be the only way for victims of American aggression to stop this onslaught. As soon as we and China dump the dollar, it will be the end of the U.S.’ military might,” Sergey Glazyev said in an interview with TASS.

Commenting on the policy of the new U.S. president, Glazyev noted that Donald Trump is doing what the ruling elite expects him to do.

I had no illusions about him, regarding any change in policy. First, America’s aggression around the world is rooted in its aspiration to preserve U.S. hegemony when they have already yielded economic leadership to China,” he said.

The United States has no tools to make all others use the dollar other than a truncheon. That is why they are indulging in a hybrid war with the entire world to shift their debt burden on to other countries, to confine everyone to the dollar and weaken territories they cannot control.

He would be precisely right about that, dear reader.  This very worthwhile article, filed from Yalta, was posted on the Internet site on Friday sometime — and the first person through the door with it was Ellen Hoyt.  Another link to it is here.

Sergey Lavrov blasts OPCW for failing to conduct investigation in Khan Sheikhun

Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergey Lavrov has criticised the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for refusing to investigate the site of the infamous alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib Governorate, said to have happened on the 4th of April.

The organisation which oversaw the removal of chemical weapons from the possession of the Syrian government in 2013/2014 has drawn its conclusion over the alleged attack in Khan Sheikhun without having visited the region.

It seems unfathomable that any group, in this case the OPCW could pretend to actually care to find out what happened on the 4th of April without first conducting a full investigation on the ground. They instead relied on autopsies of alleged victims conducted far from the site and not even in Syria. In this instance, they were mostly conducted in Turkey.

Sergey Lavrov described the situation in the following way,

This is strange, because the decision did not stipulate anything other than to conduct an independent, impartial, transparent investigation with an expert visit to the site.”

Why should we be surprised, dear reader, as this so-called sarin gas attack was an obvious false-flag through and thorough.  Only the brain-dead Joe six-pack type would believe otherwise.  This story was posted on Internet site on Monday morning EDT — and it’s the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens.  Another link to it is here.

U.S. Sanctions 271 Syrians, Freezes Their U.S. Assets

Two weeks after launching missile strikes on Syria, the U.S. Treasury announced it has sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center in response to the alleged sarin attack conducted by the Assad regime on Kahn Sheikhoun. It’s one of the largest sanction actions in U.S. history.

The action was announced in a statement by the Treasury Department, and Treasury Security Steve Mnuchin simultaneously briefed reporters at the White House.

The action – which takes place in lieu of a probe demanded by Russia and Syria to determine if Assad was indeed responsible for the recent sarin attack – freezes the individuals’ U.S. assets – which we doubt exist – and generally prohibits U.S. persons from dealing with them.

Guilty without proof — and they’re not interested in looking for any.  The Deep State has gone rogue in spades since they turned Trump to the Dark Side of The Force.  This Zero Hedge piece showed up on their Internet site at 1:47 p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Afghanistan reels from Taliban’s deadliest attack on army since 2001

Afghans are still reeling from the Taliban’s deadliest attack on the security forces since 2001, with the country’s leadership accused of fumbling the response to the atrocity.

As many as a dozen militants stormed the largest army base in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 140 soldiers, many of them unarmed.

The president, Ashraf Ghani, called for a national day of mourning and travelled to Mazar-i-Sharif to visit the base, but many among a grieving population called for answers, reassurances – and government heads to roll.

In an apparent attempt to save face, the central administration has continuously downplayed the death toll, which has been confirmed by anonymous officials in many corners of government.

So many people were killed in the attack that the base ran out of coffins and ambulances to transport them.

Well, this story from The Guardian late on Sunday afternoon BST has certainly been edited since it was first posted, because when I first read it, the story indicated that this attack was in retaliation for the dropping of the “mother of all bombs” by the U.S. military earlier in the month.  All references to that have now vanished.  It’s the second contribution of the day from Patrik Ekdahl — and another link to it is here.

Lavrov: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will include 43{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of global population with India and Pakistan

The meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers has come to a close. It was the last stage in the preparations for the next SCO Summit, which will be held in Astana between June 8-9. We have discussed a package of documents that will be offered for approval by our heads of state. These primarily include the decisions on completing the procedure for the full accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It will be an event of historical significance, which will help strengthen the SCO’s prestige and influence on the international stage. Following the addition of India and Pakistan, the SCO will account for 43 per cent of the world’s population and 24 per cent of global GDP.

The next country we will discuss to join is Iran. As many participants at the meeting said today, Iran has settled the problem of the UN Security Council sanctions and hence fully meets the SCO membership criteria. We hope that during their June summit in Astana the heads of our states will be able to discuss the possibility of launching the procedure for admitting Iran into the organisation as a full member.

The other documents we discussed include the draft Convention on Combatting Extremism. It is an extremely important and innovative document, which offers provisions based on internal law for combatting extremist ideology and extremism as a factor that undermines the stability of countries. We hope that this convention will be approved by our heads of state.

Work on the SCO strategy against narcotic drugs has continued for a second year. Today we have agreed to boost the work of the concerned agencies in our countries to complete the programme and the action plan for its implementation in time for the Astana summit.

This news item came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation — and was reposted on the Internet site last Friday.  It’s certainly worth reading if you’re a serious student of the New Great Game.  I thank Larry Galearis for digging it up for us — and another link to it is here.

The county at the centre of a Chinese debt crisis

Aluminium producer in Zouping, Shandong province, borrowed billions as it expanded into property development, power cables, ceramics and even a five-star hotel.

The dusty streets of Shandong’s Zouping county present a picture of a roaring Chinese economy, with yellow-helmeted construction workers moving in groups, tankers with liquefied aluminium shuttling between factory gates and coal trucks forming long queues on roadsides.

Zouping, population 800,000, is one of China’s richest counties. It’s home to the country’s biggest privately-owned aluminium smelter, a big corn oil and steel conglomerate, and hundreds of other industrial enterprises.

But the picture of prosperity is starting to fade at the heart of the polluted county town, the location of the office tower of Qixing Group, whose name literally means Star of Shandong.

The building became the epicentre of a regional debt crisis in recent weeks. The crisis, brought under control after the local authorities stepped in, wiped billions of yuan from the valuations of the nine listed companies based in Zouping and raised fresh doubts about the true dangers of the mountains of debt underpinning China’s economy.

This longish, but very interesting news item put in an appearance on the South China Morning Post back on April 9 — and my thanks go out to Hong Kong subscribers Graham C. — and another link to it is here.

An Interview With Jim Rickards with Keith McCullough as host on Hedgeye TV

This very excellent and must watch 1 hour and 15 minute video interview was conducted on Friday.

It was picked up by the Internet site the same day — and I thank Judy Sturgis for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours.

Sweden’s Gold Reserves: 10,000 gold bars shrouded in Official Secrecy — Ronan Manly

In early February 2017 while preparing for a presentation in Gothenburg about central bank gold, I emailed Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank,  enquiring whether the bank physically audits Sweden’s gold and whether it provide me with a gold bar weight list of Sweden’s gold reserves (gold bar holdings). The Swedish official gold reserves are significant and amount to 125.7 tonnes, making the Swedish nation the world’s 28th largest official gold holder.

Before looking at the questions put to the Riksbank and the Riksbank’s responses, some background information is useful. Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank aka Riksbanken or Riksbank, has the distinction of being the world’s oldest central bank (founded in 1668). The bank is responsible for the administration of Swedish monetary policy and the issuance of the Swedish currency, the Krona.

Since Sweden is a member of the EU, the Riksbank is a member of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), but since Sweden does not use the Euro, the Riksbank is not a central bank member of the European Central Bank (ECB). Therefore the Riksbank has a degree of independence that ECB member central banks lack, but still finds itself under the umbrella of the ESCB. Since it issues its own currency, the Riksbank is responsible for the management of the Swedish Krona exchange rate against other currencies, a task which should be borne in mind while reading the below.

As usual, this commentary from Ronan is short novel in size, so top up your coffee and make a small lunch while you’re at it.  It appeared on the Internet site on Monday — and I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is here.

Dr. Dave Janda interviews First Majestic Silver CEO Keith Neumeyer

This 25-minute audio interview was posted on the Dr. Dave’s website on Sunday evening — and I thank Jim Gullo for sending it along.  I think Keith is using Skype for the interview — and his portion of the audio track is not all that clear.

$1.2 million worth of gold found in vintage war tank

This collector of vintage military antiques found 60 pounds of gold in a tank he recently purchased.

I posted a story about this a week ago, but here’s a video of the discovery as it happened.  It showed up on the Internet site back on April 7 — and I thank Tolling Jennings for pointing it out.  It runs for 8:01 minutes.


Despite our continental climate here in Alberta, we’re still home to venomous snakes — the prairie rattlesnake.  They reside in the semi-arid southeastern portion of our province — and they are quite common [so I’ve been told] if you know where to look.  We had one show up in our school grounds in southern Manitoba when I was a kid.  As you can imagine, it caused quite a stir.  Click to enlarge.


As an aside, the JP Morgan COMEX silver warehouse started with zero oz six years ago, when total COMEX silver inventories were around 100 million oz. So one could say that over the past six years JP Morgan, alone, has accounted for the doubling of total COMEX silver warehouse holdings. Today, the amount held in the JPM warehouse is more than four times the amount of silver in the next largest COMEX warehouse. To my knowledge, never in the history of the COMEX, has any one warehouse held such a large percentage of total exchange holdings, as JP Morgan holds today.

From just these few facts, would it not be reasonable to conclude that JP Morgan has been amassing epic quantities of physical silver over the past six years? The 103 million oz in the JPM COMEX warehouse, alone, is as much metal as the Hunt Bros. bought into 1980 and Warren Buffett bought in 1997, yet (away from these pages) you will read not much about it. That’s remarkable, particularly considering that JPMorgan has been the largest silver short seller on the COMEX while acquiring, mostly through futures deliveries, the actual metal. The data in CFTC reports and in exchange statistics are the most transparent of all, providing  the hard evidence that JPMorgan’s COMEX silver holdings, alone, are on a par with the Hunts and Buffett, yet it is a secret just being discovered.

As you know, I believe that the COMEX warehouse data I just reviewed are only the tip of the iceberg and that JPMorgan holds an additional 500 million oz away from the COMEX. I began talking about JP Morgan’s silver accumulation years ago, through the purchase of Silver Eagles and Maple Leafs, skimming off from the frantic physical turnover in the COMEX silver warehouses and by share to metal conversions in the big silver ETF, SLV.  This was before it became obvious that JP Morgan was cornering COMEX silver.Silver analyst Ted Butler: 22 April 2017

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that ‘da boyz’ were just waiting for the New York open on Sunday evening to do the dirty in both gold and silver…silver especially.  They succeeded in closing it below its 50-day moving average for the second day in a row, plus set a huge new intraday low price while they were at it — and it won’t be known until Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report just how much short covering the commercial traders were able to achieve yesterday.  Just as important will be how much selling was done by the technical fund long holders in the Managed Money category.

As I mentioned in my commentary on silver at the top of this column, net volume wasn’t overly heavy, certainly not as heavy as I was expecting, all things considered.  So we’ll have to wait it out until Friday to see what the numbers are.

It’s possible, as both Ted and I were discussing on the phone yesterday, that there wasn’t all that much to liquidate in the Managed Money category.  The technical funds certainly would have been selling longs and going short in droves, but it’s the non-blinking non-technical funds ever-increasing long position that interests Ted the most.  They may have used this past week to add to those positions — and that’s something else he [and I] will be looking out for in Friday’s report.

And even though gold got beaten down as well, neither the 200 or 50-day moving averages were broken, so although there was most likely some Managed Money long selling in that precious metal as well, it probably wasn’t a significant amount.

Ted may hazard a guess at the COT numbers in his mid-week commentary tomorrow — and if he does, I’ll mention them in my Friday missive.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper, once again…so you can assess the Monday dojis for yourself.  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 note that gold rallied a bit in the second hour of trading after New York opened for business at 6:00 p.m. EDT yesterday evening.  But that wasn’t allowed to last — and it has been creeping lower in price ever since — and is down $3.90 an ounce at the moment.  Silver had a bit of a ride in the first three hours of trading yesterday evening in New York — and both attempts to break above the $18 spot mark were dealt with in the usual manner — and it’s been chopping unevenly lower since trading began in the Far East on their Tuesday morning.  At the moment it’s down 7 cents.  The platinum price has been chopping around with little direction during the Far East trading session — and it’s down a buck.  Palladium spent most of Far East trading in positive territory — and its attempt to reach the $800 spot mark in early afternoon trading in Shanghai got capped and driven lower — and as the Zurich open approaches, palladium is down 2 dollars the ounce.

Net HFT gold volume is approaching 35,000 contracts — and that number in silver is 6,700 contracts, with huge roll-over/switch volume out of May — and into the new front month, which will be July.

The dollar index rallied about 20 basis points by around 10 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning, but has been chopping unevenly lower ever since — and is up only 7 basis points as London opens.

Of course even though the dollar index cratered on Sunday evening as well, that wasn’t…as I also pointed out earlier…allowed to manifest itself in the precious metal prices.  The powers-that-be can do whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever market they choose.  That was certainly the case during the Sunday night/Monday trading session.

Today, at the close of COMEX trading, is the cut-off for this Friday’s COT Report — and unless something untoward happens to the upside sometime today, there should be quite a change from last week.  If I do stick my neck out with a guess, I’ll have it for you in tomorrow’s column.

And as I post today’s efforts on the website at 4:03 a.m. EDT, I see that the gold price continued to creep lower in the first hour of London trading — and is down $5.30 an ounce currently.  It’s the same for silver — and it’s down 9 cents.  Platinum is lower by 3.  But palladium really got kicked downstairs around 9:40 a.m. in Zurich — and was down 8 dollars at its low tick, but is down ‘only’ 5 dollars at the moment.

Net HFT gold volume is up to the 44,500 contract mark — and that number in silver is just over 8,000 contracts.  Roll-over/switch volume is enormous.

The dollar index continues to creep lower — and is now back below the 99.00 mark…down 6 basis points on the day.  As you can tell, what’s happening with the dollar index is irrelevant to what’s happening in the precious metals when ‘da boyz’ are out and about.

Of course both the 200 and 50-day moving averages in gold are now within easy reach — and I expect them to be taken out to the downside with some conviction in the coming days.  That will give the powers-that-be another shot at silver as well — and I doubt that they’ll pass on the chance.  However, to do any serious damage in that precious metal, they have to drive the price below Sunday night’s low, which was $17.55 an ounce.

Today is options expiry, I believe.  By the close of COMEX trading on Wednesday, all the traders have to roll or sell their May futures, unless they’re standing for delivery of course — and the rest of the traders have to do the same by the close of COMEX trading on Thursday.

Nothing at all will surprise me as the last week of April draws to a close.

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


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