Precious Metal Prices Still in ‘Care and Maintenance’ Mode

11 September 2018 — Tuesday


The gold price was down about four bucks by minutes before 2 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon — and it chopped weakly higher from the until the 10:30 a.m. BST morning gold fix in London.  It was then sold down to its low tick of the day, which came, at or minutes before the COMEX open.  The subsequent rally was mostly capped by around 9:10 a.m. EDT — and it was sold quietly, but evenly lower until the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close.  It rallied about three dollars in short order after that, before trading quietly sideways until the market closed at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

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

Gold was closed in New York on Monday at $1,195.40 spot, down 80 cents on the day.  Net volume was pretty light at just under 197,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume was just over 10,700 contracts.

The silver price was also sold unevenly lower until a few minute before 2 p.m. CST — and then it began to head sharply higher.  It was capped around 9 a.m. in London — and the high tick of the day came at, or minutes after, the morning gold fix in London.  It was sold unsteadily lower from there into the COMEX close and, like gold, bounced up a bit shortly after that — and from there didn’t do a thing for the remainder of the Monday trading session.

The low and high ticks in this precious metal were reported as $14.11 and $14.285 in the December contract.

Silver was closed on Monday at $14.16 spot, down half a cent from Friday.  Net volume was nothing special at around 49,100 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal was 3,790 contracts.

The platinum price was down about three bucks by around 1:45 p.m. CST on their Monday afternoon — and then got punched down to its low tick of the day a minute or so before 2 p.m. over there.  Then, like silver and gold, it headed higher until the 10:30 a.m. morning gold fix in London — and then traded flat until the COMEX open.  The price really sailed at that point but, ran into very willing sellers around 9 a.m. in New York.  Thirty minutes later ‘da boyz’ had it heading lower — and the New York low was set about an hour after the COMEX close.  It didn’t do anything after that.  Platinum was closed yesterday at $785 spot, up 5 bucks on the day…but 13 dollars off its high tick…which would have been eye-wateringly higher if it had been allowed to trade freely.

The palladium price ticked unevenly lower until minutes before the Zurich open — and that proved to be its low of the day.  From that point it chopped unsteadily higher until shortly after the afternoon gold fix in London.  Then, like on Friday at that time, some kind soul came along and hit the price shortly before noon in New York.  That sell-off lasted until shortly after 3 p.m. EDT in the thinly-traded after-hours market.  It rallied a small handful of dollars immediately after that, before trading sideways for the remainder of the Monday session.  Palladium was closed on Monday at $975 spot, down a dollar from Friday — and 14 dollars off its high tick of the day.

The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 95.34  — and began to crawl quietly lower once trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening.  That lasted until a few minutes before 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Monday morning — and it began to head higher from there.  That tiny rally hit its zenith very shortly after 12 o’clock noon in Shanghai — and except for an hour long up/down move between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. CST, continued lower until at, or minutes before, the 10:30 a.m. morning gold fix in London.  From that juncture it crept a bit higher until shortly before the COMEX open — and then down it went.  The usual ‘gentle hands’ appeared — and saved it from blasting below the 95.00 mark a minute or so after 9 a.m. in New York.  The 95.02 print at that point was its low of the day.  It inched higher from that juncture until around 3:30 p.m. EDT — and from there it inched equally quietly lower into the close.  The dollar index finished the Monday session at 95.14…down 20 basis points.

It was obvious once again that the dollar index would have crashed and burned if those ‘gentle hands’ hadn’t show up in New York yesterday morning.

Here’s the 1-day dollar index chart so you can see more detail…

And here’s the 3-day chart so you can see all of Monday’s action, right from the 6:00 p.m. open in New York on Sunday evening, which was Monday morning in the Far East already…7 a.m. in Tokyo…6 a.m. in Shanghai.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index — and as I keep saying, not much should be read into it.

The gold shares opened about unchanged — and chopped sideways until around 10:30 a.m. in New York trading.  That was it for the day, as they headed lower from there, as the HUI closed down 1.64 percent.

The silver equities traded in a similar fashion, except they hung in there for another two hours after the gold stocks began to head lower.  Nick Lairds’ Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down 1.30 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.


And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index.  Click to enlarge as well.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 11 gold and 24 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  In gold, the sole short/issuer was Advantage — and there were four long/stoppers in total, with the largest being JPMorgan with 6 for its client account.  In silver, the sole short/issuer was Advantage as well.  There were five long/stoppers in total, with the largest being JPMorgan with 14 contracts in total…10 for their house account, plus another 4 for their client account.  In second spot was HSBC USA with 7 for its own account.  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 September fell by 17 contracts, leaving just 28 left, minus the 11 mentioned just above.  Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 28 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today so, for the second reporting day running, more gold is shown withdrawn than there is open interest.  I was hoping they would have that fixed on Monday, but obviously not.  Silver o.i. in September declined by 347 contracts, leaving 452 still around, minus the 24 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 347 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so the deliveries and change in open interest match for a change, which is surprising on such a large number.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday, but for the second business day in a row, there was another deposit in SLV.  This time an authorized participant, most likely JPMorgan, added 940,054 troy ounces.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 1,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — and that was it.

It was all zeros in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Friday.

There was no silver reported received — and only 75,478 troy ounces were shipped out…60,404 from CNT — and the remaining 15,073 troy ounces came out of the International Depository Services of Delaware.  There was also a big transfer from the Eligible category and into Registered…1,576,009 troy ounces…and that occurred over at CNT as well — and is obviously delivery related.  The link to this is here.

There was decent activity over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Friday.  They didn’t receive any, but shipped out 4,132 of them.  This activity was at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

Here are the usual two charts that Nick passes around on the weekend.  They show the amount of gold and silver in all know repositories, mutual funds and ETFs as of the close of trading on Friday, September 7.  Gold withdrawals and deposits netted out at unchanged on the week.  But more silver continues to be added to these funds and, except for Ted, not a peep out of the other so-called precious metal ‘analysts’ out there.  Click to enlarge for both.

I have a very decent number of stories for you today.


The Global Financial System is Unraveling, and No, the U.S. is Not Immune — Charles Hugh Smith

The “recovery”/Bull Market is in its 10th year, and yet central banks are still tiptoeing around as if the tiniest misstep will cause the whole shebang to shatter: what are they so afraid of?

The cognitive dissonance/crazy-making is off the charts:

On the one hand, central banks are still pursuing unprecedented stimulus via historically low interest rates, liquidity and easing the creation of credit on a vast scale. Some central banks continue to buy assets such as stocks and bonds to directly prop up the “market.” (If assets don’t actually trade freely, is it even a market?)

On the other hand, we’re being told the global economy is in synchronized growth and this is the greatest economy ever.

Wait a minute: so the patient has been on life-support for 10 years and authorities are telling us the patient is now super-healthy? If the patient is so healthy, then why is he still on life support after 10 years of “recovery”?

If the global economy is truly healthy, then central banks should end all their stimulus programs and let the market discover the price of credit, risk and assets.

Charles had a similar article on his website last week, but the folks over at the have edited it to give it more clarity — and it’s a must read, even if you’ve read it before.  It was posted on their Internet site on Sunday sometime — and another link to it is here.

James Grant Responds to the Bernanke-Paulson-Geithner Op-Ed

Over the weekend, Global Financial Crisis-era policymakers Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and Henry Paulson brought the band back together to pen a New York Times opinion piece. After sharing their self-exonerating analysis of the events of 2007-2009 and subsequent response (which one of the three did the fact checking?), Bernanke et al. argue for greater regulatory powers, or as they put it, “adequate firefighting tools,” to resolve future financial crises.

Blanket guarantees of bank debt by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Fed’s emergency lending capabilities and the Treasury department’s guarantee of money market funds are among the mechanisms cited by the authors as necessary for crisis prevention and mitigation.

The trio write:

“We need to make sure that future generations of financial firefighters have the emergency powers they need to prevent the next fire from becoming a conflagration. We must also resist calls to eliminate safeguards as the memory of the crisis fades.  For those working to keep our financial system resilient, the enemy is forgetting.”

Alternatively, the monetary mandarins could take a cue from Peter Fisher, former executive vice-president at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and senior fellow at the Tuck School of Business. Speaking on policy normalization at the Grant’s spring conference on March 15, 2017, Fisher offered a commanding critique of the crisis-era response led by the authors of this weekend’s Times piece. Written 18 months ago, the below passage could serve as a direct rebuttal to the authors, particularly former Fed chair Bernanke:

“Curiously, the Fed has acknowledged no failures. All the experiments have been successful, every one: no failures, no negative side effects, no perverse consequences, only diminishing returns.

What has been most extraordinary about extraordinary monetary policy is the awkward denial of uncertainty in defense of extraordinary actions. Wanting so badly to manipulate our expectations, the central bankers did not want to leave us any room for doubt… The Fed and other central banks appear to have avoided being candid about the uncertainty in order to maintain their credibility. But this is backwards. They cannot regain their credibility unless they are candid about the uncertainty and how they confront it.

The full text from Fisher’s remarks is available here.  Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and Hank Paulson, please copy. Come to think of it, please read.

This short article was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 7:53 p.m. EDT on Monday evening — and there are several embedded links which you can only access by  going to the story itself.  That story is linked here as well.

Fed Should Buy Stocks in the Next Recession: Former IMF Chief Economist

Our economy’s journey to becoming Japan will take one giant step forward if former IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard has his way. His “outside the box” solution for our next recession? The Fed should buy stocks, finance the federal deficit and buy goods. He detailed this thought provoking idea at the Boston Fed’s monetary policy conference that took place this past weekend.

This thinking comes as a result of a “general sense [that] the Fed has to re-think its approach to combating recessions,” according to a new MarketWatch article.

Why must it re-think its approach? Because the Fed itself has eliminated most of its tools used to fight recessions by keeping the United States in a lower interest rate environment for too long, instead of raising rates as the market roared. Now we have a stock market at all time highs and record debt levels yet again – but this time with a Federal Reserve that has far fewer options to combat the next recession than it ever has had in the past and with a neutral rate of interest that is lower than it has ever been in the past.

Fascinatingly enough, economists are only now starting to realize that this lack of firepower could be a detriment to the Federal Reserve in the future. Blanchard stated over the weekend that the Fed could probably handle a small recession, but a more major recession, like the one we experienced in 2008, should prompt the Fed to resort to “previously unheard of policies”.

This story put in an appearance on their website at 10:38 a.m. Monday morning EDT — and I borrowed the above paragraphs of introduction from the Zero Hedge website, but the story was something I found in a GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is here.

Danske Scandal is Watershed Moment as Europe Wakes Up to Risks

Europe can’t allow itself another money laundering scandal like the one engulfing Denmark’s biggest bank, according to a growing list of regulators, legislators and even bankers now demanding better region-wide controls against such crime.

Rasmus Jarlov, the minister in charge of financial legislation in Denmark, says the example of Danske Bank A/S is one from which Europe needs to learn. The lender is now the target of criminal investigations in Denmark and Estonia amid allegations that as much as $9 billion, mostly from Russia, was laundered through its Estonian unit between 2007 and 2015.

Jarlov says it’s “absolutely” clear that there are “lessons that can be drawn from as significant a case as this one.” He also says he’s sure that there will be an exchange of information from the Danske case within the European Union, with the idea being to “ensure that we do all we can in Europe to prevent another” such case.

The minister, who has been looking into the allegations against Danske together with Estonian authorities, says it’s now clear the amounts of money in question are “enormous.” He also says that “a lot suggests that things have happened that are illegal,” as investigators sift through the evidence.

Europe has seemed unprepared for the stunning revelations of large-scale money laundering apparently committed under its watch. Danske is just the latest bank found to have had inadequate procedures in place to prevent laundering, with the list including Deutsche Bank AG and ING Groep NV.

This Bloomberg new item appeared on their website at 2:00 a.m. Denver time on Sunday morning — and was updated about twenty-five hours later.  I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for sending it our way — and another link to it is here.

Bolton Warns Next Chemical Attack by Assad Will Lead to Much Stronger Strike on Syria

Update: Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton indicated during a speech on Monday that the United States, Britain, and France have agreed that another use of chemical weapons by Syria would be taken “very seriously” and will require a much “stronger” and harsher response.

Bolton’s warning of a “third chemical attack” today comes on the heels of a Sunday Wall Street Journal story citing unnamed U.S. officials who claim to have intelligence showing Assad “approved the use of chlorine gas in an offensive against the country’s last major rebel stronghold.”

It appears the Trump White House is now signalling that an American attack on Syrian government forces and locations is all but inevitable.

But this time the stakes are higher as Russia has built up an unprecedented number of warships in the Mediterranean Sea along the Syrian coast in response to prior reports that the U.S., France, and Great Britain could be preparing an attack.

This rather alarming, but not surprising news story put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 2:10 p.m. EDT on Monday afternoon — and I thank Brad Robertson for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.  In a parallel story is this article by Pat Buchanan headlined “Is Trump Going Neocon in Syria?” — and I thank Philip Manuel for that one.

Staged Gas Attacks and U.S. Shortcomings: U.S. Senator Tells Sputnik About His Syria Trip

U.S. Senator Richard Black in an exclusive interview with Sputnik, revealed how the Syrian people see their president, what went wrong with the U.S. policy in the Mideast and also expressed his admiration for the state of human rights in the country, as “Syria has the greatest women’s rights and the greatest religious freedoms of any Arab country.”

Black, a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate, has recently returned from Syria, where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and discussed recent developments in the country.

Sputnik: You recently met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. What was your general opinion of the man and how accurately is he represented in Western media?

Richard Black: This is the second time that I’ve met with President Assad. We had a 45-minute schedule and we ended up talking for three hours. The last time he was optimistic, he was determined. This time there was almost a spring in his step. He was quite joyous and happy.

I think, like all Syrians, he realizes that unless the West gets involved in a very malign fashion, the War will end rather soon. I think all Syrians are ready for that, but he seemed very upbeat and very happy.

You asked about how he is portrayed in the media. People in Syria know that he is a very humble individual. There is almost a touch of shyness about him. Incredibly intelligent and very devoted to his people.

This very worthwhile interview showed up on the Internet site at 10:40 a.m. Moscow time on their Monday afternoon, which was 3:40 a.m. in Washington — EDT plus 7 hours.  Another link to it is here.

What to do about 10,000 al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Idlib?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed last week to get his Russian and Iranian counterparts to support his desperate bid for a cease-fire in Idlib, the stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, as well as other radical Salafi and armed gangs based in the northwestern Syrian province.

The U.N. estimates that there are nearly 3 million civilians in Idlib, about half of them displaced from other parts of Syria, and that 900,000 civilians will be affected by a government assault. U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday, “The Security Council cannot accept that the civilians of Idlib must face this type of fate. Efforts to combat terrorism do not supersede obligations under international law in the moral conscience of humanity. We must put the sanctity of human civilian life above everything else.”

If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry,” U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday. “And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

Turkey, which already hosts some 3.5 million Syrian refugees, seeks to avoid another massive inflow of Syrians displaced by conflict, but has been unable to convince non-terrorist armed groups to withdraw and distance themselves from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

On paper, the leaders reiterated pledges to seek a negotiated solution to Syria’s seven-year conflict, to preserve the country’s territorial unity, to eliminate al-Qaeda-linked terrorists and to assure the safe return of millions of displaced Syrians,” reports Amberin Zaman. “But a regime attack on Idlib will likely move ahead despite Turkey’s appeals for more time to use carrot-and-stick diplomacy with the jihadis.”

That Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is digging in, rather than getting out, should come as no surprise. The U.N.-designated terrorist group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, which controls about 60% of Idlib province, is unlikely to throw in the towel even while the international community seems to be throwing it a lifeline.

This commentary put in an appearance on the Internet site on Sunday sometime — and it comes to us courtesy of Roy Stephens.  Another link to it is here.

Armageddon in Idlib

A showdown between the U.S. and Russia is coming over Syria. Our sources inside Syria tell us that Russia began building up capabilities to support the Syrian Arab Army’s retaking of Idlib Province as early as June 2018. Included with new T90 tanks and advanced missile-based artillery are new air defense capabilities as well, along with ECM or electronic counter measures capabilities.

Russia is arming the Syrian Arab Army to fight not just al Qaeda and ISIS, the primary occupiers of Idlib, but the U.S., Britain and France as well.

The real war is between Russia and the U.S. America has no real ability to defend Idlib other than through the use of advisors, generally private military contractors, and supplying high technology armaments directly to organizations officially deemed terrorist by the U.S. government.

The “dark horse” here, of course, is Turkey. Her military has jointly occupied much of Idlib with the nearly extinct Free Syrian Army, in its latest guise Turkish Army reservists in civilian dress.

This has been a problem with Turkey for some time, one that nearly destroyed Pakistan some years ago. I had a chance to go over this with Imran Khan one evening. We discussed the situation Pakistan faces, continual pressure from the U.S. to fight terrorism while America itself is the one actually fostering the terrorism.

This very worthwhile commentary showed up on the Internet site last week — and I thank Larry Galearis for pointing it out.  Another link to it is here.

Trump to evict Palestinian mission in Washington

The Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington faces imminent closure by the Trump administration, a top Palestinian official said Monday.

We have been notified by a U.S. official of their decision to close the Palestinian Mission to the U.S.,” said chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

This dangerous escalation shows that the U.S. is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region,” he said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal hours earlier published excerpts from the draft announcement to be made by Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton.

The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” Bolton is expected to say Monday.

Bolton is also expected to threaten U.S. sanctions against the International Criminal Court if it moves forward with a probe of alleged Israeli war crimes.

This story, filed from Beirut, appeared on the Asia Times website at 7:17 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Monday evening, which was 7:17 a.m. EDT in Washington — EDT plus 12 hours.  I thank Tolling Jennings for sending it along — and another link to it is here.

Financial Times explains why it can’t report gold price rigging

It is time to admit that I once deliberately withheld important information from readers. It was 10 years ago, the financial crisis was at its worst, and I think I did the right thing. But a decade on from the 2008 crisis (our front pages from the period are at, I need to discuss it.

The moment came on September 17, two days after Lehman declared bankruptcy. That Wednesday was — for me — the scariest day of the crisis, when world finance came closest to all-out collapse. But I did not write as much in the Financial Times.

Two critical news items had broken on Tuesday night. First, AIG received an $8.5 billion bailout. It needed it because it had to pay up for credit default swap transactions it had guaranteed. Without those guarantees, bonds sitting on banks’ balance sheets and assumed to be of no risk would instead be deemed worthless. That would instantly render many of the banks holding them technically insolvent. A failure of AIG, many believed, would mean an instantaneous collapse of the European banking system, which held much impaired U.S. credit.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Fund, the largest U.S. independent money market mutual fund, announced a loss on its holdings of Lehman bonds. As a result, its price would fall below $1 per share.

This was terrifying because money market funds, which hold short-term bonds, were treated as guaranteed. No money market fund had ever “broken the buck” (or fallen below a price of $1).

Such a story on the FT‘s front page might have been enough to push the system over the edge. Our readers went unwarned, and the system went without that final prod into panic.

Was this the right call? I think so. All our competitors also shunned any photos of Manhattan bank branches. The right to free speech does not give us right to shout fire in a crowded cinema; there was the risk of a fire, and we might have lit the spark by shouting about it.

This worthwhile story in the Financial Times of London, which actually bears the headline “In a Crisis, Sometimes You Don’t Tell the Whole Story“, was posted on their Internet site on Friday — and is posted in the clear on the Internet site.  Another link to it is here.

Iran gives permission to exchange offices to import gold, currency banknotes

Currency exchange offices have been given permission to import currency into the country and they can import currency in the form of bills,” central bank governor Abdonaser Hemmati said, according to IRNA on September 8.

Currency exchange offices will also be allowed to import gold, the head of the Iranian parliament’s economic committee, Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, said Saturday, ISNA reported.

Imports of both gold and foreign currency by exchange offices were previously forbidden, Pour-Ebrahimi said.

In the past, this issue was forbidden and any kind of import would be considered contraband,” he said.

This brief news story showed up on the Internet site on Saturday sometime — and it’s something I found on the Sharps Pixley website.  Another link to it is here.

Will I Come Back Dead?‘  The Human Costs of South African Gold

After more than two decades of improving mine safety since the end of apartheid, South Africa’s progress has stalled with an increase in gold-mining deaths.

More than 50 people have died in the country’s mines in 2018, roughly the same number as this time last year. While annual death tolls are far lower than the 615 in recorded in 1993 — the last full year of apartheid — 2017 witnessed the first rise in 10 years.

Most of the gold mining fatalities are due to workers being crushed under falling rocks, caused by more frequent tremors as companies dig deeper for the precious metal, in some cases reaching depths of more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). The government is investigating Sibanye Gold Ltd.’s operations, where over half the gold mining deaths occurred this year.

When you wake up in the morning you think, will I come back dead or alive?” said Sivelly Mangola, a 40-year-old rock drill operator at Sibanye’s Driefontein mine who was once trapped for 30 minutes by a rockfall. “It’s traumatizing.”

Chris Powell’s headline to this story is far more accurate, it read…”When will Bloomberg do a story about the human costs of gold price suppression?“.  It was posted on their Internet site at 4:01 p.m. Denver time on Sunday afternoon — and was subsequently updated about twenty-seven hours later.  I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch yesterday — and another link to it is here.

Hundreds of Roman gold coins found in basement of old theater in Northern Italy

Archaeologists are studying a valuable trove of old Roman coins found on the site of a former theater in northern Italy.

The coins, at least 300 of them, date back to the late Roman imperial era and were found in a soapstone jar unearthed in the basement of the Cressoni Theater in Como, north of Milan.

We do not yet know in detail the historical and cultural significance of the find,” said Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli in a press release. “But that area is proving to be a real treasure for our archeology. A discovery that fills me with pride.”

Whoever placed the jar in that place “buried it in such a way that in case of danger they could go and retrieve it,” said Maria Grazia Facchinetti, a numismatist — or expert in rare coins — at a Monday press conference.

They were stacked in rolls similar to those seen in the bank today,” she said, adding the coins have engravings about emperors Honorius, Valentinian III, Leon I, Antonio, and Libio Severo “so they don’t go beyond 474 AD.”

All of this makes us think that the owner is not a private subject, rather it could be a public bank or deposit,” Facchinetti added.

Archaeologists also uncovered a golden bar inside the jar.

This very interesting gold-related news item, along with some very worthwhile photos, was posted on the Internet site on Sunday — and the first person through the door with story was David Larsen.  Another link to it is here.

Just gold everywhere’: Australia gold rush heats up after 2 nuggets worth $11mn found 4 days apart

Miners in Western Australia have made what many believe to be two of the biggest gold nugget discoveries in recorded history, just four days apart.

You might go your whole life and you’ll never see anything like it. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” senior geologist Zaf Thanos said, as quoted by ABC Australia.

As a geologist, like I said, you get excited by a pinhead speck. But to see something on this scale is just phenomenal. This sort of bonanza zone is incredibly unique.”

Miners uncovered the amazing specimens in the first week of September at the 45-year-old Beta Hunt, which is operated by Canadian company RNC Minerals, and located near the small town of Kambalda, 630 km east of Perth.

The largest gold nugget was discovered 500 meters below the surface in an area just three meters wide and three meters high. It weighed roughly 90 kg. Rather than wait for heavy machinery to do the lifting, the miner who discovered it, Henry Dole, and two colleagues brought the giant nugget, dubbed the “Mother Lode,” to the surface themselves using a normal trolley.

Everything was covered in dust, and as I watered the dirt down there was just gold everywhere, as far as you could see,” Dole told ABC Australia. “I’ve been an airleg miner for 16 years. Never in my life have I ever seen anything like this. There was chunks of gold in the face, on the ground, truly unique I reckon. I nearly fell over looking at it… we were picking it up for hours.”

RNC Minerals reported a total haul of quartz and gold nuggets in excess of 190 kg, “the largest of which is 95kg with an estimated gold content of 2,440 oz. and a second large specimen stone of 63kg with an estimated gold content of 1,620 oz.”

I received a lot of stories about this discovery yesterday.  The first one was this news item from George Whyte — and another link to it is here.  There are more photos in this story headlined “‘There was just gold everywhere, as far as you could see’: Miners discover 90kg of the precious metal” — and it was on the Internet site.  Plus much different photos in this Financial Post story headlined “Toronto miner unearths boulder that contains 9,000 ounces of gold in Australia, worth about $15M” — and that comes courtesy of George Whyte as well.


Along with the spider photos that I posted in my column last week, another critter that shows up in the very late summer/early autumn around here is this caterpillar.  I saw this one on the trail around the pond as I was photographing that great blue heron sequence that was in my Saturday missive.  Since I only had the 400 mm lens with me, that’s what I was forced to use.  These two photos were taken from a bit under 4 meters/12 feet away — and needless to say, I had to crop them by a bit.  There’s not much depth of field at this range, either.  They’re something under 45 mm/2 inches long.  A search on the Internet says they’re the larva of a Tussock moth, but it doesn’t says which species.  Click to enlarge.



It was another day where it was obvious that precious metals wanted to blast higher, but ‘da boyz’ where there to not only cap all rallies, but sell them lower into the COMEX close as well.  They still have them in ‘care and maintenance’ mode until they’re ready to spring their ‘event‘…whether it be in Washington, or in Syria…or both.  We’ll find out soon enough I would think.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper and WTIC.  There’s not much to see in the precious metals, but I note that WTIC was closed at a slight new low for this move down.  And I also noticed that the silver price hasn’t been allowed to get too far off its current low tick — and if JPMorgan wished it, they could certainly engineer the price to another new low for this move down.  The ‘click to enlarge’ feature only helps with the first four.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away, I note that that gold price was sold lower until shortly before 11 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning. It didn’t do much from there until shortly before 2 p.m. CST on their Tuesday afternoon. It then rallied sharply by a few dollars at that juncture — and is 30 cents the ounce at the moment. In most respects, the price action in silver was similar — and it’s up 3 cents. Platinum chopped mostly sideways in price until about 1:45 p.m. CST — and it edged higher at that point as well — and is up 5 dollars. Palladium mostly followed what happened in gold and silver during Far East trading — and it’s up 4 bucks as Zurich opens.

Net HFT gold volume is a bit under 41,000 contracts — and there’s only 885 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 9,500 contracts — and there’s only 199 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.

The dollar index began to crawl quietly higher the moment that trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Monday evening. That rally got a bit more serious starting a few minutes before 9 a.m. CST on their Tuesday morning — and its current 95.29 high tick was set about forty minutes later. It’s been pretty much all down hill since then, as the dollar index is now down 15 basis points as London opens.

Today, at the close of COMEX trading is the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report — and I may or may not hazard a guess as to what it might show when I post my column on Wednesday.

And as I put today’s efforts up on the website at 4:03 a.m. EDT, I see that all four precious metals are off their current high ticks…such as they are. At the moment ‘da boyz’ have gold back at unchanged — and silver is up 2 cents. Platinum is up by 5 dollars — and palladium by 2.

Gross gold volume is around 51,500 contracts — and net of what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is about 49,500 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 13,200 contracts — and there’s still only 213 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that…up 14 contracts from an hour ago.

The dollar index hit it current 94.88 low tick shortly after London opened — and is off it by a handful of basis points — and is currently down 20. That decline is obviously not being allowed to manifest itself in precious metal prices.

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