Silver Continues to Pour Into JP Morgan’s COMEX Depository

29 April 2017 — Saturday


The gold price did very little yesterday.  It chopped quietly sideways until around 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Friday morning — and from there crawled higher until JP Morgan et al appeared at the COMEX open.  It was sold down a small handful of dollars until shortly before the equity markets opened in New York at 9:30 a.m. EDT.  Then the gold price continued to crawl quietly higher until a few minutes after 4 p.m. in the thinly-traded after-hours market — and then traded pretty flat from there into the 5:00 p.m. EDT close.

The high and low ticks definitely aren’t worth looking up.

Gold finished the Friday session at $1,267.70 spot, up $4.20 on the day.  Net volume was rather quiet, relatively speaking, at just over 165,000 contracts.

The silver price inched generally higher in Far East and morning trading in London, but the price began to soften as soon as the noon silver fix was in — and ‘da boyz’ did the rest once the COMEX opened.  The low tick of the day [and a new low for this move down] was set at, or shortly after, the London p.m. gold fix.  Several small, but determined rally attempts after that were capped and turned lower, with the last one coming shortly before 1 p.m. EDT in New York.  It was sold off a bit more going into the COMEX close, plus in the thinly-traded after-hours market as well.

The high and low ticks in silver were reported by the CME Group as $17.445 and $17.185 in the July contract.

Silver was closed in New York yesterday at $17.16 spot, down 7 cents from Thursday.  Net volume was pretty heavy at just over 61,500 contracts.

Here’s the 5-minute tick chart for silver, courtesy of Brad Robertson as usual. There was spotty volume in Far East and morning trading in London…but of course the real volume kicked in at the COMEX open when JP Morgan et al pulled all their usual dirty tricks.  Once the COMEX closed, volume vanished.

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.

Like silver, platinum wanted to rally as well, but its decent Far East and Zurich gains crumbled under the paper onslaught at the COMEX open.  It was driven down to within a dollar of its Thursday close, but once Zurich was done for the weekend at 11 a.m. EDT, the price blasted higher, only to run into the short buyers and long sellers of last resort about forty minutes later.  They drove it back to unchanged by the COMEX close, but it rallied a couple of dollars in after-hours trading — and finished the Thursday session at $944 spot — up 2 bucks on the day.

The palladium price traded almost ruler flat at the unchanged mark until shortly after the noon silver fix in London.  Then, like on Thursday, away it went to the upside.  It ran into ‘resistance’ at the $830 spot mark shortly before 12 o’clock noon in New York — and then was sold down a quick 5 spot starting at 1 p.m. EDT — and it didn’t do a lot after that.  Palladium finished the Friday session at $827 spot, up 12 bucks on the day.

The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 99.15 — and made it up to the 99.23 mark just minutes after 1:30 p.m. China Standard Time on their Friday afternoon.  It began to chop lower from there — and minutes after 9:30 a.m. in London, the index tanked.  The 98.72 low tick was set shortly before 1 p.m. BST — and at that juncture there appeared to be multiple attempts to jam the index higher.  It rolled over for the last time a minute after 12 o’clock in New York — and then chopped sideways mostly below the 99.00 mark.  But minutes before the close, some kind soul tapped it higher — and it finished the day at 99.02…down 13 basis points from Thursday.

The ramp job in the dollar index, along with the engineered price declines in gold and silver that accompanied it, were more than obvious.  And as I like to say from time to time…even Stevie Wonder could see this.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index, which you can read into whatever you want.  But it’s a given that if it was allowed to trade freely, it would crash and burn, just like the equity markets.

The gold stocks began to head higher the moment that the equity markets opened in New York on Friday morning — and most of the gains that mattered were in by shortly after 10:30 a.m. EDT.  They chopped quietly sideways in a pretty tight range for the rest of the Friday session.  The HUI closed up 2.26 percent.

It was mostly the same for the silver equities, except their trading range after 10:35 a.m. EDT was much larger than it was for the gold stocks.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 1.43 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

Here are the three charts from Nick that show what’s been happening for the week, month — and year-to-date.  The first one shows the changes in gold, silver, platinum and palladium for the past trading week, in both percent and dollar and cents terms, as of their Friday closes in New York — along with the changes in the HUI and Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index.   The Click to Enlarge feature really helps on all three.

Here are the month-to-date changes….

And year-to-date as well…

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 2 of silver deliveries in May, showed that 12 gold and 751 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.  In gold, there were no stand-out short/issuers or long stoppers — and JP Morgan was nowhere to be found.  In silver, the three largest short/issuers were ABN Amro, S.G. Americas — and International F.C. Stone…with 287, 237 and 102 contracts out of their respective client accounts.  The two biggest long/stoppers were ABN Amro with 268 contracts for its client account — and in second spot was Macquarie Futures with 223 contracts for its own account.  International F.C. Stone was an “also ran” at 50 contracts out of its client account.  There were 13 short/issuers in total, plus 17 long/stoppers — and if you’re interested, the link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in May dropped by 53 contracts, leaving 426 still open, minus the 12 contracts mentioned just above.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 15 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 53-15=37 gold contracts disappeared from May without either making or taking delivery.  Silver o.i. in May declined by 1,372 contracts, leaving 1,988 still around, minus the 751 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 1,421 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 1,421-1,372=49 more silver contracts were just added to the May delivery month.

There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV on Friday.

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

U.S. Mint sales month-to-date are so bad, you have to wonder why they don’t just close the doors for the rest of the year, as I’m sure they have enough of everything in stock to last that long, at least based on sales during the last few months.  Month-to-date the mint has sold only 6,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — 3,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 835,000 silver eagles.  I wonder how soon they’re going to start announcing layoffs?

Once again there was almost no gold movement over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Thursday.  Nothing was reported received once again — and only 198 troy ounces were shipped out — and that activity…if you wish to dignify it with that name… was at Delaware.  I know that Ted will have something to say about this lack of activity in his weekly commentary this afternoon.

I’m out of adjectives and superlatives to describe the ongoing manic in/out activity in silver.  There was so much of it on Thursday, that I’m not even going to try to itemize it all.  Just to hit the highlights, there was 2,388,852 troy ounces received — and another 2,373,557 troy ounces shipped out the door, plus 2,842,649 troy ounces were transferred from the Eligible category to the Registered category — most likely in preparation for the May delivery month..  All of that silver transferred was at CNT.  Of course, not to be forgotten in this mania, is the fact that JP Morgan added another 915,221 troy ounces of silver to their COMEX silver stash, which now tops 107 million troy ounces — and 55.5 percent of all the silver held by all COMEX depositories combined.  The link to all of the above silver action, plus much more, is here — and it’s certainly worth your time if you have the interest.

In the “Picture Worth a Thousand Words” category,  we have this from Nick Laird.  Click to enlarge.

It was pretty busy over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  They reported receiving 1,308 of them — and shipped out 7,878.  As usual, all of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc., and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

The Commitment of Traders Report yesterday, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday showed the expected improvement in silver, but a smallish increase in the commercial net short position in gold.

In silver, the Commercial net short position improved by 8,743 contracts, or 43.7 million troy ounces of paper silver.  They arrived at that number by covering 12,206 short contracts, but they also sold 3,463 long contracts — and the difference between those numbers was the change for the reporting week.

The Commercial net short position is down 108,089 contracts, or ‘only’ 540.4 million troy ounces of paper silver.

Ted said that the Big 4 traders decreased their short position by around 2,200 contracts — and attributes all of that to JP Morgan — and sets their short position at 32,000 contracts, down from 34,000 last week.  He’ll be able to recalibrate that number next Friday when the new Bank Participation Report hits the street.  The ‘5 through 8’ large traders reduced their short position by about 2,700 contracts…as did Ted’s raptors, the 34 small commercial traders on the short side, other than the ‘Big 8’, as they covered 3,800 of their short contracts.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report it was all Managed Money traders and much more, as they not only reduced their long position by 10,780 contracts, they also increased their short position by 5,315 contracts, for a total reporting week swing of 16,095 contracts, which was almost double the decrease in the Commercial net short position.  These are very helpful numbers.

What was interesting was that the long position in the ‘Other Reportable’ category increased by a chunky 3,420 contracts — and the long position of the Nonreportable/small trader category fell by only 484 contracts during the reporting week.  It’s my suspicion that these non-technical funds are not only increasing their long positions in the Managed Money category as Ted has been pointing out for several years now, but they’re also scooping up all the long contracts in these other two categories on any price decline as well.

Of course, this COT Report for silver is already “yesterday’s news” in some respects, as JP Morgan et al have set three new low closes in a row since the Tuesday cut-off, plus a new intraday low tick during COMEX trading on Friday.  Just how much more improvement there has been since the cut-off, won’t be known until next Friday’s Report…provided things don’t blow up during the last two reporting days for next week’s report.

Here’s the 9-years COT chart for silver — and as you can see, there’s been noticeable improvement since the prior reporting week.  Click to enlarge.

In gold, I was somewhat surprised to see an increase in the Commercial net short position, even though it was pretty small, only 3,516 contracts, or 351,600 troy ounces of paper gold.  But, as Ted would say, the numbers are what they are.

They got to that number by increasing their short position by 6,082 contracts, plus they added 2,566 contacts to their long position.  The difference between those two numbers is the change for the reporting week.

Ted said that the Big 4 and the big ‘5 though 8’ traders went short in a big way, as the Big 4 increased their short position by about 2,100 contracts — and the ‘5 through 8’ went heavily short to the tune of around 6,200 contracts…both new highs for this move up, according to Ted.  Ted said that the raptors, the 52 Commercial traders on the short side other than Big 8, went the other way.  Not only did they cover their 2,400 outstanding short contracts, they also went long to the tune of 2,400 contracts as well.

The Commercial net short position in gold now stands at 21.46 million troy ounces of paper gold.

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was a Managed Money show as well — and then some.  They not only added 8,393 long contracts, but they also covered 751 short contracts, for a total reporting week swing of 9,144 contracts, which was almost three times as much as the increase in the Commercial net short position.  That’s never happy news.

Here’s the 9-year COT chart for gold — and as you can see, we’re nowhere near being overbought.  Click to enlarge.

Even though the COT Report is nowhere near negative territory in gold, the 200 and 50-day moving averages are sitting within spitting distance of yesterday’s closing price.  It certainly wouldn’t take much effort on the part of ‘da boyz’ to pull their bids, spin their algos — and drop gold 40 or 50 bucks in a few hours…or days.  Not only would that send the Managed Money traders running for the hills; it would allow, as Ted said on the phone yesterday, JP Morgan et al to kick the Managed Money traders in the gonads just one more time.

But if that’s in the cards, I respectfully appeal to the powers-that-be to have it over a done with before the COMEX close on Tuesday, because I want it all in next week’s COT and Bank Participation Reports.  Thank you very much.

Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days to Cover” chart updated with yesterday’s COT data for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.  It shows the days of world production that it would take to cover the short positions of the Big 4 — and Big ‘5 through 8’ traders in each physically traded commodity on the COMEX.  These are the same Big 4 and ‘5 through 8’ traders discussed in the COT Report above.  Click to enlarge.

For the current reporting week, the Big 4 are short 159 days of world silver production—and the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 56 days of world silver production—for a total of 215 days, which is seven months of world silver production, or about 522.4 million troy ounces of paper silver held short by the Big 8.  [In last week’s report the Big 8 were short 225 days of world silver production.]

In the COT Report above, the Commercial net short position in silver is 540.4 million troy ounces.  So, for the moment, the commercial net short position in silver is larger than the short position of the Big 8 traders by 540.4 – 522.4 = 18.0 million troy ounces.

As I also stated in the above COT Report, Ted pegs JP Morgan’s short position at around 32,000 contracts, or 160 million ounces, which is down from the 34,000 contracts they were net short in the previous week’s report.  160 million ounces works out to around 66 days of world silver production that JP Morgan is short.  That’s compared to the 215 days that the Big 8 are short in total.  JPM is short a bit over 30 percent of the entire short position held by the Big 8 traders.

The approximate short position in silver held by Scotiabank works out to around 53 days of world silver production.  So, for the moment, JPMorgan is the biggest silver short in the COMEX futures market.

The two largest silver shorts on Planet Earth—JP Morgan and Canada’s Scotiabank—are short about 119 days of world silver production between the two of them—and that 119 days represents 75 percent of the length of the red bar in silver in the above chart…three quarters of it.  The other two traders in the Big 4 category are short, on average, about 20 days of world silver production apiece — and those numbers hardly ever change.  The four traders in the ‘5 through 8’ category are short, on average, 14 days of world silver production each.

The short positions of Scotiabank and JP Morgan combined, represents about 55 percent of the short position held by all the Big 8 traders.  How’s that for a concentrated short position within a concentrated short position?

The Big 8 are short 48.6 percent of the entire open interest in silver in the COMEX futures market — and that number would be about 55 percent once the market-neutral spread trades are subtracted out.  In gold it’s now up to 45.6 percent of the total open interest that the Big 8 are short.

In gold, the Big 4 are short 53 days of world gold production, which is unchanged from last week — and the ‘5 through 8’ are short another 24 days of world production, which is up 3 days from the prior week, for a total of 77 days of world gold production held short by the Big 8.  Based on these numbers, the Big 4 in gold hold about 71 percent of the total short position held by the Big 8.

The “concentrated short positions within a concentrated short position” in silver, platinum and palladium held by the Big 4 are about 74, 72 and 63 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8.  The numbers are up a percent or so in silver and platinum, but unchanged for palladium

I have very few stories for you again today, even including the few that I’ve been saving for today’s column.


Fannie and Freddie, Back in the Black

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were among the biggest disasters of the financial crisis. In September 2008, nine days before Lehman Brothers failed, the federal government took over the mortgage companies; it eventually spent more than $187 billion bailing them out. For decades, the companies had provided an implicit government backstop to the U.S. mortgage market, buying loans from private lenders and guaranteeing payments to investors. That helped spur a steady rise in home ownership—until the subprime crisis hit and Fannie and Freddie were on the hook for billions in losses.

Lawmakers vowed to overhaul the companies and some planned to wind them down completely. But more than eight years later, Fannie and Freddie still operate under government control—and they’re now a bigger part of the system, guaranteeing payment on just under half of all U.S. mortgages, up from 38 percent before the crisis.

There is one key difference: Any profits the companies generate go to the government instead of investors. The latest payment, a combined $9.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury at the end of March, pushed the total amount of cash Fannie and Freddie have paid to taxpayers to $266 billion, making their bailout one of the most profitable in history.

There’s now a pitched battle over who should get those profits. The companies’ pre-crisis common and preferred stocks still trade over-the-counter, and investors who snapped up the shares, such as hedge fund managers Bill Ackman and John Paulson, say Treasury is breaking the law by taking the money. The fight goes back to a change the Barack Obama administration made to the bailout terms in 2012.

This interesting Bloomberg story showed up in my in-box too late to make Friday’s column, so here it is today.  I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for sending it our way — and another link to it is here.

Doug Noland: Unsound Finance

While discerned by few, Credit turns progressively less stable over the course of an economic upcycle. Especially during the late-cycle boom phase, there would be a huge divergence between general confidence and the underlying deterioration in the quality of rapidly expanding Credit. At some point the boom begins to falter, resulting in a tightening of bank lending. Latent fragilities were soon exposed, traditionally leading to fear, panic, bank runs and such.

My fundamental premise is that we’re in the late-stage of a historic global experiment in unfettered finance. From a historical and analytical perspective, Credit is inherently unstable. Today’s Credit is acutely unstable on a global basis as never before. The bullish counter argument holds that central bankers will ensure financial and economic stability. And with central banks willing to employ negative rates and limitless massive monetization, confidence in the bullish view is higher than ever. As such, today’s divergence between confidence and the underlying soundness of finance has never been as wide – ever. The bullish view holds that central banks are the solution. They’re undoubtedly the problem.

Especially with the view that the Trump Administration will aggressively pursue tax cuts and deregulation, optimism is running high that pent up real economy potential is about to be unleashed. Despite a weak Q1, some forecasts call for 3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} GDP growth in Q2. Monitoring increasingly overheated real estate markets and stubbornly low bond yields, I would not be surprised by a decent economic uptick. Yet there are myriad fault lines that could bring this party to an abrupt end.

The Dilemma of Unsound Finance prevails just about everywhere – most notably China, Japan, Europe, EM, Canada, the U.S, Australia, etc. There are numerous potential flashpoints – where Unsound Finance has turned acutely vulnerable. While central bankers talk employment and CPI, I believe fear of global financial instability has been the true impetus behind “whatever it takes.”

Doug’s weekly must read Credit Bubble Bulletin appeared on his website in the wee hours of Saturday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.

Trump Is an Insider Now — Bill Bonner

We had already counted six major campaign promises – including no O’care repeal and no “America First” foreign policy – already buried (some for the better).

Then came four more major policy reversals earlier this month. Seeking Alpha reports:

In a single day, President Trump appeared to reverse his positions on no fewer than four key pledges that arguably led to his election victory. Trump told WSJ [The Wall Street Journal] yesterday that China is no longer a currency manipulator, he respects Janet Yellen and perhaps could nominate her to another term leading the Fed, he would support the Ex-Im [Export-Import] bank after previously saying he would shut it down (good news for the likes of GE and Boeing), and NATO was no longer obsolete since it is fighting terrorism.

In the same interview, Trump said he believed the dollar was “getting too strong,” sending the dollar lower and gold higher.

This excellent and very worthwhile commentary Bill showed up on the Internet site on Friday — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along.  Another link to it is here.

Trump is puppet of U.S. ‘deep state,’ has no ‘own’ foreign policy – Assad

U.S. president Donald Trump is not a truly independent political leader but merely a puppet of U.S. corporations, military and intelligence, and who serves their interests, Syrian President Bashar Assad has told the Latin American TeleSUR TV network

As we have seen in the past few weeks, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime,” Assad added.

He referred to the fact that Trump came to power on a political platform promising a departure from the interventionist policy of the previous U.S. president, Barack Obama, but soon forgot his promises and ordered a missile strike against the Syrian air base following a chemical weapons incident in Syria’s Idlib province.

The Syrian president also said that it is “a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American president’s foreign policy” as “he might say something” but what he really does depends on “what these [US military and business] institutions dictate to him.”

He also added that it “is not new” and “has been ongoing American policy for decades.”

He went on to say that the U.S. continues to pursue its age-long policy aimed at establishing and maintaining a global hegemony by turning all countries that oppose it into war zones.

He would be exactly right about that.  This news item showed up on the Russian Today website at 9:48 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday evening, which was 2:48 p.m. in Washington — EDT plus 7 hours.  It’s another offering from Brad Robertson — and another link to it is here.

Julian Assange Speaks Out: The War on the Truth — a Ron Paul Interview

Wikileaks Founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange joins the Liberty Report to discuss the latest push by the Trump Administration to bring charges against him and his organization for publishing US Government documents. How will they get around the First Amendment and the Espionage Act?

The U.S. government and the mainstream media — some of which gladly publish Wikileaks documents — are pushing to demonize Assange in the court of public opinion.

Ron Paul is the co-host of this 27:07 minute video interview that was posted on the Internet site on Thursday sometime.  I thank Jim Gullo for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.

G. Edward Griffin: Exposing the Federal Reserve

G. Edward Griffin, the author of the seminal book on the formation of the Federal Reserve…The Creature of Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, joins the podcast this week to add his perspective to our ongoing critical examination of the Fed and the impact its actions are having on society.

Meeting Ed and getting to spend time with him was a real honor for Chris and me. His breadth of knowledge of the central banking system as well as his engaging manner of storytelling are masterful. Plus, he’s simply a wonderfully kind person.

Ed’s decades of research and critique of the Federal Reserve, sadly, have left him with conclusions that corroborate our own. Despite its carefully-crafted image as an essential public servant, Griffin concludes it is anything but.  It is a private cartel that has connived its way to tremendous advantage and power, secretly (and not-so-secretly) plundering the American people of their treasure and freedoms.

This audio interview conducted by Chris Martenson was done back on April 4 — and it showed up on Mike Maloney’s website on Monday.  This was posted in my Wednesday column, but I said at the time that I would also post it in Saturday’s missive as well, if you didn’t have time for it then — and here it is.  I thank Jim Gullo for sending it our way — and another link to the audio interview is here.

Ringleader in great Canadian maple syrup heist gets 8 years in prison, $9.4M fine

A man described as one of the ringleaders in the 2012 theft of $18.7 million worth of maple syrup has been sentenced to eight years in prison, but that term could be extended if he can’t pay his multi-million-dollar fine.

On Friday, a Trois-Rivières, Que., judge handed Richard Vallières his eight-year sentence and fined him nearly $9.4 million.

If Vallières does not pay the fine, he will have to spend an additional six years behind bars.

The elaborate maple syrup robbery involved 3,000 tonnes of syrup from a warehouse belonging to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers — the regulatory body that controls and manages the syrup trade.

The heist was discovered when a routine inventory check in July 2012 turned up an empty barrel that was supposed to be full of syrup. Officials with the federation quickly realized that dozens of its barrels contained not syrup, but water.

This CBC news item appeared on the Internet site around 5 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon — and I thank Doug Clark for finding it for us.  Another link to it is here.  The original story from back in January of 2013 was headlined “The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist“, but it’s had a headline change since it was first posted way back then.

Eve of the Trump and Russia hearings in Congress — John Batchelor interviews Stephen F. Cohen

The investigations of Russian involvement in the presidential elections are expanding into additional investigations. Batchelor mentions the statement from Senator Burr of South Carolina, who will lead the Senate Sub Committee Investigation on Russian involvement in the US presidential election, has gone on record that we are in a new cold war with Russia. Cohen, in turn, raises the point that he has yet to note all the complaints of the United States that could have Washington at war with Russia and proceeds to do so and to explain why this new cold war is more dangerous: in sequence they are Ukraine, the NATO build up on Russia’s border; Kremlingate (the DNC hack), the chemical weapons event in Syria (and Trump’s missile attack response), the perception of Kremlin involvement in European elections, and finally the new allegation that Russia is “colluding with the Taliban” against the US in Afghanistan. This too is a dynamic process as the list appears to be growing…..One cannot help but ponder that as there is no real evidence emerging from these various investigations. all are just public relations exercises designed to keep the hysteria at the heights. But are the failures of these investigations not seen as the failures of the narratives? Apparently not so much.

Cohen states that this process has lasted a decade and a general attitude of “Russiaphobia” and a new cold war. The intensity of this attitude, Cohen concludes, has somehow emerged as worse than that of the Soviet era, and he explains how. He reminds that during the Soviet era there was, at least, a policy of diplomacy operating – and this time all the various narratives in operation that could bring war are unsupported by any evidenc. This may be the most dangerous aspect of this whole process that there is much less talking between these countries. Also what is missing this time is a MSM that practices real journalism that functioned as a kind of safety valve in the past that would keep any developing narrative somewhat credible. But with the media complicit in promoting the anti-Russian accusations we have instead a partnership with government where the Fourth Estate is compromised – except for some few notable exceptions in the mainstream (Tucker Carlson is mentioned). And Cohen claims that these failures are being somewhat noted and commented upon.

Batchelor does comment, however, that the media discussion is beginning to take the position that Congress is too partisan to deal with the Russiagate investigation. Cohen maintains that this may go on for years and be a major platform for a new Hillary campaign then. (This writer also assumes an escalation – perhaps blaming Russia for a declining dollar or adverse economic realities.) And Cohen notes that virtually everone has bought into this – perhaps for cosmetic/political reasons and that at some point the lack of credibility, the lack of evidence – and serious omissions, for example, by the FBI in their “DNC hacking incident” – may interfere with the narratives. And Batchelor responds that the French now have their own Russiagate with their own presidential election. A Russian based hacker group called Pawn Storm is targeting E.U. elections and is now the new bogyman in Europe. Both pundits then begin to discuss what might be called the evolution of “allegation politics” where evidence of any wrong doing is completely unnecessary to achieve an outcome.

Cohen then brings Ukraine into the discussion. Kiev has now cut off electrical power to the capital of Luhansk as a means to provoke Russia. Also mentioned is the importance to Russia of the American presence in Afghanistan. Without the American presence, that country would become a centre for jihadism against that whole region and southern Russia and yet Russia stands accused of working with the Taliban against the United States.

So the allegation politics continue to support Western insouciance. At some point does one see the rest of the unaligned world just throwing up hands and accepting that any American president will have as much legitimacy (or as little) as the whole deserves to receive? This process has achieved that much. The perverse aspect of this speaks to how the rest of the world are even more intimidated by fear of becoming a target of America as the Russians have become. We have seen now what they have done to Trump, and we will have to live in this new dangerous world with this reality that is now in the open.

This 42-minute audio interview, which Ken Hurt sent my way on Tuesday is definitely worth your time — and as always, a special Thank You to Larry Galearis for his most excellent executive summary.  If you don’t have the time/inclination to listen to the interview, you should at least read the above executive summary.  It was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday — and another link to it is here.

The British-American coup that ended Australian independence — John Pilger

Across the media and political establishment in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.

Latin Americans will recognise the audacity and danger of this “breaking free” in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA. U.S. diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years, but Whitlam knew the risk he was taking.

This story is almost four years old, but still remains current — and shows you what happens to any country the runs afoul of the Anglo/American Axis.  It happened in Canada as well, but it was handled differently.  They Americans hand-picked Brian Mulroney to do their bidding — and he was happy to oblige.  This news item put in an appearance on Internet site way back on 23 October 2014 — and it’s certainly a must read if you have the interest.  I thank Roy Stephens for sending it — and another link to it is here.

El Salvador’s new metal-mining ban is terrifying for ‘artisanal’ miners

Fredy Flores wears his black cowboy hat slung low over his forehead. His eyes, barely visible beneath the rim, are only open a slit, which may be a reaction to the glaring sun and pulsing heat — but more likely it’s because he’s angry. Flores is an artisanal miner in San Sebastian, a remote El Salvadoran town, and a law passed recently has banned his means of survival.

El Salvador become the first country in the world to ban all metal mining in late March. It’s a victory for the majority of the population, which opposed the mining activities. The law came after years of activism from an unusual constellation of actors. Concerned mothers and social groups joined environmentalists, the Catholic Church and even legislators on both sides of the aisle to pass the historic legislation.

It’s being hailed as a monumental victory for the environment over big business. Multinational companies conducting metal mining have been blamed for poisoning waterways from the Philippines to Guatemala. Small social movements in El Salvador, often led by concerned mothers, used the pollution in other countries to make a case for what might happen in El Salvador if big companies were allowed to operate metal mines.

The strategy was successful, and they managed to win a moratorium on metal mining in 2008. Vidalina Morales was one of the activists who led that effort. The diminutive mother of five was alarmed when prospecting began in her municipality of Cabañas, and she joined other mothers to try to stop the mining activities. The moratorium was a good first step, she said, “but there was still always the possibility that transnational companies may be able to come to explore.” Now, with the new law, that option is “closed,” Morales said. Which for her is the right outcome.

Without doubt we’re thrilled because these projects bring more damage than benefits,” Morales says.

This photo essay was posted on the Internet site on Monday — and I thank Patrik Ekdahl for sending it our way on Thursday.  For length and content reasons I saved it for Saturday’s column — and another link to it is here.

Bank of England releases new data on its gold vault holdings — Ronan Manly

On its gold web page, the Bank highlights this fact – that it provides gold custody service to both central banks and commercial banks:

We provide safe custody for the United Kingdom’s gold reserves, and for other central banks. This supports financial stability by providing central banks with access to the liquidity of the London gold market.

We also provide gold accounts to certain commercial firms that facilitate access for central banks to the London gold market.

In the London Gold Market, the word “liquidity” is a euphemism for gold loans, gold swaps, and gold trading including gold sales. This reference to central banks accessing the London Gold Market as being in some way supportive of ‘financial stability’ is also an eye-opener, since reading between the lines, the Bank of England is conceding that by accessing the London Gold Market’s “liquidity” via bullion banks, these central bank clients are either contributing to direct stabilisation of the gold price in some shape or form, or else are using their gold operations to raise foreign currencies for exchange rate intervention and/or system liquidity. But both routes are aiming at the same outcome. i.e. stability of the financial system.

At the end of the day, the gold price has always been a barometer that central banks strive to keep a lid on and which they aim to stabilise or smooth the gyrations of, given that the alternative – a freely formed and unmanipulated gold price – would thwart their coordination of fiat currency exchange rates, interest rates and inflation targets.

This is another very long commentary from Ronan, which I must admit that I haven’t read — and probably won’t.  If you don’t have the time or the inclination to read it yourself, then scroll down to the ‘Conclusion’ at the end — and you might find something useful there.  This was posted on the Internet site on Friday — and I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is here.

Silver price manipulation, is regulation putting a stop to it?

Simple economics tells us that markets and prices are driven by demand and supply. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case in the silver market. However, the threat of new regulations may be putting a stop to some bullion banks from fiddling the London silver benchmark.

Silver price manipulation is always a thorny issue and one that has been taken on by academics, lawsuits, by veteran silver analyst Ted Butler and by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA). As we have reported previously, allegations of silver price manipulation are far past the point of rumours, in the last couple of years bullion banks have been called to account for their behaviour. Deutsche bank even agreed to settle out of court and pay $38m, in response to a class-action lawsuit.

But it seems the rising attention (and cost) of manipulation by silver bullion banks is not the only thing that is putting a stop to a behaviour that has been evident for over a decade. Reuters reported yesterday that fear of being accused by regulators of market manipulation has resulted in participating banks being reluctant to add liquidity during the daily auction.

This commentary by Jan Skoyles never breaths a word about about Ground Zero in the silver price management scheme — and that’s to be found on the COMEX in New York, which is overseen by its parent company, the CME Group.  And not even a wavering finger is pointed in the direction of the real crook here — and that’s JP Morgan, followed closely by Scotiabank.  What happens in London is irrelevant.  I found this piece in on the Internet site yesterday — and another link to it is here.  Interestingly enough, this story didn’t make the grade over at Sharp Pixley.

China’s Q1 gold output dips 9.3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} yearly at 101.2 mt; consumption jumps 14.7{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e}

World’s top gold producer and consumer China produced 101.197 mt (2.95 million oz) of gold in the first quarter of 2017, decreasing 9.3{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} from 111.563 mt achieved a year earlier, the China Gold Association said Friday in a statement.

Mined gold accounted for 79.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of China’s first-quarter gold output at 80.542 mt, slipping 8.4{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} from 87.93 mt in the same 2016 period, it said.

The remaining 20.655 mt was made up of gold produced as a byproduct of base metals processing in the March quarter, and represented a drop of 12.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} year on year.

CGA said the weaker performance in the first quarter reflected reduced output by domestic miners which have been affected by persistently low gold prices.

This gold-related news item, filed from Hong Kong, put in an appearance on the Internet site at 5:04 a.m. EDT on Friday morning.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website — and another link to it is here.


Spring has finally sprung around here, after two months of far-below-normal temperatures, complete with lots of snow and rain.  I didn’t see this critter when I went outside on Friday morning, but I could certainly smell it.  There are two kinds of skunks in North America — the stripped and the spotted.  We only get the striped variety around here — and I’ve only ever seen them as road kill.


The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” — Winston Churchill

Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ dates from 1971 — and I remember spinning this 45 rpm record on CHAR radio in Alert, N.W.T. way back then.  In those days I had a beard down to here — and hair down to there — complete with a headband and split ends galore, which no shampoo would help!  Those were my hippy days.  I was 23 years young then.  The link is here.

Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is one I’ve feature before, but it’s been many years.  It’s Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 which he composed in 1858.  The concerto was first performed on January 22, 1859, in Hanover, Germany, when Brahms was just 25 years old. The audience received it coldly.

Well, that’s certainly isn’t the reception it gets today, although it has been eclipsed to a certain extent by his second piano concerto, which he didn’t compose until twenty-two years later.  But that takes nothing away from the first, as it’s a giant work — and incredible in its own right.

Here’s Hélène Grimaud doing the honours at the keyboard, along with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra.  This recording was made twelve years ago on April 17, 2005.  The audio and video are first rate — and a link to it is here.

It’s been an interesting and dramatic week.

When Ted and I were talking yesterday, he mentioned something to the effect that this past week was the biggest week for silver movement in the history of the COMEX to date — and that’s saying something.  Of course a big chunk of that movement showed up as the large in-flows into JP Morgan — and I wonder just how much more they will take in going forward, as they’ve added about 15 million ounces to their COMEX stash just in the last month.  It’s a fact starkly illustrated in the chart about COMEX silver inventories just before my COT comments further up in today’s column.

I also get the impression that this may be their last swing for the fences, as they didn’t stop any for delivery for their own account in either April, or so far in May.  I’ll be very interested in what Ted has to say about this in his weekly commentary this afternoon.

I mentioned the possibility to Ted that all this week’s activity in silver may signal the impending end to this price management scheme in silver — and his response was “From your lips, to God’s ears!”  I’m sure that comment echoes your thoughts as well, dear reader.

As you already know, the other thing that I’m watching closely is the gold price vis-à-vis it’s 200 and 50-day moving averages.  Why they haven’t taken these out so far during this engineered price decline, is a mystery to me.  Ted said that because of the structure of the COMEX futures market — and the fact that gold is not close to being oversold — means that it may not necessarily be in the cards that this event will occur at the moment.  But he certainly left open the possibility that they just might.  Of course, as I said in my comments on the COT Report further up, if they do the dirty in gold, they’ll just use that opportunity to smash the silver price lower at the same time.  So we’re not out of the woods for this current down cycle, at least not yet.  As Ted also said, we won’t know the bottoms are in, in either precious metal, until we see them in the rear-view mirror.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper — and the RSI for gold is right smack dab in the middle of neutral territory — and silver is a whisker away from being oversold.  The click to enlarge feature helps with the first four charts.

As I mentioned in last Saturday’s column, I’m still of the opinion that when this price management scheme in silver — and by extension, the other three precious metals as well, ends — it won’t happen in a news vacuum.  The powers-that-be will want some event to point to as the cause for the inevitable price explosion in silver — and an accident/false flag involving North Korea would be just the ticket they need.

At this stage of the game, the Deep State is just itching for a fight — and since Syria is now off the table at the moment, they’ve got North Korea teed up to drive down the fairway.  And how China and Russia respond, remains to be seen.  But all bets will be off when it happens.

How did it come to this?

See you on Tuesday.


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