Another High Close For Palladium on Tuesday

20 March 2019 — Wednesday


It was yet another very quiet day in gold on Tuesday — and it was only allowed to trade within a ten dollar price range.  It was up four dollars or so by around 1 p.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday afternoon — and then headed lower until London opened.  From that juncture it rallied quietly and unevenly higher until the price was capped a few minutes after 9 a.m. in New York.  It was sold down a few dollars until shortly before 1 p.m. EDT — and then didn’t do much of anything after that.

Once again, the low and high ticks aren’t worth looking up.

Gold was closed at $1,306.00 spot, up $2.70 on the day.  Net volume was a bit heavier than it was on Monday, but not by an amount that really mattered…166,500 contracts.  There was 42,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of April and into future months.

The silver price was forced to trade in a similar fashion to gold — and their respective Kitco charts look almost identical.

There’s no need to look up the low and high ticks in this precious metal, either.

Silver was closed yesterday at $15.345 spot, up 2.5 cents on the day.  I thought Monday’s volume was fumes and vapours, but Tuesday’s volume was even less than that at a bit under 37,500 contracts — and there was only 2,433 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.

The platinum price chopped quietly sideways until Zurich opened — and then it began to head higher from there, but ran into ‘something’ at the afternoon gold fix in London.  After a down/up move of five or so dollars in the following two hours, it traded quietly sideways until the market closed at 5:00 pm. EDT in New York.  Platinum finished the Tuesday session at $851 spot, up 18 dollars on the day.

Palladium had a bit of a roller coaster ride on Tuesday.  It was up 21 dollars by 9 a.m. CET in Zurich, but was sold lower starting a few minutes after 9 a.m. in New York — and the low tick of the day was set shortly after the Zurich close.  The palladium price struggled higher from there until around 1 p.m. EDT — and then didn’t do much of anything after that.  It ended the day at $1,571 spot, up 11 bucks — and at another new high.

The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 96.52 — and opened unchanged once trading began at 7:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening.  It began to head quietly lower from there — and the 96.29 low tick was set 11:08 a.m. GMT in London.  From that point it chopped quietly, but very unevenly higher until trading ended at 5:15 p.m. EDT in New York.  The dollar index finished the Tuesday session at 96.38…down 14 basis points from Monday’s close.

Here’s the DXY chart, courtesy of BloombergClick to enlarge.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of the people over at the Internet site — and the delta between its close…95.83…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 55 basis points on Tuesday.  Click to enlarge.

The gold stocks gapped up about 1.5 percent once trading began in New York on their Tuesday morning — and that was their highs of the day.  They headed lower until around 10:40 a.m. EDT — and then rallied a bit over the next hour.  From there, the gold shares chopped quietly sideways until about 2:35 p.m. — and it was mostly down hill from there until the markets closed at 4:00 p.m. in New York.  The HUI finished higher by only 0.06 percent.  Call it unchanged.

The silver equities traded in a mostly similar fashion — and their nice gains on the day began to evaporate starting around 2:35 p.m. EDT as well.  That continued right into the close, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up only 0.15 percent…back at almost unchanged as well.  Click to enlarge.

And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Tuesday’s data.  Click to enlarge.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 20 gold and 20 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.

In gold, the largest of the three short/issuers was JPMorgan, with 15 contracts out of its client account.  There were five long/stoppers in total, with Advantage and Morgan Stanley being the two biggest, picking up 7 and 6 contracts for their respective client accounts as well.

In silver, Morgan Stanley issued all 20 contracts out of its client account. ADM, Advantage and Morgan Stanley picked up 11, 7 and 2 contracts for their respective client accounts.

The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in March rose by 15 contracts, leaving 36 still around, minus the 20 contracts mentioned a few short paragraphs ago.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 5 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 5+15=20 more gold contracts just got added to March — and those are the ones that are probably out for Thursday delivery…as per the above Daily Delivery Report.  Silver o.i. in March rose by 19 contracts, leaving 84 still open, minus the 20 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 1 silver contract was actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 1+19=20 more silver contracts just got added to the March delivery month and, like for the gold deliveries on Thursday, those are most likely the same 20 contracts mentioned in Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report.

There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant removed 37,781 troy ounces — and there were no reported changes in SLV.

There were no reported sales from the U.S. Mint yesterday.

There was no reported movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday.

There was some activity in silver, as one truckload…600,297 troy ounces…was reported received at CNT.  There was 52,750 troy ounces shipped out…of which 50,776 departed CNT — and the remaining 1,974 troy ounces was shipped out of Delaware.  The link to this is here.

There was also some activity in over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday.  They received 1,000 of them — and shipped out 153.  All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.

The Treasure of Villena is one of the greatest hoard finds of gold of the European Bronze Age. It comprises 59 objects made of gold, silver, iron and amber with a total weight of almost 10 kilos, 9 of them of 23.5 karat gold. This makes it the most important find of prehistoric gold in the Iberian Peninsula and second in Europe, just behind that from the Royal Graves in Mycenae, Greece.

The gold pieces include eleven bowls, three bottles and 28 bracelets.

The iron pieces are the oldest found in the Iberian Peninsula and correspond to a stage in which iron was considered to be a precious metal, and so was hoarded. The archaeologists estimate the date of this trove at c. 1000 B.C.

The hoard was found in December 1963 by archaeologist José María Soler 5 km from Villena, and since then has been the main attraction of Villena’s Archaeological Museum.  Click to enlarge.

I have a decent number of stories for you today.


Core U.S. Factory Orders Tumble For 3rd Straight Month

Having declined for two straight months, core factory orders were expected to rebound in (shutdown-delayed) January data, but it disappointed notably, dropping 0.2% MoM.

This is the longest streak of weakness in U.S. core factory orders since Feb 2016…

Is there something magical about the $420 billion level of core factory orders?

Year-over-year growth in core factory orders was just 1.8% – the weakest since Trump’s election in November 2016.

Headline factory orders also disappointed, rising only 0.1% MoM (less than the 0.3% rise expected).

This brief 2-chart Zero Hedge article showed up on their website at 10:06 a.m. on Tuesday morning EST — and it comes to us courtesy of Brad Robertson.  Another link to it is here.

King Report: Overnight stock futures have been manipulated upward for years

Once again someone juiced E-Mini S&P Index futures (ESMs) during early European trading Tuesday. The manipulation of ESMs during the wee hours in the U.S. creates the psychology that induces other traders, particularly the momentum investors, to get long for the coming session.

There is a long pattern going back to the 1990s of overnight manipulation of S&P 500 futures to arrest negative sentiment and create a cycle of equity buying that spreads from Europe to the U.S.

The overnight manipulation became so blatant that saner angels would check to see which firms were “fooling” around with the S&P futures on Globex during off-session trading. Manipulators then pressured the powers that be not to disclose the identity of the firms that were trading the futures. The secrecy continues to this day.

The ESM manipulation commenced during the second hour of European trading. ESMs rallied 11 handles within two hours. But that was the top. From 6:53 a.m. ET until the European close, ESMs gyrated wildly with a downward bias until someone juiced ESMs for the European close. …

It is crystal clear that someone, probably from Team Mnuchin, keeps leaking positive U.S.-China trade stories to The Wall Street Journal. It is evident that the leaks are intended to boost stock prices. Qui bono?

The above five paragraphs are all there is to this brief commentary that appeared on the Internet site late last night.

All Aboard the DebtBall Express — Bill Bonner

Stocks are chugging along, with the Dow nudging back to nearly 26,000.

But the economy seems to be giving way beneath them. Economist Gary Shilling:

The recessionary indicators are numerous. Tighter monetary policy by the Federal Reserve that the central bank now worries it may have overdone. The near-inversion in the Treasury yield curve. The swoon in stocks at the end of last year. Weaker housing activity. Soft consumer spending. The tiny 20,000 increase in February payrolls, compared to the 223,000 monthly average gain last year. Then there are the effects of the deteriorating European economies and decelerating growth in China as well as President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade war with that country.”

Recession ahead? Surely. But when?

We’ll wait to find out, along with everyone else. And then, we will find out something else – that President Trump’s budget projections are pure fantasy.

POTUS’ budget comes in at $4.7 trillion. A $750 billion increase to the military and $8.6 billion for The Wall. It also presumes a 3% annual growth rate in GDP, with no recession. Neither of those things will happen.

This commentary from Bill appeared on the Internet site on Tuesday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.

A Recipe for Massive Government Spending — Jim Rickards

I try to avoid partisan politics in my analysis. And I never try to tell people how to vote or what they should think. I trust my readers to make their own judgments. But sometimes I can’t avoid partisan politics because they can have a major impact on markets and the economy.

Leading Democratic presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders have expressed desires to increase income taxes to 70% or even 90% on the rich, impose “wealth taxes” on their net worth and impose estate taxes that are equally onerous when they die.

The result would be that working people would pay state and local income tax on their wages, super-high income taxes on interest and dividends and annual wealth taxes and whatever was left over would be confiscated when they die.

In case you think these proposals are too extreme to become law, you might want to check out the polls. Recent polls show 74% of registered voters support a 2% annual wealth tax on those with $50 million of assets and 3% on those with $1 billion of assets.

Don’t assume you’re exempt just because your annual income is lower. Those tax thresholds are on wealth, not income, and could include stocks, bonds, business equity and intangible business equity for doctors, dentists and lawyers.

This commentary from Jim was posted on the Internet site on Tuesday — and I thank Brad Robertson for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

The Road Ahead for the Dollar — Hugo Salinas Price

The fundamental crime habitually committed by bankers has been to “lend long and borrow short”. This means, to lend money for a long term, for a high interest rate, and fund the operation with low-interest money which is returnable to the depositor either after a short period of time, or even immediately, at the depositors option – which inevitably leads to illiquidity and banking collapse.  This is what had to cause the crisis of 1907 in NYC.

After the 1907 crisis, the top bankers in NYC decided that it was time to set up a system which would avert banking crises: they got together in secret, at the famous Jekyll Island, to cook-up their scheme, and came up with the idea to found a “Federal Reserve”, which would serve to bail-out banks that got into trouble by “lending long and borrowing short”.

There is nothing “Federal” about the “Federal Reserve” – it is a private corporation formed by big banks, which are shareholders.

The public was told that the Federal Reserve would guarantee the safety of deposits, in a banking system which would operate under FR supervision. However, the banks that made the most money were the ones that broke the rules the most, and so what happened, had to happen: they all broke the rules – they all became illiquid zombies – as no banker wanted to get left behind, in the scramble for profits from bad banking.

This explains why the Fed dollar is now worth only 0.000769 oz. of gold. And it also tells us, if we want to know, what lies ahead…

This worthwhile commentary from Hugo showed up on the Internet site on Tuesday.  I found it on the Internet site — and another link to it is here.

Nostalgia for coups past? Brazil’s Bolsonaro visits CIA before Trump on first U.S. trip

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made his geopolitical priorities clear, dropping by CIA headquarters for a clandestine chat on his first visit to the U.S. before even meeting with President Donald Trump.

Bolsonaro’s visit was not published on his agenda and members of the press were barred at the door while the president and his justice minister, Sergio Moro, hobnobbed with the spooks at the agency’s Langley HQ.

Moro, as Ben Norton pointed out on Twitter, led Operation Car Wash – the “money laundering investigation” that resulted in former President Dilma Rousseff’s replacement with the US-linked Michel Temer.

The National Security Agency had been wiretapping Rousseff for years, WikiLeaks revealed, making it that much easy to replace her with a compliant patsy – whose weakness Bolsonaro could then use as a springboard for his own reactionary candidacy. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, the right-wing government was no longer even trying to hide its allegiance to an agency that has thought nothing of overthrowing regimes it finds inconvenient in the past.

But the Brazilians weren’t just there to reminisce about coups past. The agenda of the day was Venezuela, where Bolsonaro has thus far been reluctant to allow Trump to use his country as a staging ground for an invasion.

No Brazilian president had ever paid a visit to the CIA,” former Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim told the AP, calling Bolsonaro’s move “an explicitly submissive position.”

This news story showed up on the Internet site at 11:33 p.m. Moscow time on their Monday night, which was 4:33 p.m. in Washington — EDT plus 7 hours.  It was updated about nine hours later.  I thank George Whyte for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.  There was a parallel story to this from the Internet site headlined “U.S. strongly looking at NATO membership for Brazil — Trump” — and that’s courtesy of George as well.

Venezuela Opposition Seizes Diplomatic Properties In U.S., Plans Embassy Takeover

In its latest major forced intervention in Venezuelan affairs Washington has now allowed Venezuela’s pro-Guaido opposition to take control of diplomatic properties. Reuters reported this week that opposition representatives are now in control of three such Venezuelan diplomatic properties in the U.S. — two buildings belonging to Venezuela’s defense ministry in Washington and one consular building in New York — confirmed by Guaido’s U.S. envoy on Monday.

The U.S. State Department has welcomed the move, encouraging the seizure of Venezuela’s embassy in Washington from the U.N.-recognized government of “illegitimate” President Nicolas Maduro. Guado’s representative, envoy Carlos Vecchio, said Monday the opposition group plans to take control of the embassy itself in Washington “in the days to come.”

We are taking these steps in order to preserve the assets of the Venezuelans here in this country,” Vecchio said while speaking from the office of Venezuela’s military attaché to Washington.

According to Reuters the opposition’s first act was to remove Maduro portraits from the buildings and replace them with Guaido images, photographs of which was then circulated among western media.

To be expected, a U.S. State Department spokesman told reporters the United States was “pleased to support these requests” regarding takeover of consular and other offices from Caracas’ oversight and security. This comes following the U.S. withdrawing all of its own diplomatic and State Department personnel from Venezuela last week.

Venezuela’s foreign ministry was quick to condemn the “violation of international law” regarding the buildings, urging U.S. authorities to “take the necessary measures to immediately reverse this forcible occupation” of its diplomatic offices.

And it doesn’t appear that the building seizures were the result of sudden mass defections among Venezuela’s diplomatic corps either, though a defected military attache could be seen in photographs supporting the move.

Wow!  Are there no international laws that the U.S. won’t break???  This Zero Hedge news item was posted on their Internet site at 6:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening — and another link to it is here.

Germany Makes Its Big Bank Problem Even Bigger — Bloomberg Editorial Board

Germany has come up with a solution to the deep troubles at one of the world’s largest banks: make it part of an even bigger one. The people who oversee Europe’s financial system had better be ready for the consequences if this doesn’t end well.

The Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank is in talks to merge with crosstown rival Commerzbank — a move that Germany’s finance ministry has favored for months. The result would be a behemoth with assets of about 1.8 trillion euros, equivalent to more than half of Germany’s annual economic output; the merged bank would be Europe’s third biggest after the U.K.’s HSBC and France’s BNP Paribas.

The deal is a short-term answer to a politically fraught question — what to do about a struggling and systemically important institution. After a series of unsuccessful turnaround efforts, Deutsche Bank has been in what its own chief financial officer described as “a vicious circle of declining revenues, sticky expenses, lowered ratings and rising funding costs,” exacerbated by numerous international money-laundering probes. The proposed merger will provide a brief respite, but is unlikely to solve the underlying problems.

The combined bank will be able to reduce costs by cutting staff. However, the deal won’t lessen competition from hundreds of regional public-sector banks for relatively inexpensive deposit funding. It won’t help Deutsche figure out how to handle its legal issues, or revive or dispose of its investment banking unit. In fact, the complications of merging have the potential to distract attention from the real issues that both institutions and Germany’s entire banking industry need to address.

This editorial commentary was posted on the Internet site at 10:30 p.m. EDT on Monday night — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

Germany Backpedals on NATO Spending Promise as France Goes Full Throttle

Germany is poised to renege on its promise to boost NATO spending, backtracking on a public commitment last year by Chancellor Angela Merkel to increase German military expenditure to 1.5% of gross domestic product by 2024 – bringing it closer to the 2% level set by NATO themselves, according to The Wall Street Journal.

If confirmed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the move would mark a fresh step in the gradual estrangement between the U.S. and its erstwhile loyal European ally and comes after Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders for not meeting a 2% military-spending target.” — The Wall Street Journal

Berlin currently spends around €43 billion ($49 billion), equal to just over 1.2% of GDP on defense. Under a new plan unveiled on Monday by the finance ministry, the spending would rise to just 1.37% of GDP next year, then decrease again to 1.33% in 2019, 1.29% in 2022 and 1.25% in 2023.

The commitment we have made to NATO states that spending should reach 2% if the budget conditions allow for it. We haven’t abandoned the target but it remains a challenge that the federal government wants to master,” said a senior government official.

Berlin’s change of heart is the second recent rebuke of President Trump – who publicly embarrassed Germany during a July 2018 bilateral breakfast over their reliance on Russian energy.

This Zero Hedge story put in an appearance on their website at 2:45 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning — and another link to it is here.

Land and sea sections of natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey connected

The last joint connecting offshore and land sections of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline have been welded, Russian media reported, citing the project’s operator South Stream Transport B.V.
The operator said on Tuesday that the event represents the completion of all works on the gas transmission system via the Black Sea.

During the technical operation called the “above-water tie-in,” the length running along the bottom of the Black Sea and the one lying on the land were lifted on a special platform to connect them into a single pipeline, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, as cited by RIA. After the lines of the pipeline were connected, the offshore section was lowered back into the sea to a depth of 32 meters.

The Turkish Stream, also known as TurkStream, is set to be ready for commercial operations in late 2019 after the construction of a terminal near the Turkish town of Kiyikoy.

The Turkish Stream consists of two lines with an annual capacity to deliver 31.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The 930km offshore section, completed in November, runs along the bottom of the Black Sea from Russia to the Turkish coast. Its 180km land section stretches further through Turkey to deliver gas to the countries of southern and southeastern Europe.

This new item put in an appearance on the Internet site at 11:49 a.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday morning, which was 4:49 a.m. in Washington — EDT plus 7 hours.  I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to my attention — and now to yours — and another link to it is here.

U.S. sanctions Venezuela gold mining company for backing Maduro

The United States imposed sanctions on Tuesday against Venezuela’s state-run gold mining company Minerven and its president, Adrian Perdomo, accusing them of illicit operations and propping up the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The announcement comes days after Uganda said it was investigating its biggest gold refinery for importing Venezuelan gold. Washington has imposed half a dozen rounds of sanctions against Maduro and senior Venezuelan officials as it tries to choke off funding to the government. It has warned gold traders not to deal in Venezuelan gold or oil.

Treasury is targeting gold processor Minerven and its president for propping up the inner circle of the corrupt Maduro regime,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Maduro is under intense pressure to step down amid a deep economic crisis in Venezuela and as the government faces widespread international condemnation after he was re-elected last year in a vote that has been seen as fraudulent.

We will aggressively pursue those involved with Maduro’s reckless illicit gold trade which is contributing to this financial, humanitarian, and environmental crisis,” Mnuchin said.

Another flagrant violation of international law by the U.S.  This gold-related Reuters story was posted on their Internet site at 7:42 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning — and was updated about five hours later.  I found it in a GATA dispatch the Chris Powell filed from Saigon early on their Wednesday morning — and another link to it is here.

Tanzania sets up mineral trading centers to curb illegal gold exports

Tanzania has ordered all mineral-producing regions in the East African nation to set up government-controlled trading centers by the end of June, accelerating efforts to curb illegal exports of gold and other precious minerals.

The trading centers will give small-scale miners direct access to a formal, regulated market where they can go and directly trade their gold. They currently struggle to access formal gold dealers who mostly based in the capital Dar es Salam and major towns.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said the first mineral trading center was inaugurated in the northwestern town of Geita on Sunday, close to the country’s biggest gold mine owned by South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti.

All mineral-producing regions should set up these trading centers as soon as possible to serve small miners,” the statement quoted Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa as saying while commissioning the center in Geita.

This very interesting Reuters story, filed from Dar es Salaam, showed up on their website  at 8:01 a.m. EDT on Monday morning — and I found it on the Internet site.  Another link to it is here.

Is the world running out of gold?

The murmurs that the world is running out of gold deposits have grown louder in the past two years.

Several experts and industry magnates, including Canadian miner Goldcorp’s chairman, Ian Telfer, have forecast a perpetual decline in gold production from its current peak.

Gold production reaching its peak levels is nothing new. The production of the yellow metal has reached its highest levels on at least four occasions in the past before witnessing sharp declines.

But many say there is something that makes the current gold peak stand out: There is simply no new major gold deposit left to be discovered.

The largest and most prolific reserves have already been found,” Matthew Miller, an analyst at CFRA Research, told DW. “Gold miners are struggling to grow reserves in line with their production.”

Of course there is lot of gold to mine…but certainly not at the current price, or anything even resembling it.  This longish gold-related commentary showed up on the German website on Tuesday sometime — and I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch the Chris Powell filed from Saigon yesterday.  Another link to it is here.

Palladium Panic: Bid to Record Highs as Putin Corners Market

Palladium soared to a new record high over $1,600 an ounce overnight, up 27% year-to-date, as global supply concerns dominate slumping-auto-demand fears.

Palladium has become the precious-est of precious metals in 2019…up a stunning 89% from its August 2018 dip lows.

Even as auto sales in key markets slow around the world, Bloomberg reports that demand for the metal – mainly used in auto catalytic-converters in gasoline vehicles – has remained robust as manufacturers scramble to get hold of palladium to meet more stringent emissions controls, particularly in China.

Though there are concerns that auto sales are falling, the supply deficit problem is offsetting it,” said Ajay Kedia, director at Kedia Commodities in Mumbai, adding the market is highly overbought.

The metal’s rally is even stirring debate about whether automakers can make the switch to cheaper platinum to help control their costs.

We remain bullish on palladium since the physical palladium market remains tight and it will take years to substitute,” analysts at Citigroup Inc. wrote in a March 19 report.

However, at these higher prices we are acknowledging the increase in downside risks relating to potential substitution headlines.”

However, it is the supply-side of the equation that warrants more geopolitically-relevant analysis as Reuters reports that Russia is mulling a ban on the export of precious metals scrap and tailings to promote domestic refining of the materials.

Putin has precious little to do with this situation, dear reader, but it makes for a sensational headline — and more clicks on the story.  This ‘news’ item appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 9:15 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.  The folks over at had a story about palladium headlined “Forget gold: Palladium is the undisputed precious metals champion” — and I’d guess that ZH borrowed it — and embellished it considerably.  I found that one on Sharps Pixley.


Here are two photos of trumpeter swans that I took back on December 9…just before winter hit in full force on the Thompson Plateau.  This was on a drive between Merritt and Princeton on B.C. Highway 5A.  I didn’t have my telephoto with me, so I had to use the maximum zoom on my ‘walk-around’ lens…which is 70 mm — and this is the best I could do, even with judicious cropping.  The second shot just shows more of the general area around them.  Winter is not a pretty time to take pictures of anything…especially of critters with little or no colour.  Click to enlarge.


Sometimes people do not want to hear the truth because they do not want their illusions destroyed.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

It was another one of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Days” on Tuesday, as the price action in all four precious metals was very similar to what happened on Monday…including a new high close in palladium.

Like I’ve been saying recently, with volumes this light in both gold and silver, it’s easy for anyone who wishes to do so, to keep their respective prices in line — and that occurred again yesterday.

Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities — and except for the aforementioned new high in palladium, there’s not a lot to see in Tuesday’s charts, either.  Click to enlarge.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, the London and Zurich are a few minutes away from opening and I note that gold was sold a few dollars lower by 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Wednesday morning — and from that point it drifted sideways until just before the 2:15 p.m. CST afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It rose back to unchanged from there, but the moment that the “fix was in” it was sold lower — and is down $3.30 the ounce. Silver was guided on an exactly similar price path — and it’s now down 7 cents. Platinum was up 5 dollars or so by shortly before 11 a.m. CST — and it hasn’t done much since — and is currently up 4 bucks. Ditto for palladium — and it’s currently up 3 dollars as the Zurich open looms.

Gross gold volume is something over 49,500 contracts — and minus the current roll-over/switch volume out of April and into future months, net HFT gold volume is around 41,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is 9,100 contracts — and there’s only 807 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.

The dollar index opened up a couple of basis points once trading began around 7:45 p.m. EDT in New York on Tuesday evening — and was up 10 basis points by 9:22 a.m. China Standard Time on their Wednesday morning. It fell a small handful of basis points from there — and has been chopping sideways ever since. But at 3:20 p.m. CST, it began to rally sharply — and is now up 15 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. GMT in London/8:45 a.m. CET in Zurich.

Yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report.  Looking at the 5-day trading action in silver and gold on their respective 6-month charts above, I’m not about to offer an opinion on what that report might contain.  That’s partly because of the embarrassing miss from last week, plus it’s really hard to tell from the dojis.  Ted may have an opinion his mid-week commentary this afternoon — and if he does, I’ll pass along a few sentences in my Friday missive.

Also today, Jerome Powell will be blowing smoke up everyone’s backsides starting thirty minutes after the COMEX close — and as I always say at this point, it will be interesting to see how the markets react, or are allowed to react, even before he opens his mouth.

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