25 September 2018 — Tuesday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price was edged quietly lower once trading began in New York at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening. It was sold down to its low of the day at, or just after, the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai on their Monday afternoon. It crept quietly higher until it touched the $1,200 spot mark at the COMEX open — and was sold down a few dollars from there until precisely 9 a.m. EDT. The dollar index fell out of bed at that point, but the gold price rally that developed at that point was brutally capped at the 9:30 a.m. open of the equity markets in New York. From that juncture, the price didn’t do much until minutes before the London close — and from there it was sold quietly lower — and JPMorgan et al had the price back below the $1,200 spot mark by the COMEX close.
The low and high ticks definitely aren’t worth looking up.
Gold was closed in New York on Monday at $1,198.80 spot, up one thin dime. Net volume was pretty quiet at a hair under 194,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume was a bit under 13,500 contracts on top of that.
The price action in silver was similar to gold’s, but more ‘volatile’ — and it should be noted that silver’s rally on the waterfall decline in the dollar index in New York on Monday morning, was totally M.I.A. Silver was allowed to creep higher until 10:45 a.m. in New York, but was then sold lower right into the close of trading at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
The low and high ticks in this precious metal were reported by the CME Group as $14.22 and $14.42 in the December contract.
Silver was closed on Monday at $14.225 spot, down 2.5 cents on the day. Net volume was very decent at 64,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal was 1,463 contracts.
The platinum price ride on Monday was very much similar to silver’s, so I shan’t bother with the gory details. Its price rally in Zurich trading was capped at the COMEX open — and it was sold lower as well starting at, or just before the 11 a.m. EDT Zurich close. Platinum finished the Monday session down a dollar on the day at $825 spot.
Palladium was sold down to its $1,040 spot low tick by shortly before 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Monday morning — and from that point, it didn’t do much of anything until Zurich opened at 9:00 a.m. CEST…Central European Summer Time. It began to head sharply higher at that juncture, but was obviously capped around 11:40 a.m. in Zurich. From there it was sold quietly lower until shortly after the afternoon gold fix in London — and then chopped equally quietly higher into the COMEX close. It was sold down a couple of bucks in the thinly-traded after-hours market — and finished the day at $1,055 spot, up 7 dollars from Friday.
The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 94.20 — and then didn’t do much of anything once trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening. That lasted until around 8:15 a.m. China Standard Time on their Monday morning — and from that point, took two steps up to its 94.37 high tick of the day, which came shortly after the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. A few minutes later it was heading lower, but did edge a bit higher between the COMEX open and minutes before 9 a.m. in New York. The bottom fell out at that juncture — and those ‘gentle hands’ showed up around 9:15 p.m. — and the 93.84 low was painted a few minutes after 9:30 a.m. EDT. It ‘rallied’ from there until about 4 p.m. in New York — and then traded sideways into the close from there. The dollar index was closed on Monday at 94.25 — up 5 basis points from Friday.
Yet another day where the dollar index would have crashed and burned…except for the presence of the usual ‘gentle hands’.
Here’s the intraday chart for Monday, from noon CST/midnight EDT onwards…
And here’s the 3-day intraday chart so you can see the entire dollar index move from the 6 p.m. open in New York on Sunday evening.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index — and it’s Monday close shows 53 basis point lower than the intraday charts above. I still don’t know why that is.
The gold shares jumped a bit over 2 percent to their highs of the day within the first fifteen minutes of trading on Monday morning in New York. They hung in there until 11:30 a.m. EDT — and then began to slide. That gentle decline lasted for the rest of the day — and the HUI closed up an even 1.00 percent.
It was the same price pattern for the silver equities, except that their rally at the 9:30 a.m. EDT open was far more muted — and once they began to head lower two hours later, they quickly slid into negative territory, but managed to close a hair off their respective low ticks. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed lower by 0.72 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s the 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart courtesy of Nick Laird as well. Click to enlarge.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 64 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday. In silver, of the three short/issuers, the largest was S.G. Americas with 54 — and in distant second spot was Advantage with 8 contracts. All came from their respective client accounts. There were three long/stoppers as well. The two that mattered were JPMorgan and ADM, with 42 and 21 contracts for their respective client accounts. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that gold open interest in September showed no change, with 17 contracts still open — and none out for delivery today. Silver o.i. in September fell by 389 contracts, leaving 572 still around, minus the 64 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph. Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 392 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 392-389=13 more silver contracts were added to the September delivery month.
There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday, but an authorized participant…most likely JPMorgan…added 1,691,820 troy ounces of silver to SLV.
Since June 15, 2018 there has been 22.6 million troy ounces of silver added to SLV — and during the same period of time, there has been 2.6 million troy ounces of gold withdrawn from GLD.
The folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the goings-on in both their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of trading on Friday, September 21 — and this is what they had to report. For the sixth week in a row there was an increase in their gold ETF, as a smallish 7,794 troy ounces was added. Their silver ETF declined for the first time in six weeks, as 48,515 troy ounces was withdrawn.
There was a small sales report from the U.S. Mint on Monday. They sold 1,000 troy ounce of gold eagles — and 75,000 silver eagles.
There was some activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Friday. HSBC USA received 60,958.296 troy ounces/1,896 kilobars [SGE kilobar weight]. Nothing was shipped out. A link to this is here.
There was some activity in silver as well, as 99,903 troy ounces was received — and 383,922 troy ounces shipped out. All of the ‘in’ activity was at HSBC USA. The ‘out’ activity came from three different depositories, with the largest being 200,859 troy ounces out of Canada’s Scotiabank. In second and third spots were Delaware with 147,961 troy ounces — and 35,102 troy ounces departed the International Depository Services of Delaware. There was also a paper transfer of 614,542 troy ounces from the Registered category — and back into Eligible. That occurred at CNT. The link to all this activity is here.
Not much happened over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Friday. They didn’t receive any — and only 151 were shipped out. I won’t bother linking that amount.
Here are three charts that Nick Laird passed around on Sunday. They show Swiss gold imports and exports updated with August’s data — and that showed that they imported 181.7 tonnes — and exported 153.1 tonnes.
Here’s the first chart — and it shows the aforesaid mentioned import and exports amounts, plus the net amount for August. Click to enlarge.
The first of the two charts below show the countries of origin of the gold received — and their amounts. The second shows to which country — and the amounts — that were the recipients of August exports in gold from Switzerland. Click to enlarge for both. Lawrie Williams has a story about all this in the Critical Reads section below, but it’s linked here if you wish to read it now.
I have an average number of stories for you today.
The measure of a great court is how courageous it is – that is, how far its judgments inconvenience the powerful and upset popular opinion. If the court is merely echoing the cronies and the mob, why bother having it?
In the mid-1930s, the august justices considered many of Franklin Roosevelt’s programs to be unconstitutional. In response, Roosevelt proposed to “pack the court.” Whenever a justice hit 70 years of age and failed to retire, the president would simply appoint an additional judge.
The plan never went into effect. The court backed down. And by 1938, the New Deal was no longer unconstitutional… It was the law of the land.
The angels flew along with the wind, not against it.
And since then, we can’t think of a single opinion that has significantly slowed the growth of the Deep State… nor any opinion that has been deeply at odds with public opinion.
Thanks to the cowardice of the Supreme Court, the Deep State grows… and the power of states and individuals decline.
This interesting and worthwhile commentary by Bill showed up on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site very early on Monday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
As a boy, I was quite non-violent, but I confess to having been fascinated with professional wrestling. For one hour, every Saturday morning, I’d watch Yukon Eric, Haystack Calhoun and Killer Kowalski attack each other in the ring in what was called, “professional wrestling.”
Of course, even as a boy, it was evident that it was a sham. Some wrestlers played the role of angry bullies; others were practically cartoon characters. The threats each made to the other before the match, the silly outfits, the absurd holds and body slams – it was clearly phony.
But, as adults, we’ve matured and are no longer so easily taken in.
Today, as responsible adults, we turn off wrestling and watch network news.
Some reporters play the role of angry bullies (Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc.); others are practically cartoon characters (Greg Gutfeld, Rachel Maddow, etc.). And, like wrestling, it’s so compelling – watching liberals and conservatives trying to out-shout each other on the stage. Clearly, this is not objective, sober news-reporting, but it’s most certainly producing the desired effect – to get those who are gullible enough to tune in every night to receive the latest updates on a ceaseless rehash of recent events.
In recent years, the average viewer has begun to admit that this is largely a stage show; that conservative networks present a dramatically-skewed conservative slant, whilst liberal networks present a dramatically-skewed liberal slant. This practice has become so extreme that, if the viewer can force himself to flip back and forth from one station to the other, the same news event actually appears to be two different occurrences, the reporting is so divergent.
This very interesting — and right-on-the-money commentary was posted on the internationalman.com Internet site late on Monday afternoon EDT — and it’s certainly worth reading. Another link to it is here.
Russia will supply Syria with an S-300 surface-to-air missile system within two weeks, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday.
The announcement came after Syria, which now uses the Soviet-era S-200 system, inadvertently shot down a Russian military plane on Sept. 17. All 15 people aboard were killed.
Russia indirectly blamed Israel, which had launched airstrikes against Syria in the area where the plane was operating, for the error.
The downing of the plane forced Moscow to take “adequate retaliatory measures to increase the safety of Russian military fighting international terrorism in Syria,” Shoigu said in a televised address.
Shoigu said the new system will “significantly increase” the Syrian army’s combat capabilities.
This UPI story put in an appearance on their Internet site at 7:59 a.m. on Monday morning EDT — and I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours. Another link to it is here. The rt.com spin on this headlined “Russia to supply S-300 to Syria within 2 weeks after Il-20 downing during Israeli raid – MoD” — and there was also a follow-on story to this on the Zero Hedge website headlined “Bolton Warns Russian Missile Sale To Syria Would Be “Significant Escalation“” — and that comes to us courtesy of Brad Robertson.
Today Defense Minster Shoigu announced measures which went far beyond what I had hoped for. Specifically, Shoigu has announced that Russia will:
- Supply S-300 air defense systems (with a 250km range) to the Syrians in the next two weeks.
- Russia will deliver advanced automated air defense management systems which will *dramatically* increase the Syrian air defense capabilities and prevent future “friendly fire” incidents.
- Russia will use her electronic warfare capabilities to suppress satellite navigation, on-board radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory in the regions over the waters of the Mediterranean Sea bordering with Syria.
This is a very flexible and elegant solution for the following three reasons…
I have to admit that I am surprised by the magnitude and quality of this response. Clearly, the arrogance of the Israelis did not pay off — and this time their usual chutzpah was met with a great deal of Russian anger (albeit carefully controlled anger). For Bibi Netanyahu, the Russian reaction is an absolute disaster because it undermines his entire policy towards Syria (and Lebanon and Iran).
This very worthwhile commentary from the Saker was posted on his Internet site yesterday sometime…obviously — and I thank Larry Galearis for pointing it out. Another link to it is here.
Virginia State Senate and retired U.S. Marine and Army JAG officer Richard H. Black, and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss a dangerous week’s escalation in Syria, and U.S. President Trump’s opportunity to break free of Deep State and neocon influence, and finally put an end to a war seeded by George W. Bush and started by Barack Obama.
Neocon Washington think tanks cannot concede that Syria is a sovereign nation with a right to self determination, insisting instead on advising POTUS Trump to foster a “long game” regime change plan that keeps the “Syrian government” weak and off balance, while bolstering Al Qaeda “moderate rebel” controlled provinces, in cooperation with Turkey.
And American troops in Syria…they are advising Trump to keep them right where they are, illegally occupying Syria.
This longish story, complete with a 40-minute audio interview with with Richard Black, was posted on theduran.com Internet site on Sunday sometime. Another link to it is here.
Hong Kong Money Markets Explode ‘Most Since Lehman‘ as Carry Trade Unwinds
After more than five months of trading at or near the lower band of its currency peg (prompting repeated interventions by the city’s de facto central bank), the Hong Kong Dollar exploded stronger last week, imploding short-HKD carry traders and the carnage is for all to see tonight as HK liquidity markets are in crisis.
As Bloomberg reports, a shock jump in Hong Kong’s currency is signaling a decade-long liquidity party is coming to an end. That may be bad news for the city’s housing market.
The chance of local banks raising the so-called prime rate for the first time since 2006 is “extremely high,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan said.
Interbank rates from overnight to 3-months, have exploded higher as banks scramble for liquidity… overnight rates are now four times as high as they were last week…
This chart-filled article appeared on the Zero Hedge Internet site at 11:58 p.m. EDT on Sunday night — and another link to it is here.
Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp has agreed to buy Randgold Resources Ltd in an all-stock deal valuing the Africa-focused miner at $6.5 billion, to create the world’s largest gold producer in an industry under investor pressure to put capital to good use.
The new Barrick company, which will be listed in New York and Toronto, will own five of the world’s 10 lowest cost gold mines and have market value of $19.4 billion based on Monday trading. That would make it the world’s biggest gold miner by market capitalization, overtaking Newmont Mining Corp, according to Reuters calculations.
The deal marks the biggest transaction in years in the gold mining industry, where companies have come under fire from investors for poorly managing capital, forcing them to focus on costs while dampening enthusiasm for acquisitions.
Randgold closed up 6 percent, making it the biggest gainer in London’s wider mining index and valuing it at £4.93 billion ($6.5 billion). Shares of Barrick, the world’s second largest gold producer, were up 6.3 percent in afternoon trade in Toronto.
As you already know, “poorly managing capital” is not the problem, dear reader. It’s the price management scheme by JPMorgan in the COMEX futures market that’s the real issue here. None of these mergers will make a whit of difference until the root cause is faced head on and dealt with — and the mining fraternity are not interested in going there. This Reuters story, filed from London put in an appearance on their website at 1:02 a.m. EDT on Monday morning — and I found this in a GATA dispatch. Another link to it is here.
Bullion Star gold analyst Ronan Manly today expresses support for GATA’s bid to make a presentation to — and to join the new Shareholders Gold Council, but is disappointed that four council members want to remain anonymous.
Manly asks: “If they haven’t even got the courage to publicly identify themselves, then how committed and motivated are they really to effect change within the gold-mining companies they invest in?”
A very good question, dear reader! Manly’s commentary is headlined “Paulson’s Shareholders Gold Council Finally Launches After Initial Delays“. It was posted on the Singapore-based Internet site bullionstar.com on Sunday — and it’s certainly worth reading. I found it on the gata.org website — and another link to it is here.
Gold has gotten a bad rap.
Long seen as the investment choice of the cranky and the fearful, the metal yields nothing; as Warren Buffett has said, it just “looks at you.”
This year has been especially lackluster for gold. Its price has slumped 8%, to about $1,200 an ounce, and is off more than 35% from its high of $1,900 in 2011. Adding insult to injury, Vanguard will soon rechristen the largest gold-oriented U.S. mutual fund and shift its focus away from the metal.
But this out-of-favor asset class now deserves a place in investment portfolios.
Compared with stocks and other financial assets, gold looks inexpensive. More important, inflation is starting to pick up in the U.S. and in much of the world as central banks shrink their enormous balance sheets. And gold has represented a good defense against inflation eroding the value of a stock or bond portfolio. Over time, it has held its value against the dollar. Gold was $20.67 an ounce 100 years ago and that bought a good men’s suit. At $1,200 an ounce, the same is true today.
“Gold is rare, and it’s hard to rapidly increase the supply of it,” says Keith Trauner, co-portfolio manager of the GoodHaven mutual fund, which holds Barrick Gold, a leading mining company. “People have historically viewed it as a hedge against government depreciation of local currency.”
This longish, but very worthwhile article showed up on the barrons.com Internet site very late last week — and Ted Butler highlighted it in his weekly review on Saturday. It was behind their subscription wall at the time, but it is no longer — and I thank Mark Barooshian for letting me know on Monday. Another link to it is here.
The government is likely to increase import duties on precious stones, certain types of steel and electronics, but will spare gold to prevent smuggling, news agency Reuters reported on Monday quoting a finance ministry official.
News agency Bloomberg reported that jewellers breathed a sigh of relief on the likely decision. Gold futures in Mumbai rose and shares of Titan Co., India’s largest maker of branded jewelry by market value, pared losses.
With reports floating around that the government may tinker with the duties to curb a widening current account deficit and arrest the rupee’s fall in line with similar measures taken in 2013, jewellers feared that any increase in tax would hit demand during the ongoing peak festival and wedding season.
This gold-related news item put in an appearance on the Times of India Internet site at 5:25 p.m. IST on their Monday afternoon…3:25 a.m. in New York — EDT plus 14 hours — and I found it on the Sharps Pixley website. Another link to it is here.
Precious metals were all surging on Friday with a weaker dollar helping them move upwards, but were brought back down to earth again by yet another flash crash. These seem to happen just whenever momentum in the precious metals prices seems to be being regained. We don’t think this is coincidence.
According to the Zero Hedge website some US$1.2 billion worth of notional gold futures hit the market over 1 minute, precipitating a huge fall in the gold price down from comfortably above $1,200 to near $1,190, and the other precious metals followed suit with similar sharp falls. Zero Hedge went on to elaborate that “In the minute ended at 0845 ET, more than 10,000 December gold futures contracts, each representing 100 ounces, changed hands on the Comex in New York. That amounts to approximately $1.2 billion notional of the precious metal. That was about 30 times the 100-day average for that time of day.”
The website, which has a propensity for unearthing news of this type and other financial shenanigans, also quoted Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals trading at BMO Capital Markets in New York, as commenting that “Someone had a lot to sell and wasn’t clever about it”. Somehow we don’t think any trading entity would be so naïve to place such a trade without the realisation that it would have that kind of effect on the market. Perhaps the surprise here is that given the amount and rapidity of the trade gold did not fall further.
Precious metals prices did recover with gold soon trading back above $1,200 again, but the damage had been done. With the dollar regaining a little strength and next week’s Fed meeting, where interest rates are expected to be raised, drawing closer, gold drifted down a little to end the week just below $1,200 yet again – which may have been the whole purpose all along.
Of course it was…that — and to keep the gold price below its current 50-day moving average. This commentary by Lawrie didn’t show up on the Sharps Pixley website until Saturday morning BST, or it would have obviously been in my Saturday column. Here it is now — and better late than never, I suppose. Another link to this worthwhile commentary is here.
Perhaps then biggest surprise was the enormous fall in gold exports to Hong Kong in the August Swiss gold export figures. The Chinese semi-autonomous administrative state imported only 3.4 tonnes of gold from Switzerland in August demonstrating in no uncertain terms that the Territory is being sidelined as an import routing for mainland Chinese gold imports in favour of mainland ports of entry like Beijing and Shanghai. Hong Kong gold imports can definitely no longer be considered a proxy for Chinese gold demand as we have been saying for some time, although global media still gives undue importance to the level of Hong Kong gold imports and to the Territory’s exports to the Chinese mainland.
Mainland China was again the biggest recipient of Swiss gold in August at 45.2 tonnes, closely followed by India with 40 tonnes (see chart from Nick Laird’s www.goldchartsrus.com website below.), suggesting that gold demand in the two biggest gold consumers is holding up reasonably well, but perhaps the biggest surprises were the big rise in Swiss gold exports to Singapore (12.6 tonnes) and even more so Thailand (21.6 tonnes). Interestingly Turkey apparently imported no gold at all from Switzerland in August, but actually exported 12.8 tonnes to the small European nation at the centre of the global gold refining trade.
As usual, the Swiss figures show an ever-continuing flow of gold from West to East with Asia and the Middle East accounting for over 88% of the total export figures. (The United Arab Emirates imported 5.9 tonnes and Malaysia 2.8 tonnes being other significant gold importers from the region in August.
This commentary by Lawrie showed up on the Sharps Pixley website on Monday sometime — and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Today’s ‘critter’ is the critically endangered giant ibis. It is the largest of the world’s ibises. It is confined to northern Cambodia, with a few birds surviving in extreme southern Laos and a recent sighting in Yok Đôn National Park, Vietnam. Click to enlarge.
“At the root of America’s economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America’s political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world.” — Jeffrey Sachs
It was another obvious day of very strict price management, as the powers-that-be certainly have the precious metals in lock-down mode…silver and gold in particular. They have given gold a few dollars worth of breathing room but, for the second day in a row, silver was closed right on its 20-day moving average, which you can see in the 6-month chart below. And in both platinum and palladium, they’re stifling their short-covering rallies the best they can. 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 note that after a brief down/up dip of a dollar and change in mid-morning trading in the Far East, gold has rallied a bit since then — and is now up $1.10 an ounce. Ditto for silver — and it’s up 2 cents. It was the same for platinum — and it’s up 3 bucks. Palladium was up a dollar or three as soon as trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Monday evening — and chopped aimlessly sideways after that, but was turned lower at the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai — and is now back at unchanged as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is coming up on 35,000 contracts — and there’s only 588 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 12,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume is only 255 contracts on top of that.
The dollar index dipped down a bit until 8:20 a.m. CST on their Thursday morning — and then rallied to its current 94.35 high tick by around 10:25 a.m. CST. From there it edged quietly lower until precisely 1:00 p.m. CST — and has turned sharply lower since — and is down 5 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, as always, I’ll reserve judgement until tomorrow’s column when I can see all five dojis for the reporting week lined up in a row on the 6-month charts.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:03 a.m. EDT, I see that the gold price touched the $1,200 spot mark right at the London open, but that was as high as it was allowed to get. At the moment, gold is up 40 cent…but silver is now down a penny — and platinum is up 2 dollars. Palladium continued to get sold down once Zurich opened, although it’s off its current low by a bit, but is still down 4 bucks.
Gross gold volume is a bit over 49,000 contracts — and net of what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is about 46,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is a hair over 17,000 contracts — and there’s 303 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.
The dollar index was turned on a dime about twenty-five minutes before the London open — and was back at the unchanged mark by around 8:10 a.m. BST in London trading. It’s taken a header since — and is now down 11 basis points by around 8:40 a.m. BST.
Today is the start of the Fed meeting at the Eccles Building — and the proverbial smoke goes up the chimney on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT…thirty minutes after the COMEX close. From what I’ve heard, the survey says that they will raise rates again tomorrow — and we’ll find out soon enough.
That’s it for today’s column — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.