The Second BIS Gold Pool…Part 2: Gold for Oil

24 May 2017 — Wednesday

YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM


The gold price traded mostly above unchanged by a dollar or so in Far East trading on their Tuesday — and that was sold back to around unchanged shortly after London opened.  It then chopped sideways until the COMEX open, with the New York high time coming at, or just before, the London p.m. gold fix.  Then once the ‘fix was in’…down went the price.  The low tick was set shortly before 4 p.m. in the now not-so-thinly traded after-hours market — and the gold price didn’t do much after that.

The high and low ticks were reported as $1,263.80 and $1,250.50 in the June contract.

Gold was closed in New York on Tuesday at $1,250.70 spot, down $9.70 from Monday.  Net volume was enormous once again at around 206,000 contracts, with pretty decent roll-over/switch volume out of June.

Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson.  There was a bit of volume in morning trading in the Far East — and a bit more in London.  But, as is always the case, the biggest volume of the day was in New York when the COMEX opened at 6:20 a.m. Denver time on the chart below.  The only volume I would suggest would be ‘background’ levels are last two volume ticks on the far right-hand side of the chart after 14:00 MDT/16:00 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.

Silver traded a few pennies above unchanged until shortly after 2 p.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday afternoon — and from there it was sold down about a dime until shortly after 9 a.m. in London.  It was up a bit going into the COMEX open and, like gold, the price topped out shortly before 10 a.m. in New York.  By 1 p.m. EDT the ensuing sell-off petered out — and the subsequent gains in the rally going into the COMEX close…and a few minutes beyond…also got taken away.  Silver was closed almost on its low tick of the day.

The high and lows in silver were recorded by the CME Group as $17.305 and $17.03 in the July contract

Silver was closed on Tuesday at $17.05 spot, down 9.5 cents on the day.  Net volume was very heavy at a bit under 80,000 contracts — and for the second day in a row there was a surprising amount of roll-over/switch volume out of July as well.

Here’s the 5-minute tick chart for silver, courtesy of Brad as well.  There was a bit of volume in London, but well over 90 percent of Tuesday volume was in COMEX trading — and it didn’t fall back to what I call background levels until around 13:30 p.m. Denver time on the chart below, which was 3:30 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 here as well.

The platinum price traded mostly sideways to a dollar or so lower until around 10:30 a.m. in Zurich on their Tuesday morning.  It began to rally a bit from there, but really started to fly around 1:40 p.m. local time — and about forty minutes before the COMEX open.  ‘Da boyz’ put an end to that rally as the price went vertical just before 9 a.m. in New York — and by the COMEX close, had the price back to unchanged.  It was sold down a bit more in the thinly-traded after-hours market — and finished the day at $944 spot, down 4 dollars from Monday.  It was up 9 bucks at its high — and would have just as easily been up a lot more if it had been allowed to trade freely, which it obviously wasn’t.

Palladium didn’t do much of anything on Tuesday…wandering around a few dollars either side of unchanged all day long.  It managed to finish in the plus column by 4 bucks at $772 spot.

The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 96.99 — and it chopped mostly sideways until 11:30 a.m. in New York.  But before that, there were three separate attempts to jam the index above the 97.00 mark in Far East and London trading, but the fourth try at 11:30 a.m. EDT was the ticket.  They managed to get it up to the 97.40 mark shortly before 3 p.m. — and it didn’t do a lot after that, closing at 97.34 — and up 35 basis points on the day.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index — and it certainly looks as if ‘da boyz’ are trying to ignite a short covering rally in the dollar index.  Let’s see how they make out in the days ahead — and how much effort they have to put into it to make it happen.

The gold stocks opened unchanged, but began to head lower as soon as JP Morgan et al began to lean on the gold price at 10 a.m. EDT once the London p.m. gold fix was in.  Their respective low ticks were set around 12:45 p.m. in New York — and although they made a rally attempt during the next hour, that rolled over as well — and the gold shares came close to finishing on their lows of the day.  The HUI closed down 3.05 percent.

The price action in the silver equities was a carbon copy of what happened to the gold shares — and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed lower by 2.62 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

And here’s the 6-month chart of the Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index — and the click to enlarge feature helps a lot here as well.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 3 gold and 8 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in May increased by another 2 contracts again, leaving 27 left, minus the 3 contracts mentioned just above.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 2 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that another 2+2=4 gold contracts were added to the May delivery month.  Silver o.i. in May dropped by 8 contracts, leaving 71 still around, minus the 8 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 2 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today — and that means that 8-2=6 silver contracts were  cancelled/covered in the May delivery month, by agreement between the short/issuer and the long/stopper on the other side of the trade.  That’s the first day this month when silver contracts were subtracted from the May delivery month — and not added.

After a fairly decent deposit in GLD on Monday, there was a pretty big withdrawal on Tuesday, as an authorized participant took out 161,744 troy ounces.  There were no reported changes in SLV.

There was a fairly decent sales report from the U.S. Mint on Tuesday.  They sold 4,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — and 445,000 silver eagles — but no gold buffaloes.

Once again it was an all zeros day in gold over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday.

There was very little activity in silver, as nothing was reported received — and only 39,940 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  All of that activity was at CNT.  There was also a transfer of 632,074 troy ounces from the Registered to the Eligible category — and that was at CNT as well.  I shan’t both linking this.

It was reasonably busy over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday, as they received 3,900 of them — but shipped out only 217.  All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. of course — and a link to that, in troy ounces is here.

Here are three charts that just landed in my in-box at 9:30 p.m. EDT yesterday evening — and courtesy of Nick Laird of course.  The first one shows Switzerland’s total gold imports and exports updated with April’s data.  The received 131.277 tonnes — and shipped out 120.76 tonnes.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature helps here.

And the next chart show the countries of origin of the 131.277 tonnes they received — and the last chart shows what countries the 120.76 tonnes were shipped to in April.  ‘Click to enlarge‘ for both.

I have very little in the way of stories for you today — and the final edit is in your hands.


CRITICAL READS

Legendary Investor Asher Edelman Says “I Have No Doubt” PPT Behind Market Rally

Legendary vulture investor Asher Edelman, the 1980s model for Gordon Gekko, strayed into what must’ve been uncomfortable territory for CNBC during an appearance on “Smart Money” when he discussed his view that the government’s “plunge protection team” is the only thing propping up the current market rally, and said he suspects that it has again been recently seen intervening in the market to keep stocks at record highs.

Edelman simply notes that he doesn’t want to be in the markets right now because “I don’t know when the plug is going to be pulled.

The “plunge protection team” was created by President Ronald Reagan one year after the stock market crash in 1987, when the president called for the creation of the “Working Group on Financial Markets.”

This story, which is definitely worth reading, put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 8:55 p.m. EDT last night — and another link to it is here.


Will Quant Funds Trigger the Next Stock Market Crash?

Having surged for years, quant hedge funds now dominate stock trading.

Quant-focused hedge funds – they specialize in algorithmic rather than human trading – gained $4.6 billion of net new assets in the first quarter, and now hold $932 billion, or about 30{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} to the $3.1 trillion in total hedge-fund assets. At the same time, investors yanked $5.5 billion out of non-quant hedge funds. This comes on top of last year when investors had yanked $83 billion out of non-quant hedge funds and had poured $13 billion into quant funds.

Trading by quant funds has soared to 27.1{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} of all stock market trading, up from 13.6{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} in 2013, according to a series of reports by the Wall Street Journal. These trades can last from minutes to months. Quant funds are different from algo-driven high-frequency trading (HFT) where trades last only milliseconds. And they’re different from ETFs which also use algorithms.

In addition, there are the fast growing “smart-beta” ETFs and mutual funds for mom-and-pop investors. They too are a form of quant funds focused on algorithmic trading. Assets in these funds in the U.S. reached $760 billion so far in 2017, up from $108 billion in 2008, and up from $208 billion in 2011.

This interesting news item, based on a linked Wall Street Journal article, was posted on the wolfstreet.com Internet site on Monday — and I thank Richard Saler for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.


We got a look inside a vast Icelandic bitcoin mine

Bitcoin is going nuclear.

The digital currency is hitting all-time highs, with a single coin going for more than $2,197.  It’s an epic bull run that has accelerated in recent months: Just a year ago, it was sitting at just $443.

This is great news for bitcoin miners, the people responsible for creating new bitcoins. Their mining infrastructure is the backbone of bitcoin. Anyone who contributes computing power to help process transactions on the network is rewarded with the chance to “mine” bitcoin.

In plain English, in return for helping keep the network up and running, they have the chance of being given a newly created piece of the digital currency. This payout makes the entire process – with the right equipment – incredibly lucrative. It has helped spawned a huge and surreal industry.

This wonderful photo essay appeared on the nordic.businessinsider.com Internet site in the wee hours of Tuesday morning EDT — and it comes courtesy of Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl.  I was going to save it for Saturday, but it’s a slow news day, so here it is now.  Another link to it is here.


A Tale of Two Leaders — Jeff Thomas

Back in the 1970s, when my country was first burgeoning as a financial centre and tourist destination, the government of the day decided to seek a more dynamic director for one of its departments. The department in question had long been an unproductive, paper-shuffling department, led by a series of complacent and unimaginative directors.

A suitably ambitious candidate was found overseas and brought in to lead the small department, which at that time employed only a handful of people. The new director settled into his job and it wasn’t long before it occurred to him that the best way he could push his own career forward was to continually expand the size of the department. That would not only justify numerous salary increases for himself as the department’s head, but would allow him to create his own fiefdom within the civil service.

As the country was expanding its business sector annually, the revenue collectable by the government was also expanding and, within ten years, the department had grown its employee base tenfold. The director had reached a far-higher salary level than when he began and did indeed create a fiefdom, in which he was virtually the king.

This amazing commentary by Jeff appeared on the internationalman.com Internet site most likely on Monday — and it’s a must read.  Another link to it is here.


Greek Deal on Debt Relief Founders as Talks Stretch to June

Euro-area finance ministers gathering in Brussels on Monday failed to break an impasse on debt relief for Greece, delaying the completion of the country’s bailout review and the disbursement of fresh loans needed to repay obligations in July.

After nearly eight hours of talks and multiple draft compromises, Athens and its creditors couldn’t reach an accord that would ease Greece’s debt and that would convince the International Monetary Fund to agree to help finance the country’s bailout.

The Eurogroup held an in-depth discussion on the sustainability of Greece’s public debt but did not reach an overall agreement,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presides over meetings with his euro-area counterparts. Work will continue in the coming weeks with the aim of reaching a conclusion on June 15 at the next meeting of ministers, he said.

The IMF has been seeking more debt relief for the country, pushing euro-area creditors to ensure the sustainability of Greece’s €315 billion ($354 billion) of obligations before it participates in the program. Some nations including Germany object to a debt restructuring while also insisting that the Washington-based fund join the program to lend credibility to the bailout.

This Bloomberg article showed up on their Internet site at 3:35 p.m. Denver time on Monday afternoon — and was updated about twenty-one hours later.  I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention — and another link to it is here.


Greek Authorities to Launch Mass Confiscation of Safe Deposit Boxes, Securities, Homes in Tax-Evasion Crackdown

Last week, the Greek parliament once again approved more austerity to unlock withheld Greek bailout funds in Brussels: a symbolic move, which has little impact without any actual follow through, like for example, actually imposing austerity. And while Greeks have been very good in the former (i.e. promises), they have been severely lacking in the latter (i.e. delivery).

That may be changing. According to Kathimerini, Greek Finance Ministry inspectors are about to start seeking out the owners of all local undeclared properties, while the law will be amended to allow for financial products and the content of safe deposit boxes to be confiscated electronically. The plan for the identification of taxpayers who have “forgotten” to declare their properties to the tax authorities is expected to be ready by year-end, according to the timetable of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue.

What follows then will be a wholesale confiscation by the government of any asset whose source, origins and funding can not be explained.

I doubt very much that this new law will apply to all Greek taxpayers, but the Zero Hedge headline certainly insinuates that it does.  The government is obviously getting very serious about tax evasion — and this is just another one of those unpleasant things that tax scofflaws have to contend with.  I thank Larry Galearis for sending this ZH article, which was posted on their website at 8:43 a.m. EDT on Monday — and another link to it is here.


Ron Paul Warns Iran Is in the Cross hairs: “Neocons Are Still Writing the Script

Iran has been in neocon crosshairs for a very long time. U.S. Presidential Administrations come and go, Democrat and Republican, but the neocon script has remained the same.

President Trump, voted in as an “outsider,” has adopted the insider script.

Today’s speech in Saudi Arabia was crafted by Trump’s neocon Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller.

Miller’s “long-time mentor” is David Horowitz. Here are Horowitz’s thoughts on Bush’s invasion of Iraq:

Baghdad is liberated,” he wrote for his FrontPage Magazine in April 2003. “In the days to come let us not forget that if it were not for one man, and one man alone—George Bush—the people of Iraq would not be celebrating in the streets and pulling down Saddam’s statues today.

    … We have entered the era of a new civil war between the forces of freedom and the powers of Islamo-fascist and communist darkness, and once again the left is clearly determined to take its stand on the other side. The good news is that America is back. Our military has performed superlatively. Our leadership has stood tall. We ourselves can celebrate over this and look confidently toward what lies ahead.”

This commentary from The Ron Paul Liberty Report put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge Internet site at 1:53 p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon — and it’s another offering from Roy Stephens — and another link to it is here.


Trump goes on Iran-bashing tour

U.S. President Donald Trump, arriving in Israel on May 22 right after a stop in Saudi Arabia, found another ally eager to praise him for his tough stance on Iran — and encourage him to get even tougher.

I want you to know how much we appreciate the change in American policy on Iran, which you enunciated so clearly,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in joint remarks with Trump at their third meeting of the day.

At an earlier meeting with the Israeli leader at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, Trump had lambasted the nuclear deal negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama in remarks that Netanyahu could almost have drafted himself. He called the 2015 agreement a “terrible, terrible thing” and promised that Iran will never obtain a nuclear weapon, “that I can tell you.

Iran negotiated a fantastic deal with the previous administration. … It is unbelievable from my standpoint,” Trump said, according to the White House press pool.

Without the nuclear deal, he said, “I think [Iran] would have totally failed within six months.”

Wow!  The warmongering is incredible…but who is going to stop The Empire without using nuclear weapons — and end all life on earth in the process.  The news story was posted on the al-monitor.com Internet site on Monday sometime — and it’s the third contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.  Another link to it is here.


Enron 2.0? Asia’s Largest Commodity Trader Halted After Crashing to 16 Year Lows on S&P Downgrade

Once Asia’s largest commodity trader, Noble Group has been halted after crashing almost 30{f02ffe5e8b39fd7974c2720d01ccf381ddc9ebb4164215842085b3c57e4f642e} this morning following S&P lowering its corporate credit risk rating to CCC+, citing continuing weak cash flows and profitability…

We downgraded Noble because we believe the company’s capital structure is not sustainable,”

The negative outlook on Noble reflects the potential that the company will face distress and a non-payment of its debt obligations over the next 12 months,”

This is the lowest prices for the Singapore-based firm since 2001…

This has been coming for a while, as we warned a year ago… “Noble’s “Margin Call” Part II – The Enron Moment

These guys are toast.  This longish Zero Hedge piece showed up on their website at 10:04 p.m. on Monday evening EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along.  Another link to it is here.


Yuan Tumbles as Moody’s Downgrades China to A1, Warns on Worsening Debt Outlook

Offshore Yuan tumbled as Moody’s cut China’s credit rating to A1 from Aa3, saying that the outlook for the country’s financial strength will worsen, with debt rising and economic growth slowing. This leaves the world’s hoped-for reflation engine rated below Estonia, Qatar, and South Korea and on par with Slovakia and Japan.

While ongoing progress on reforms is likely to transform the economy and financial system over time, it is not likely to prevent a further material rise in economy-wide debt, and the consequent increase in contingent liabilities for the government,” the ratings company said in a statement Wednesday.

Moody’s expects that economy-wide leverage will increase further over the coming years. The planned reform program is likely to slow, but not prevent, the rise in leverage. The importance the authorities attach to maintaining robust growth will result in sustained policy stimulus, given the growing structural impediments to achieving current growth targets. Such stimulus will contribute to rising debt across the economy as a whole.

This longish story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 8:32 p.m. EDT yesterday evening — and another link to it is here.


This is Probably Just the Beginning” — Chinese Banks Are in Big Trouble

This isn’t supposed to happen…

With the crackdown on financial system leverage underway, Chinese banks (and securities firms) are in big trouble. As we noted previously, China’s bond curve is inverted, yields are surging, and Chinese regulatory decisions shutting down various shadow-banking pipelines has crushed securities firms’ stocks. However, as Bloomberg points out, as China’s deleveraging efforts cut into banks’ profit margins, rising base funding costs and interbank credit risk concerns have pushed banks’ cost of borrowing beyond the rate they charge customers for loans for the first time in history.

As the chart above shows, the one-year Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate has exceeded the Loan Prime Rate, the first time this has happened since the latter was introduced in 2013.

This is probably just the beginning” and interbank funding costs will rise further amid the drive to reduce leverage, said Xu Hanfei, chief fixed-income analyst at China Merchants Securities Co. in Shanghai.

This tiny 1-chart Zero Hedge news story was posted on their Internet site at 7:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening — and another link to it is here.


Central bankers wanted gold suppressed to keep oil flowing — Ronan Manly

Western central banks conspired about controlling the gold price in the early 1980s because they realized that gold was an indicator of inflation and its rise helped push commodity prices up, according to the second set of archival documents published today by gold researcher Ronan Manly.

But, the documents show, the central bankers also sought to facilitate the flow of low-priced gold to oil-producing countries in exchange for their continuing to supply oil to the West at low prices.

The latter objective, according to one central banker, was to “enable OPEC to acquire some modicum of the chief inflation-proof asset without an excessive rise in the price” and thereby “to prevent gold making its own particular contribution to inflation while the developed world was attempting to bring inflation down and so reduce gold’s own peculiar attraction.

Manly reports that the deputy governor of the Bank of England was skeptical of trying to duplicate the effort of the London Gold Pool of the 1960s and instead believed that the U.S. government should raise official convertibility of the dollar to $700 per ounce. Manly explains: “This was based on a calculation of U.S. overseas dollar liabilities tallied in a separate document. A similar calculation today would put the U.S. dollar gold price in the many thousands.”

Manly also cites evidence, already called to your attention by GATA, that the Bank for International Settlements was actually running a second gold pool again by 1983 precisely for the purpose of appeasing OPEC — just what the famous “Another” postings at USAGold.com in 1997 and 1998 maintained…

This very, very long commentary by Ronan, which he headlined “New Gold Pool at the BIS Basel: Part 2 — Pool vs. Gold for Oil” was posted on the bullionstar.com Internet site yesterday — and is linked in this GATA dispatch.  Chris Powell’s introduction is definitely worth reading as well — and another link to it is here.  But the first person through the door with this story on Tuesday morning was Patricia Caulfield, for which I thank her.


China’s SGE revises gold withdrawals lower — Lawrie Williams

We had previously noted some anomalies in the reported figures for China’s gold withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) and are pleased to note that a recheck has shown that the monthly and cumulative figures as announced by the SGE now tally.  Earlier the announced cumulative total appeared to have been substantially adrift from that suggested by the month-by-month reported figures.

The principal change is a sharp downwards revision of the gold withdrawal figures for February – a month where figures tend to be somewhat anomalous anyway because of the Chinese New Year holiday.  February figures have been revised downwards sharply from 179.24 tonnes to 148.24 tonnes, while the initially reported April figure of 171.17 tonnes has been adjusted downwards to 165.78 tonnes.  This brings the cumulative total for the year to date to 690.68 tonnes –only marginally higher than at the same time a year ago, and well down on the record 2015 figure.

The previous cumulative total had been substantially in excess of the revised figure which led us to speculate that demand could be higher than the stated monthly totals would have suggested, but in the event it appears that couple of the monthly totals – notably February – had been strongly overstated and we are now having to revise our own forecasts downwards.  Given that the year to date cumulative figure is close to that recorded at the same time last year we would tentatively suggest that the overall figure for the year may well be similar to that for 2016 at less than 2,000 tonnes.  Still substantial, but well below the 2015 annual total which was an all-time high close to 2,600 tonnes.

This commentary by Lawrie, which is certainly worth reading, appeared on the Sharps Pixley website yesterday — and another link to it is here.


The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES

After striking out with the black-crowned night herons and photographing that blackbird in yesterday’s column, I headed back to my usual spot and took these two photos of a magpie at almost point-blank range, where the resolving power of the lens is never an issue.  The sun was just at the right angle, the bird was side on — and of the 13 photos of I took of this thing, only two had the necessary eye glint which is imperative when your photographing birds with a black head.  Most people give magpies a bad rap, but when in breeding colours, they have a beauty all their own, as the iridescence in this male’s feathers show.  Click to enlarge.


The WRAP

It was another ‘nothing’ sort of day, but it was obvious that JPMorgan et al weren’t going to allow the precious metals to rally, even though it was obvious that they were attempting to do just that.

The gold price is being forced to dance around either side of its 50 and 200-day moving averages at the moment, which are only dimes apart right now — and I have a hard time figuring out what the Managed Money traders would be doing at times like this.  Would they be buyers, or sellers, or just sitting on their hands?  In silver, it’s a bit easier, as ‘da boyz’ have been careful not to allow silver to penetrate either of these important moving averages…with yesterday being another case-in-point.

However, net volumes were immense in both silver and gold again yesterday — and it’s hard to conjure up a scenario in my mind why this would be the case.  Anyway, whatever happened after the COMEX close, won’t be in Friday’s COT Report.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals and, once again, a lot of price activity that mattered occurred after the 1:30 p.m. EDT close of COMEX trading…particularly in gold and platinum…and the lows for those two precious metals don’t show up on their respective dojis on the charts below.  The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature helps a bit with the first four.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I see that gold price wasn’t allowed to do much of anything during morning trading in the Far East on their Wednesday.  But shortly before 2 p.m. in Shanghai, the price hit a bit of an air pocket — and is down $1.40 at the moment.  Silver rallied a few pennies in the first few hours of trading after it began in New York at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening.  But from there, it’s been sold lower in fits and starts until the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai.  It has rallied a few pennies since — and is currently down 10 cents the ounce.  Platinum was sold lower in early Far East trading — and hit its current low shortly after the morning gold fix in Shanghai — and is down 4 bucks.  It was almost the same price pattern for palladium, but it’s only down 2 dollars as the Zurich open approaches.

Net HFT gold volume is getting up there at about 36,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume out of June is fairly decent.  Net HFT silver volume is already pretty chunky at just under 13,000 contracts, with decent roll-over/switch volume out of July.

The dollar index has been meandering quietly higher all through Far East trading — and is up 7 whole basis points as London opens.

Today, at 2 p.m. EDT, we get the latest Fed minutes, so I expect a ‘reaction’ from the precious metals at that time, especially gold and silver…so I’ll be looking out for that.

As I mentioned just above, the cut-off for this Friday’s COT Report was at the close of COMEX trading yesterday — and I’m not prepared to stick my neck out this week, after having it chopped off last week.  I’m sure that Ted will have something to say about it in his mid-week commentary this afternoon — and I’ll most likely share his thoughts with you in my Friday missive.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I note that the gold price made it back to almost unchanged by shortly after the London open — and hasn’t done much since.  At the moment, gold is down a 60 cents the ounce.  It was the same price pattern in silver — and it’s down 7 cents currently.  Platinum and palladium aren’t doing much either from a price perspective either, with the former down 4 dollars — and the latter down 3.

Net HFT gold volume is approaching 42,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume continues to rise.  Net HFT silver volume is sitting at 15,000 contracts, which is pretty chunky for this time of day.

The dollar index isn’t doing much, either — and is up 7 basis points, which is where it was when London and Zurich opened an hour ago.

As I said in yesterday’s column at this point, with the June delivery month approaching, along with options and futures expiry over the next five trading days, I’m not prepared to hazard a guess regarding precious metal price activity between now and the end of May.

That’s it for another day — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.

Ed