20 November 2018 — Tuesday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price didn’t really do much of anything yesterday. After crawling a dollar or so higher after trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST in New York on Sunday evening, it was quietly sold lower until the low tick was set a few minutes after 2 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon…which may or may not have coincided with the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It chopped quietly, but very unsteadily higher from there — and the Monday high tick was set at the COMEX close in New York. It didn’t do much of anything after that.
The low and high ticks definitely aren’t worth looking up.
Gold finished the Monday session in New York at $1,223.90 spot, up $2.80 from Friday’s close. Net gold volume was fumes and vapours at around 148,500 contracts — but there was a rather hefty 41,800 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of December and into future months.
With options and futures expiry for the big December delivery month in gold coming up next week, we’re going to see these kind of switch volumes…and heavier…between now and November 29. Ditto for silver.
It was mostly the same in silver, except its low tick of the day was set a bit before 2 p.m. CST — and although it rallied a bit from there, it wasn’t allowed any more than a few pennies above the $14.40 spot mark. Its 50-day moving average is $14.45…so someone was protecting it. The high $14.42 high tick [December] came a minute or so after the 1:30 p.m. EST COMEX close. It was sold down a few pennies from that point — and didn’t do anything after that.
Like for gold, the low and high ticks in silver certainly aren’t worth looking up.
Silver was closed in New York on Monday a $14.405 spot, up 1.5 cents on the day. Net volume in this precious metal was extremely quiet as well, at a bit under 46,000 contracts — and there was 15,800 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The platinum price chopped mostly sideways in Far East trading yesterday — and most of Zurich trading as well. That lasted until the afternoon gold fix in London was done for the day — and began to head rather sharply higher from there. The price was capped and then driven lower starting at 1 p.m. EST — and from five minutes before the COMEX close onward, it traded pretty much ruler flat until trading ended at 5:00 p.m. in New York. Platinum was closed at $851 spot, up 8 dollars from Friday.
Palladium was up 7 bucks or so by around 9:30 a.m. CST on their Monday morning — and then chopped erratically sideways. It was up only three dollars or so by the COMEX open, but minutes later it got smacked pretty hard, with the low tick of the day coming at, or minutes after the afternoon gold fix in London. It edged unsteadily sideways for the remainder of the Monday session — and finished the day at $1,147 spot, down 14 bucks from Friday’s close.
The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon at the the 96.43 mark — and crept quietly sideways until around 10 a.m. China Standard Time on their Monday morning. It edged a bit higher from that juncture — and the 96.57 high tick of the day was set very shortly after 2 p.m. CST, which probably came the same moment as the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It headed unsteadily lower from there until around 10 a.m. in London — and then chopped equally unsteadily sideways until the 10 a.m. EST afternoon gold fix in London. Then down it went. The 96.12 low tick was set around 10:40 a.m. in New York. From that point it rallied bit until noon EST, before falling back almost to its low tick of the day by a minute or so before 1 p.m. — and it didn’t do a lot after that. The dollar index finished the Monday session at 96.17…down 26 basis points from Friday’s close.
The only precious metal that reacted to the big dollar swoon at the afternoon gold fix in London was platinum. Gold and silver prices acted like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Here’s the intraday U.S. dollar index chart.
And here’s the 3-day intraday dollar index so you can see the dollar index action right from the open in New York on Sunday evening.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart — and you can read into it whatever you wish, which shouldn’t be a lot. The delta between its close…96.07…and the close on the intraday chart above, was 10 basis points on Monday.
The gold stock opened unchanged — and began to chop higher almost right away, with their respective high ticks coming around 11:20 a.m. in New York trading. From that point they chopped unsteadily lower until trading ended at 4:00 p.m. EST. The HUI closed down a tiny 0.13 percent. Call it unchanged.
The silver equities were sold down a bit at the 9:30 EST open in New York on Monday, but began to head unsteadily higher from there, with their respective high ticks coming at 10:59 a.m. Then they chopped unsteadily lower as well — and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down 0.50 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index charts. Click to enlarge as well.
As I stated on Saturday, with only a tiny handful of gold and silver deliveries left in November, I’ve decided to stop posting the Issuers and Stoppers/Daily Delivery Reports until First Day Notice for December deliveries, which is about ten days away. But if you wish to look anyway, the link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
There was a deposit in GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant added 37,380 troy ounces — and there were no reported changes in SLV.
The folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the goings-on inside their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of business on Friday, November 16 — and this is what they had to report: During the reporting week they added 1,896 troy ounces of gold — and 114,585 troy ounces of silver.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Monday.
The only activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories on the U.S. east coast last Friday was 643.000 troy ounces/20 kilobars [U.K/U.S. kilobar weight] that was shipped out of Canada’s Scotiabank. I won’t bother linking this.
There was very little activity in silver. Only 287,478 troy ounces were received — and all of that went into the International Depository Services of Delaware. Only 2,000 troy ounces were shipped out — and that departed Delaware.
It was far busier over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Friday. There was only 1,028 received, but a very chunky 7,023 kilobars were shipped out. All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. of course — and the link to that is here.
Here are a couple of charts that Nick passed around on the weekend. They show gold and silver imports into India, updated with September’s data. During that month, they imported 65.146 metric tonnes/2.09 million troy ounces of gold — and 618.28 metric tonnes/19.88 million troy ounces of silver. Click to enlarge for both.
There was a news item about India’s September gold imports on The Hindu BusinessLine website on Friday headlined “Gold imports dip 43% to $1.68 billion in October” — and I lifted that from the Sharps Pixley website.
I have an average number of stories for you today.
For years, it appeared that nothing could shake the relentless bid for US corporate credit, whether in the investment grade space or in junk bonds. In fact, just over a month ago, on October 2, we reported that high yield spread printed the tightest levels seen since the financial crisis.
A lot has changed since then.
As discussed earlier after ignoring the move in stocks, credit spreads have been rocked sharply wider due to a confluence of negative factors ranging from the plunge in stocks and spike in the VIX, escalating trade war concerns, fears about rising rates and deteriorating fundamentals, worries about the end of the US fiscal stimulus, Brexit and Italy’s budget’s woes, and last but not least, the recent collapse in GE and PG&E bonds.
In fact, junk bond spreads blew out by the most in almost two years last week, leaving the lowest-quality U.S. companies paying the most for their debt since mid-2016 according to Bloomberg. The yield on the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Total Return Index has risen by over 100 basis points since Oct. 1 to almost 7.2%, the highest since June 2016. The spread on the index widened by 51 bps, its biggest weekly gain since February 2016.
The repricing was most acute for CCC-rated debt, which after outperforming the rest of the high yield market, saw a sharp, 200 basis point jump in the average yield to about 10.8%. And, as shown in the chart below, investment grade debt wasn’t spared -or spread – either, blowing out by nearly 20 bps since the first week of November.
Meanwhile, after today’s latest blowout, credit-default swaps on North American investment grade corporations are now wider than they were the day Donald Trump was elected. According to Bloomberg‘s Sebastian Boyd, since November 2016, the return on investment-grade credit has been a pathetic 0.6%.
This longish chart-filled article was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 3:14 p.m. on Monday afternoon EST — and I thank Richard Saler for passing it along. Another link to it is here.
During a live interview with Barry Ritholtz for his “Masters In Business” podcast on Monday, Bridgewater Associates CEO – who has been on a seemingly never-ending media tour to promote his new free e-book “A Template For Understanding Big Debt Crises” – once again expounded upon his “1937” markets thesis: That is, his theory that the U.S. economy increasingly resembles the late-cycle dynamic from the 1930s where equity prices topped out as the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy. Like the 1930s, the global economy is awash and debt, and populist politicians gaining power and influence in the West.
But more interesting than Dalio’s retread of his calls for a recession to begin some time during the next two years, he also repeated a claim he first made back in September, which has been getting more attention since BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said something similar earlier this month: That the U.S. dollar’s days as the dominant global reserve currency are numbered.
Echoing Fink’s claims, Dalio explained that widening U.S. deficits will soon alienate foreign buyers of U.S. Treasurys, sending yields soaring higher while causing the dollar to depreciate by as much as 30% (though at least the Fed would no longer have any trouble meeting its inflation target).
Bloomberg‘s Brian Chappatta reviewed Dalio’s remarks in a column published Monday, where he cited previous comments by the hedge fund billionaire where Dalio said the loss of the dollar’s reserve status would be America’s “worst nightmare.” Dalio believes other rivals to the dollar will emerge to take its place, but refused to speculate about which currencies they might be.
This news item put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 3:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon EDT — and it comes to us courtesy of Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.
Asked if President Donald Trump’s highly critical tweets about French president Emmanuel Macron were unpleasant and inelegant, Macron elegantly replied, `you summed up everything.’
Yes, they were unpleasant and inelegant, to put it mildly. Worse, Trump’s tweet barrage came on the same day France was commemorating the murder of 130 Parisians by gunmen in 2015. A senior French press official claimed Trump ‘lacked common decency.’ Making matters worse, Trump refused to show up at a graveside memorial for American G.I.’s killed in the bloody, 1918 Belleau Wood battle. He went the following day to another memorial closer to Paris.
A major faux pas, Monsieur le President Trump. You need some foreign policy pros instead of the amateur ideologues who have made a huge mess of the nation’s affairs and image.
This row arose after Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg and called for a common European army to ‘complement’ NATO.
Earlier, Chancellor Merkel stated that Europe could no longer depend on the U.S. for its protection.
Merkel’s frank talk was clearly a slap in the face to the prickly Trump, whose aggressive policies have put the U.S. in confrontation with Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Cuba and much of the Muslim world.
This very worthwhile commentary by Eric appeared on the unz.com Internet site on Saturday sometime — and I thank Larry Galearis for bringing it to our attention. Another link to it is here.
Just when Deutsche Bank probably thought the worst of its legal troubles (over the Libor scandal, sales of shoddy mortgage-backed securities, FX and precious metal rigging which collective resulted in tens of billions in legal fines) were behind it, the struggling German lender is being drawn deeper into the biggest money laundering scandal in European history.
Following reports over the weekend that Deutsche, JPM and Bank of America had been approached by federal investigators about their correspondent banking business’s involvement in clearing transactions for Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, the whistleblower who helped blow the lid off Danske’s $234 billion money laundering scandal said during testimony to the Danish Parliament that $150 billion of the money had been cleared by a large European lender, stopping short of naming Deutsche, likely to respect confidentiality rules governing the whistleblower’s work at Danske. Incidentally, as Bloomberg adds citing a “person familiar“, the unnamed bank is Deutsche Bank.
Deutsche continued to clear transactions for Danske’s Estonia branch until 2015, two years after JPM had ended its correspondent banking relationship with Danske’s Estonia branch over AML concerns. The suspicious funds flowed through Danske between 2007 and 2015 before Denmark’s largest lender closed its non-resident portfolio over AML concerns.
Howard Wilkinson, the former Danske employee-turned-whistleblower, claimed that some of the money flowed through a London-based trading firm called Lantana Trade, which is rumored to have ties to the family of Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of the FSB. Wilkinson is expected to testify before both the Danish and E.U. parliaments this week, and will also be speaking with U.S. investigators, according to the Financial Times. In addition to the DOJ and SEC, FinCEN has said it is actively interested in the Danske case.
Wilkinson, who first warned Danske’s directors in Copenhagen about suspicious activity in Estonia back in 2013 and 2014, also alluded to a “large U.S. bank,” which the Financial Times identified as JPMorgan.
This news story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 8:58 a.m. EST on Monday morning — and it’s another offering from Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.
Angry Ukrainians took to the streets and blocked roads Tuesday as hundreds of thousands remain without heating at a time when temperatures are plunging because of a dispute between the national gas company and regional utility providers.
The crisis, which affects mostly Ukraine’s center, south and southeast, came after national gas company Naftagaz raised gas prices that some struggling municipalities said were impossibly high for them to pay. Naftagaz has said it will resume supply to utilities companies and powers stations only after they clear the debts or pay for supplies in advance.
Residents in Kryvy Rih, a city of 600,000 in Ukraine’s southeast, on Monday set tires on fire and seized the building of the local gas company demanding that the heating be turned on. Temperatures in the area were below zero overnight on Tuesday.
“We will take control of the boiler rooms and turn on the heating if the government doesn’t care about us,” protester Andriy Balygo told The Associated Press by phone.
Opposition lawmaker Oleh Lyashko said last week that at least six towns with a combined population over 1 million remain without heating.
Ukraine is struggling with a flagging economy and a separatist conflict in the east which is weighing down on the nation’s finances. One of the conditions for the International Monetary Fund to continue providing Ukraine with loans was to increase gas prices by 23 percent starting Nov. 1. Bills for hot water and heating are expected to increase by another 15 percent on Dec. 1.
This very interesting news item was posted on the russia-insider.com Internet site on Thursday sometime — and it’s the second offering of the day from Larry Galearis. Another link to it is here.
In September, China’s share of U.S. Treasuries holdings had the highest decline since January as ongoing trade tensions with Washington forced the world’s biggest economy to take measures to stabilize its national currency.
Still the biggest foreign holder of the U.S. foreign debt, China slashed it’s share by nearly $14 billion, with the country’s holdings falling to $1.15 trillion from nearly $1.17 trillion in August, according to the latest data from the Treasury Department. The fall marks the fourth straight month of declines. China is followed by Japan, whose share of U.S. Treasuries fell to $1.03 trillion, the lowest since October 2011.
Washington has accelerated the Treasury issuance to avoid potential growth in the federal deficit due to the massive tax cut pushed by President Donald Trump, as well the federal spending deal approved by the government in February.
Chinese purchases of U.S. state debt have been decreasing over recent months. The latest drop comes on top of the escalating trade conflict between Beijing and Washington over trade imbalance, market access and alleged stealing of U.S. technology secrets by Chinese corporations. So far, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods and stopped buying American crude.
This brief news item put in an appearance on the rt.com Internet site at 9:53 a.m. Moscow time on their Monday morning, which was 1:53 a.m. in Washington — EDT plus 8 hours. I thank George Whyte for bringing it to our attention — and another link to it is here.
Utah rare coin dealer accused of defrauding investors in a $170 million Ponzi scheme involving silver
A federal judge has frozen the assets of a Utah rare-coin dealer after state officials accused the business of defrauding hundreds of people in a precious-metals Ponzi scheme.
A civil complaint was filed Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Gaylen Dean Rust and his company, Rust Rare Coin Inc.
The Utah Department of Commerce said in a Friday news release that Rust had fraudulently obtained more than $170 million from people in Utah and 16 other states in a scheme involving silver.
The complaint alleges that for more than 10 years, Rust “tricked” investors who believed they were pooling their money so Rust and his company would sell silver held in a pool as market prices rose, and buy silver for the pool when prices fell. Investors were told this would lead to “extraordinarily high profits.”
It was a sham, authorities say.
This interesting article appeared on The Salt Lake Tribune website on Friday — and I found it in a GATA dispatch on Saturday. Another link to it is here.
Russia produced 157.19 tonnes of gold in the first seven months of 2018, exactly the same amount as in the same period last year, the finance ministry said on Friday.
Production for the period included 129.34 tonnes of mined gold compared with 126.39 tonnes a year ago, the ministry said.
Silver production totalled 562.75 tonnes in January-July, down from 593.19 tonnes in the same period of 2017.
The above three paragraphs are all there is to this very brief precious metals-related story, filed from Moscow, that showed up on the af.reuters.com Internet site last Friday. It’s worth reading, if you haven’t already. I found it on the Sharps Pixley website — and another link to the hard copy is here.
Gold consumption in China rose 5 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of this year to almost 850 tons, industry data showed.
The price downtrend since April has further boosted strong demand in China, market insiders said.
Demand in the fourth quarter is expected to stay strong due to China-U.S. trade tensions (which enhanced gold’s safe-haven asset status), the growing strength of the U.S. dollar, and the depreciation of the Chinese yuan, they said.
According to the China Gold Association, gold consumption via the jewelry sector increased steadily, reaching nearly 540 tonnes in the first three quarters, up around 7 percent year-on-year.
Use of gold for industrial purposes rose the most, around 25 percent year-on-year, to 82 tonnes on the back of strong demand from electronic product manufacturers.
This very worthwhile gold-related news item showed up on the china.org.cn Internet site on Monday sometime — and I found it posted on the Sharps Pixley website. Another link to it is here.
With the latest version of his autobiography, published last month, “Keeping At It — the Quest for Sound Money and Good Government” — former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker reiterates that gold price suppression long has been a tool in the arsenal of central banks for surreptitious market rigging in defense of their currencies.
Volcker acknowledged as much in the first edition of his autobiography, which seems to have been published only in serial form in the Nikkei Weekly in Japan in 2004.
Of an international currency revaluation agreement announced on February 12, 1973, Volcker wrote:
“That day the United States announced that the dollar would be devalued by 10 percent. By switching the yen to a floating exchange rate, the Japanese currency appreciated and a sufficient realignment in exchange rates was realized. Joint intervention in gold sales to prevent a steep rise in the price of gold, however, was not undertaken. That was a mistake.”
In his updated autobiography, Volcker writes of that 1973 currency revaluation:
“The newly agreed exchange rates and gold price ($42.22), in my view, would be highly vulnerable to renewed speculation. To convey a sense of confidence, we should be prepared to intervene collectively to stabilize the gold market: in effect to create a new gold pool. That, unfortunately, was not agreed.”
This link-filled story was posted on the gata.org Internet site — and it’s certainly worth your while. Another link to it is here.
[Managed Money trader] ‘OptionSellers.com’ Goes Dark After “Catastrophic Loss Event” In Natural Gas “Rogue Wave”
Shorting volatility (naked) with “Other People’s Money…“? What could possibly go wrong?
And so, the thoughtful-looking, wealthy grey-haired gentlemen of today should given their Fed-earned money to the managed accounts of OptionsSellers.com, which touted itself as premier and highly experienced commodities options trading firm. The firm’s president and head trader, James Cordier, explained in a recent interview: “Our goal is to take an aggressive vehicle and manage it conservatively.”
Unfortunately for the clients’ managed accounts, Cordier’s actions were anything but ‘conservative‘.
On November 15, 2018, OptionSellers.com notified its investors in an e-mail entitled “Catastrophic Loss Event” that it not only lost all their money, but that they would also owe money to International F.C. Stone for margin calls.
As John S. Chapman notes, unfortunately, it did not trade options conservatively. It traded “naked” rather than “covered” options, leaving investors subject to unlimited exposure. This unlimited exposure is what caused to lose all their money and more in the last few days. Thus, OptionSellers.com and its principals negligently engaged in a risky trading strategy that was unsuitable for its clients and breached its fiduciary duties to them by putting its interests ahead of its clients.
One has to wonder how many Managed Money traders are going to get buried when JPMorgan allows silver and gold prices to blow up in similar fashion. This must read news item showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for passing it along. Another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
This is another award-winning photo given out by the Natural History Museum in London this year. It’s from the ’10 years old and younger’ photographer category — and this one, entitled “Pipe Owls”, is by Arshdeep Singh from India. It was the grand prize winner in this category.
“While driving with his father through the city, Arshdeep saw a bird disappearing into an old waste-pipe. He asked to stop the car, then primed his father’s camera and telephoto lens, kneeling up on the seat and resting it on the half-open window at eye-level. It wasn’t long before a spotted owlet emerged, followed by a second. Both stared right at him.
Spotted owlets traditionally nest in tree hollows, where the female lays up to five eggs. Although common in the Punjab, these small birds are rarely seen in the day, as they are nocturnal. This breeding pair – the larger female on the left – is among those using urban nesting sites following widespread deforestation in the region.” Click to enlarge.
With exceedingly light volume in both silver and gold yesterday, absolutely nothing should be read into their respective price activities, as it took little effort with anyone with an agenda to keep their respective prices on the straight and narrow. That was certainly obvious in those those two particular precious metals on Monday. Silver was carefully kept below its 50-day moving average, both on an intraday and closing basis.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities — and I thought I’d toss in natural gas again, as it’s certainly in the news. As you already know, any trader short this commodity is in a world of hurt — and that was certainly the case in that Zero Hedge story that I carried in the Critical Reads section above. The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature only helps with the four precious metal charts.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that after an hour of trading sideways in New York on Monday evening, the gold price was sold lower until around 10:40 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning. Then, after chopping sideways for several hours, it began to head higher starting just before, or at, the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It’s back in the plus column now — and up 50 cents the once. The price pattern for silver was very similar — and it’s down a penny currently. Ditto for platinum — and it’s back at unchanged. The palladium price has been edging unsteadily higher since shortly before 11 a.m. CST as well — and has jumped up a bit more in the last few minutes — and is currently up 5 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is pretty light at 32,000 contracts — and there’s 2,360 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal. Net HFT silver volume is also pretty light at about 8,400 contracts — and there’s 1,103 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index has been chopping generally sideways 5 basis points either side of unchanged since the market opened at 6:00 p.m. EST in New York on Monday evening — and it’s down 4 basis points as of 7:30 a.m. GMT in London.
Today, at the close of COMEX trading, is the cut-off for this week’s Commitment of Traders Report — and I’ll wait until my Wednesday column before sticking my neck out on what Friday’s COT Report may or may not show.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:03 a.m. EST, I see that the prices of all four precious metals were turned lower about twenty minutes before 9 a.m. GMT/10 a.m. CET — and gold is currently up only 90 cents the ounce. Silver is still being held below its 50-day moving average — and it’s now down 2 cents. Platinum is down a dollar — and palladium is only up 3 dollars as the first hour of Zurich trading draws to a close.
Gross gold volume has jumped up a bit — and is coming up on 49,000 contracts. Net of roll-over/switch volume, net HFT gold volume is a bit over 41,500 contracts. Net HFT silver volume has jumped up as well — and is just under 11,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume out of December and into future months is 1,468 contracts on top of that.
The dollar index continued its quiet descent until shortly after the London open. The current low tick of the day at that point was 96.04…but is off that by quite a bit now — and as of 8:30 a.m. in London…9:30 in Zurich — and 3:30 a.m. in New York, it’s now up 2 basis points. I would suspect that ‘da boyz’ hit the ‘ramp the dollar index/sell down precious metal prices’ button at its current low.
Gold, silver, WTIC and copper are all sitting on the launch pad — and waiting for who knows what to happen. Will JPMorgan allow silver and gold prices to fly on the next rally? I don’t know, but we should find out soon enough.
That’s it for another day — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.