With the U.S. Closed…Precious Metal Volumes Were Exceedingly Light

22 January 2019 — Tuesday

YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM


With the equity markets closed in New York yesterday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, absenteeism in the COMEX/GLOBEX futures market at home and abroad was pretty high on Monday, so nothing too much should be read into the price action in the precious metal yesterday.  Volumes were very low, but it should be carefully noted that none of them were allowed to close in positive territory.


Here’s the chart for gold — and the highs and lows aren’t worth looking up — and the COMEX closed early at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Gold ended the Monday session at $1,279.60 spot, down $1.70 on the day.  Net volume was fumes and vapours at around 101,000 contracts — and there was decent roll-over/switch volume out of February and into futures months…a bit over 21,000 contracts worth.

Silver didn’t do much in Far East trading on their Monday but, like gold, was sold down a bit shortly after the London open — and it didn’t do a lot after that.

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

Silver finished the holiday-shortened Monday trading session at $15.235 spot, down 7.5 cents from Friday’s close.  Net volume was a hair over 30,500 contracts — and there was about 1,150 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.

Platinum was forced to follow the same general price path as silver — and it closed in New York on Monday afternoon at $794 spot, down 3 bucks on the day.

Palladium traded a few dollars higher in Far East trading on their Monday morning, but began to head higher shortly after 3 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon — and was up about 15 bucks or so by 9:30 a.m. in Zurich.  At that point, the price pressure began — and that lasted until shortly after the COMEX open at 8:30 a.m. EST on Monday morning.  The down/up price spike shortly before the afternoon gold fix was most likely in the spot month only — and ignoring that, palladium edged very quietly sideways until trading ended at 1 p.m. EST.  It was closed at $1,336 spot, down 23 bucks from Friday — and about 38 dollars off its high tick of the day.

According to Bloomberg, the dollar index/currency markets weren’t open yesterday, which I found somewhat strange.

And with New York shut tight, there are no other reports forthcoming from anywhere…HUI, Silver 7, Daily Delivery Reports, GLD/SLV stats…or U.S. Mint sales, etc.

But Europe was open yesterday — and 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, January 18 — and this is what they had to report.  Both ETFs declined during the reporting week…their gold ETF by 10,141 troy ounces — and their silver ETF by 77,804 troy ounces.


Here are the usual two charts that Nick Laird passes around every weekend.  They show the weekly movements for physical gold and silver in all known mutual funds, depositories and ETFs as of the close of trading on Friday, January 18.  For that week there was another 550,000 troy ounces of gold was added on a net basis — and in silver, there was another very counterintuitive 5.574 million troy ounces [net] withdrawnClick to enlarge for both.


The Vettersfelde Treasure or Witaszkowo Treasure is a treasure trove which was found by chance in what was then Vettersfelde in the Province of Brandenburg (modern Witaszkowo, near Gubin, Poland) in 1882. The objects in the trove are connected to the animal-themed art of the Scythians. The origin of the trove remains mysterious.

Among the most significant items in the trove are:

  • an electrum plaque (41 x 15 cm, 608 g) in the shape of a fish, which probably dates to the end of the 6th century B.C. According to Furtwängler, it was originally an ornament (sema) on a shield. The body of the fish is covered by little animals in relief, including a panther catching a boar, and a lion catching a deer, and the tail is made up of two rams’ heads. It is believed to have been made by the artisans of an Ionian colony on the northern coast of the Black Sea, such as Olbia or Panticapaeum, to cater to the tastes of a Scythian prince.
  • a golden plaque intended to cover the upper part of a sheath for an Acinaces (a type of dagger used by Scythians) and decorated with animals (fish, vultures, deer, boar). Length: 19 cm. 6th century B.C.
  • a golden object made up of four disks, each decorated with animals around a central boss, and a smaller central disk. It might have been part of a breast plate or a harness. Height: 17 cm. 6th century B.C.

Other highlights include pendants of braided wire, a massive torc. Part of the find went to Berlin and was kept with a suit of Scythian armour, which dated from around 500 B.C. Other, smaller objects from the trove were sold or melted down.   This is the only photo available.  Click to enlarge.

I have a fairly decent number of stories for you today…for a change.


CRITICAL READS

The United States: “Flawed Democracy” — Brian Maher

The annual edition of The Economist’s Intelligence Unit Democracy Index is out.

Across several democratic categories nations are ranked. These include but are not limited to:
Civil liberties…  the functioning of government… political participation… electoral process… pluralism… and political culture.

Where does the United States rank among the nations of the Earth?

Is it the most democratic? Perhaps the fifth? Or the eighth?

The answer, says The Economist’s Intelligence Unit Democracy Index, is…twenty-fifth — the United States is the 25th most democratic nation on Earth.

It finds itself sandwiched between Estonia and the Jeffersonian paradise known otherwise as Cabo Verde.

Watching the U.S. for the last 55 years from just north of the 49th parallel, the slow but steady slide has been painful to watch — and I certainly get no joy from it.  This interesting commentary from Brian appeared on the dailyreckoning.com Internet site last Friday — and another link to it is here.


The Generation that Will Save the World — Jeff Thomas

Eighty-four percent of millennials admit that they don’t know how to change a light bulb. When asked what they do if one goes out, most either said that they call the landlord to fix it, or just accept having less light in future.

Readers of this publication will be savvy enough to know that a crisis of biblical proportions is on the way. It will begin as an economic crisis, but will quickly morph into a political and social crisis as well.

There can be no doubt that my generation (the baby boomers) have done more to create this crisis than any other. So, who will be the ones that will have to deal with the crisis, once it’s under way?

Well, that always falls to the young, strong, energetic segment of the population. The twenty-to-forty group would be the ones who would need to roll up their sleeves and bail out the sinking rowboat.

That means that, by the time we’re in crisis mode, the generation that will inherit the job of fixing the mammoth problem will be the millennials.

This interesting commentary from Jeff showed up on the internationalman.com Internet site on Monday sometime — and another link to it is here.


IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast to 3-Year Low

Just as it warned it would several days ago, as part of its latest quarterly economic outlook report the IMF just slashed its forecast for 2019 global GDP to just 3.5% from 3.7% as of October, its lowest forecast in three years, while warning that trade tensions pose further downside risks to global growth.

In its second growth downgrade in three months, the IMF blamed softening demand across Europe and recent stock market volatility, and while its U.S. GDP forecast remained somewhat surprisingly unchanged, still seeing a solid 2.5% in 2019 GDP growth, the IMF took a machete to its German GDP forecast, which the IMF now sees growth only 1.3% this year, down 30%, or 0.6% from its forecast last October. The Monetary Fund blamed soft consumer demand and weak factory production after the introduction of stricter emission standards for cars was behind the shift. To be sure, recent German economic data has been disastrous, and confirmed the sharp slowdown in the economy, and it will be up to Q1 data to confirm or deny whether a German recession has arrived.

Despite seeing sharp slowdowns to other key European economies, including Italy, where it cited weak demand and higher sovereign borrowing costs, and France, where the so-called Yellow-Vest protests have hurt the economy, the overall outlook was somewhat more upbeat than some had feared especially as many investors openly fear a U.S.-led slowdown taking hold, the fund left its projections for the U.S. and China unchanged and even anticipates a pickup in worldwide expansion to 3.6 percent next year.

Nonetheless, risks “tilt to the downside” said the IMF just hours after China revealed the slowest expansion since 2009 last quarter. It will set the tone for this week’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

This news item was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 8:52 a.m. on Monday morning EST — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along.  Another link to it is here.


Make No Mistake, Davos, the Fat Cat Backlash is Coming

Ten years ago, the Davos conference asked the question: “What must industry do to prevent a broad social backlash?” The answer probably wasn’t “Double, triple, or sextuple the wealth of the most prominent conference attendees, while letting median household incomes stagnate back home.” Yet that’s what happened. Make no mistake: The backlash is coming.

There has always been a whiff of hypocrisy at Davos, where elites expand their carbon footprint, eat $43 hot dogs and throw lavish parties in the name of making the world a better place. “Fat cats in the snow,” the regular attendee Bono once called it (and he should know). But given the rapid advances of populist politics, it’s remarkable that in 2019, those felines are looking better-fed than ever. The past decade and a half has seen U.S. corporate profits outgrow employee compensation at an unprecedented pace, according to the St. Louis Fed. A Bloomberg News analysis of the fortunes of a dozen Davos attendees found that they soared by a combined $175 billion since 2009. Those feel-good panel debates on topics like “Better Capitalism” are pretty laughable.

The response from the Davos crowd has always been to talk, talk, and talk a bit more. But there’s an increasing impatience with capitalism’s inability to regulate itself. That might explain why quite a few handsomely paid “Davos Men” have experienced a rather brutal comeuppance of late.

This interesting article appeared on the Bloomberg website very early on Monday morning Pacific Standard Time — and it’s something I found in the Tuesday edition of the King Report.  Another link to it is here.


Anti-Trump frenzy threatens to end superpower diplomacy — Stephen F. Cohen

The New Year has brought a torrent of ever-more-frenzied allegations that President Donald Trump has long had a conspiratorial relationship – why mince words and call it “collusion”? – with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

Why the frenzy now? Perhaps because Russiagate promoters in high places are concerned that special counsel Robert Mueller will not produce the hoped-for “bombshell” to end Trump’s presidency. Certainly, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt seems worried, demanding, “The president must go,” his drop line exhorting, “What are we waiting for?” (In some countries, articles like his, and there are very many, would be read as calling for a coup.) Perhaps to incite Democrats who have now taken control of House investigative committees. Perhaps simply because Russiagate has become a political-media cult that no facts, or any lack of evidence, can dissuade or diminish.

And there is no new credible evidence, preposterous claims notwithstanding. One of The New York Times’ own recent “bombshells,” published on January 12, reported, for example, that in spring 2017, FBI officials “began investigating whether [President Trump] had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” None of the three reporters bothered to point out that those “agents and officials” almost certainly included ones later reprimanded and retired by the FBI itself for their political biases. (As usual, the Times buried its self-protective disclaimer deep in the story: “No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.”)

Whatever the explanation, the heightened frenzy is unmistakable, leading the “news” almost daily in the synergistic print and cable media outlets that have zealously promoted Russiagate for more than two years, in particular the Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, and their kindred outlets. They have plenty of eager enablers, including the once-distinguished Strobe Talbott, President Bill Clinton’s top adviser on Russia and until recently president of the Brookings Institution. According to Talbott, “We already know that the Kremlin helped put Trump into the White House and played him for a sucker…. Trump has been colluding with a hostile Russia throughout his presidency.” In fact, we do not “know” any of this. These remain merely widely disseminated suspicions and allegations.

This commentary/opinion piece by Stephen appeared on the rt.com Internet site at 11:49 Moscow time on their Monday morning, which was 3:49 a.m. in Washington — EST plus 8 hours — and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.


Demographic Catastrophe: China’s Birth Rate Falls to Historic Low

Over the weekend, China’s statistics bureau announced a significant dip in the country’s birth rate with the number of babies born in China last year falling by 2 million to the lowest annual rate since the country was founded in 1949, despite Beijing’s recent attempts to encourage couples to have more children.

In 2016, China partially ended its one-child policy to allow couples to have two children, but as we warned repeatedly since then, the policy has done done little to spur population growth as rising living costs weigh on couples considering a child.

Commenting on China’s demographic collapse, Wang Feng, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irving, said: “Decades of social and economic transformations have prepared an entirely new generation in China, for whom marriage and childbearing no longer have the importance they once did for their parents’ generation.”

Besides demographics, China’s transformation into the next Japan has major, and potentially dire, consequences for the local economy.

As we reported back in October via Econimica, the 0-to-24 year old Chinese population swelled by over 300 million from 1950 to it’s ultimate peak in 1991.  Since that peak, the total population of young in China has fallen by 176 million, or a 30% decline in the number of children across China.  Moving forward, the U.N. has expressed hopes the formal elimination of the one child policy would simply slow the rate of decline in the population…but by no means will China’s fast declining childbearing population (those aged 15-44) nor disproportionately young male population potentially be offset by a slightly less negative birth rate.  Contrast that with the quantity of debt being forcibly injected into a nation that faces a massive imminent population decline.

China’s predicament and reaction to it are not particularly unique…but given China’s size, the ultimate global impact of China’s slow motion train wreck will be unprecedented… particularly as their 15 to 64 year old population is now in indefinite decline.

Japan times eleven, dear reader.  This very interesting, but somewhat longish chart-filled Zero Hedge article put in an appearance on their website at 6:15 p.m. EST yesterday evening — and it’s another contribution from Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.


Moment of ‘Minsky’ reckoning may be near for China, banking guru warns — Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

China is in the grip of an increasingly dangerous downturn and may be forced to rescue large parts of its financial and economic system, the world’s leading expert on debt crises has warned.

Harvard professor Ken Rogoff said the key policy instruments of the Communist Party are losing traction and the country has exhausted its credit-driven growth model. This is rapidly becoming the greatest single threat to the global financial system.

“People have this stupefying belief that China is different from everywhere else and can grow to the moon,” said Harvard professor Ken Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. “China can’t just keep creating credit. They are in a serious growth recession and the trade war is kicking them on the way down,” he told The Telegraph, speaking before the World Economic Forum in Davos.

There will have to be a de facto nationalisation of large parts of the economy. I fear this really could be ‘it’ at last and they are going to have their own kind of Minsky Moment,” he said.

This refers to the financial instability hypothesis of Hyman Minsky. It is when a seemingly unstoppable debt bubble suddenly collapses under its own weight in a cascade of falling asset and property prices. The authorities can cushion the crash but they cannot escape the brutal mechanics of reversion.

This very worthwhile commentary from AE-P showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site on Monday — and is posted in the clear in its entirety in this GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is here.


Scotiabank drops a 348-year-old name in unit’s revamp

ScotiaMocatta is no more, at least in name.

Bank of Nova Scotia is dropping the “Mocatta” moniker from its metals-trading business, shedding the last vestiges of a firm dating back nearly 350 years as the Canadian owner absorbs the platform into its capital-markets division.

It’s an end of an era that began in 1671 when Moses Mocatta opened an account with one of London’s most famous goldsmith bankers, Edward Backwell. Mocatta and his descendants would go on to build what became one of the world’s largest metals-trading businesses and the oldest member of London’s bullion market. The firm has long participated in the London gold auction, where an industry benchmark price is set twice a day.

Scotiabank spent the last year paring ScotiaMocatta by exiting some markets and simplifying products after reviewing the operation for a potential sale. ScotiaMocatta’s website has disappeared, replaced by the main page for the capital-markets division.

Scotiabank “reaffirmed” a commitment to the global metals business by hiring key people with expertise across precious metals, base metals and energy in recent months, Armstrong said. Those hires included Steve Scacalossi from Sumitomo Corp. as a managing director in New York, along with commodity strategist Nicky Shiels, analyst Teona Lazashvili, and Elizabeth Scarcello and Amaryllis Gryllaki for sales. The hires came after seven of Scotiabank’s New York-based metals traders and salesmen left to join rival Bank of Montreal in the past four months.

Scotiabank is still, as far as I’m concerned, the the number two short holder in silver in the COMEX futures market.  This very interesting Bloomberg story was posted on the wealthprofessional.ca Internet site last Thursday — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way on the weekend.  Another link to it is here.


Venezuela gold holdings in Bank of England soar on Deutsche deal — sources

Venezuela’s gold holdings in the Bank of England have jumped after it closed out a gold swap deal with Deutsche Bank, according to two sources, as Britain remains reluctant to release gold held for the troubled OPEC nation.

The government of Nicolas Maduro has since last year been seeking to repatriate about $550 million in gold from the Bank of England on fears it could be caught up in international sanctions on the country.

Its holdings at the bank more than doubled in December to 31 tonnes, or around $1.2 billion, after Venezuela returned funds it had borrowed from Deutsche Bank AG through a financing arrangement that uses gold as collateral, known as a swap, one of the sources said.

This is in part because Venezuela last year started carrying out gold barter operations with Turkey to import food following U.S. sanctions that have made international banks reluctant to handle Venezuelan transactions.

This Reuters article, filed from Caracas, was posted on their Internet site at 9:07 a.m. EST on Monday morning — and it’s something I found on the gata.org Internet site.  Another link to it is here.


Russia’s gold accumulation dips in December but still a full year record — Lawrie Williams

The Russian central bank has announced an increase of around 300,000 ounces (9.33 tonnes) to its total gold reserve in December which is a somewhat lower monthly total than for most months in 2019 – although an identical amount to that reported in March this year and in December last year, so not too much should be read into last month’s smaller accumulation.

However, overall, on an annual basis, Russia has added a record total of around 275 tonnes of gold for the full year and a repeat of this amount for the next couple of years would make it the third biggest national gold holder after the USA and Germany – at least as reported to the IMF.  That is if the Chinese reported reserve figure is accurate – we believe the announced figure to the IMF, currently around 1,852 tonnes, substantially understates China’s true gold reserve position and it may in reality already be in excess of Germany’s reported 3,369.7 tonnes.

Be that as it may, Russia is currently adding to its gold reserves at around the same level as its estimated annual new mined gold production.  It is the world’s third largest gold producer after China and Australia and may even be closing the gap on the latter.  Last year’s estimate of production in both nations was put by consultancy Metals Focus at Australia 289 tonnes and Russia 272 tonnes, but the latter’s production was seen as growing at the higher rate (7.6% in 2017).  Certainly the country’s two top tier gold miners (Polyus Gold and Polymetal) are both on the expansion trail, although the latter’s biggest expansion project is in neighbouring Kazakhstan – another nation raising its own gold reserves on a month-by-month basis.

Both Russia and China have suggested that gold is likely to play an important role in any global financial reset which may lie ahead.  Certainly in a world economy dominated by enormous levels of national debt revalued gold holdings could well have a key role to play as most consider it money in its purest form.

The above four paragraphs are all there is to this brief gold-related article from Lawrie.  It showed  up on the Sharps Pixley website on Saturday sometime — and another link to the hard copy is here.


Centre’s gold bond scheme [in India] fails to glitter

The Centre’s ambitious plan to mobilise an estimated 22,000 tonnes of gold lying idle with households appears to have fallen flat with its own statistics showing that the collection has nearly halved to merely 6,500 kg in 2017-2018 from close to 11,500 kg in 2016-2017.

The sovereign gold bond scheme (SGB) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. Since then, the authorities have barely collected 23 tonnes of gold.

The government has issued SGBs worth Rs 6,661.42 crore for 22.88 tonnes till March 2018, the latest report released on the Centre’s debt management, said.

Now, the government’s policy think tank Niti Aayog has suggested that the scheme be made more attractive.

SGB is a government security denominated in grams of gold. The idea behind its launch was to migrate investment from physical gold to paper gold. One of the key objectives was to reduce the pressure on Current Account Deficit (CAD) and the rupee, arising partly from heavy imports of gold and consequent foreign exchange outflow.

The product was targeted at retail investors who generally prefer to invest their savings in physical gold.

This gold-related news item appeared on the deccanherald.com Internet site at 8:43 a.m. IST on their Sunday morning, which was 9:43 p.m. in New York on Saturday evening — EST plus 11 hours.  I found this in a GATA dispatch — and another link to it is here.


Gold Re-Monetization is Much Closer Than Many Realize

Monetary policy is largely responsible for the market conditions we have today. Whether we like it or not, central planning in the capital markets will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Capital flows will be as much a function of market fundamentals as they are of policy. This is very true for gold. Gold was formally de-monetized in 1978 with the Jamaica Accord. It is now being re-monetized. This paper aims to answer the questions of how and why.

Serious players in the world of finance are acquiring enormous sums of physical gold. In the last quarter alone (Q3 2018), central banks added 148 metric tonnes of physical gold to their reserves.

February 2018 marked a major turning point for gold –monetary gold to be more specific – when the Swiss National Pension Fund switched out of synthetic gold derivates into physical gold. Monetary gold is defined, in the new Basel III banking capital rules, as “physical gold held in their own vaults or in trust.”

The Swiss decision complied with the new banking standards regarding capital adequacy as it relates to solvency and viability. All Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFI) must comply with the new rules for Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSF) and Liquidity by January 2019. Lessons learned from the last liquidity crisis, when Lehman Brothers nearly caused a global financial meltdown, forced a rethink in how assets held on an institution’s balance sheet are to be valued. Counterparty risk became extremely important again. In short, when trust between SIFIs fails, liquidity dries up as lending ceases due to solvency fears. The need for liquidity was a key change in the creation of the new standards, and it shone a spotlight on an asset that had largely been ignored for this purpose – physical gold.

The gold market is bigger than all financial markets – exceeded only by bond and money markets. A point to consider here is that gold is not traded at the commodity desks of large banks. It is traded at the currency desks. And a  staggering $250 billion worth of gold changes hands on a daily basis via the London Metals Exchange.

The Basel Committee on Banking Standards (BCBS) scrapped the old Basel II framework and put in place a plan that will be fully realized by all SIFIs by 2019. This new system is already in place in Canada, as confirmed by Canada’s top financial regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). Under the previous rules, gold was rated as aTier 3 asset (there are now only two Tiers), and had a 50% Risk Weighting Assessment (RWA). This meant that an institution that held gold reserves on its balance sheet could only apply half of its market value towards its solvency requirements. Under Basel III, monetary gold now qualifies as a Tier 1 asset, and is 100% valued for the purposes of banking viability. Another point to consider is that SIFIs are now required to quadruple their reserves when compared to the previous minimum requirements before the banking crisis. Essentially, monetary gold is now considered risk free. This significant development remains relatively unknown – for now.

This very interesting commentary, which is over two months old now, appeared on bmg-group.com Internet site back on November 14, 2018 — and it comes to us courtesy of Larry Galearis.  Another link to it is here.


The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES

Here are two more photos in the series titled “Wildlife photographer of the year people’s choice award” that appeared on The Guardian‘s website back on December 26 — and they’re courtesy of Patricia Caulfield.

This first photo is entitled: “Curious Encounter” by photographer Cristobal Serrano.  The caption reads “Any close encounter with an animal in the vast wilderness of Antarctica happens by chance, so Cristobal was thrilled by this spontaneous meeting with a crabeater seal off of Cuverville Island, Antarctic peninsula. These curious creatures are protected and, with few predators, thrive. Click to enlarge.

This second photo is entitled:  “The Bat’s Wake” by photographer Toni Leiva Sanchez.  The caption reads “After several months of field research into a little colony of greater mouse-eared bats in Sucs, Lleida, Spain, Antonio managed to capture this bat mid-flight. He used a technique of high speed photography with flashes combined with continuous light to create the ‘wake’.”  Click to enlarge.


The WRAP

With no markets open in the U.S. yesterday, there are no updated 6-month charts for any of the Big 6 commodities.  Gold, silver and palladium had new intraday low set for this move down…if that’s what they turn out to be — and silver closed a few more pennies below its 200-day moving average.

But what happened in Monday trading in the precious metals will be folded into Tuesday’s price action when stockcharts.com updates their precious metal graphs after the COMEX closes today.

Here’s a photo I’ve had sitting on my desktop for the last little while — and since I have nothing to talk about that I didn’t mention in my Saturday column, I thought I’d post it here.

These are palladium bars from Norilsk’s refining hub on the Kola Peninsula in the Murmansk Region of Russia… JSC Kolskaya Mining and Metallurgical Company (Kola MMC).  Each bar weighs a bit over 3 kilograms…just under 7 pounds.  I borrowed it from a story on the sputniknews.com Internet site some time ago.  Click to enlarge.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that the gold price began to chop quietly lower once trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST in New York on Sunday evening. That lasted until around 1 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon — and about thirty minutes later it began to head higher — and at the moment it’s up 70 cents the ounce. Of course silver followed an almost identical path — and it’s back at unchanged currently. Platinum ticked at few dollars higher at the Sunday evening open in New York, but that wasn’t allow to last — and its price path was very similar to both silver and gold’s after that. It’s down 3 bucks. Palladium traded flat until minutes after 3 p.m. CST on their Monday afternoon. It jumped higher at that point — and is up 5 dollars as Zurich opens.

Net HFT gold volume is around 36,500 contracts — and there’s about 8,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that. Net HFT silver volume is about 8,700 contracts — and there’s only about 340 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.  These are net of Monday’s volume numbers.

The dollar index opened about unchanged once trading began in New York at 7:45 p.m. EST on Sunday evening, which was 8:45 a.m. in Shanghai on their Monday morning. From that juncture, it chopped quietly sideways until about 11:25 a.m. CST — and began to edge quietly higher from there. And as of 7:45 a.m. GMT in London, it’s up 10 basis points.

Well, Trump’s attempt to end the government shut-down didn’t go too well — and unless there’s a breakthrough behind the scenes that is announced out of the blue, there’s no end in sight to all of this.  Of course, the casualty that concerns us, is the lack of COT or Bank Participation Reports.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EST, I see that gold has rallied a bit more in the first hour of London trading — and is up $4.10 an ounce currently. Silver is up 4 cents. Platinum is struggling higher — and is down 2 dollars at the moment. But as for palladium, the bids got pulled shortly after trading began in Zurich — and it fell like the proverbial stone. It’s down 17 bucks at the moment.

Gross gold volume is a bit under 61,500 contracts — and net of roll-over/switch volume, net HFT gold volume is just under 41,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 11,500 contracts — and there’s only 383 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal. These numbers are all net of Monday’s figures as well.

The dollar index has been chopping quietly sideways during the first hour of London/Zurich trading — and as of about 8:45 a.m. GMT/9:45 a.m. CET, it’s up 5 basis points.

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

Ed