10 April 2019 — Wednesday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price rose and fell a couple of dollars in Far East trading on their Tuesday — and was back at about unchanged by the London open. It began to wander higher from there — and back above the $1,300 spot mark, but ran into ‘something’ very shortly after the COMEX open in New York. From that juncture it was sold quietly and unevenly lower for the remainder of the Tuesday session.
It was yet another day where the low and high ticks in gold aren’t worth looking up.
Gold finished the day at $1,303.70 spot, up $6.60 from Monday’s close. Net volume was nothing special at around 191,700 contracts — and there was a tiny bit over 9,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
It was virtually the same price path for silver as it was for gold, except once the price was capped minutes after the COMEX open, the price was sold lower a bit more aggressively — and silver finished the Tuesday session in the red by a few pennies.
The low and high ticks aren’t worth looking up in this precious metal, either.
Silver was closed at $15.19 spot, down 3 cents on the day. Net volume was very quiet for the second day in a row at a hair under 42,000 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume was pretty heavy at around 21,300 contracts.
Platinum was sold down a bit over ten dollars shortly after trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Monday evening. It gained a bunch of that back in very short order — and proceeded to chop very unevenly sideways until shortly after the COMEX open in New York. The price got leaned on at that point — and its low tick of the day was set right at the COMEX close. The price didn’t do much after that. Platinum was closed at $890 spot, down $17 on the day.
Palladium was sold generally lower, with the low coming shortly before the Zurich open. It rallied very unevenly from there, with the high of the day coming at the afternoon gold fix in London, or noon in New York…you choose. Like palladium, it was sold lower into the COMEX close from that point — and didn’t do a lot after that. Palladium was closed at $1,371 spot, up 9 dollars on the day.
The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 97.05 — and opened up 3 basis points once trading began at 7:44 p.m. EDT in New York on Monday evening, which was 7:44 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning. It proceeded to chop quietly lower from there — and the 96.86 low tick was set a minute or so after 9 a.m. in New York. The index began to chop quietly higher from there — and all the gains that mattered were in by a few minutes before the 1:30 p.m. EDT COMEX close. From that point, it chopped quietly sideways into the close. The dollar index finished the day 97.01…down 4 basis points from Monday’s close.
Here’s the DXY chart, courtesy of Bloomberg. Click to enlarge.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of stockcharts.com — and the delta between its close…96.09…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 92 basis points on Tuesday. Click to enlarge.
The gold shares opened up a bit — and then proceeded to chop very quietly sideways until around noon in New York trading. They faded a bit from there, hitting their respective lows…such as they were…around the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close. They managed to rally from that point — and made it back into positive territory by a bit, as the HUI closed higher by 0.54 percent.
In most respects, the price action in the silver equities was similar to the gold stocks, except a tad weaker. Their lows came a few minutes after the COMEX close — and although they managed to make it back into the green by a bit after that, they struggled to stay in positive territory. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 0.17 percent…not what the chart says. When Nick updated the date very late on Tuesday night, the Silver 7 showed down 0.43 percent, which I don’t believe. Nick said this would sort itself tomorrow. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s the 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Tuesday’s doji — and it should show up 0.17 percent, not down 0.43 percent. Click to enlarge as well.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 12 gold and 1 silver contract were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.
In gold, the largest short/issuer was Advantage, with 11 contracts out of their client account. They also picked up 4 contracts as long/stopper. The other two long/stoppers of note were Citigroup and HSBC USA, with 4 and 3 contracts for their respective in-house/proprietary trading account.
The lone silver contract was issued by R.J. O’Brien — and stopped by JPMorgan. Both transactions involved their respective client accounts.
The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in April fell by 20 contracts, leaving 325 still open, minus the 12 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 20 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so the change in open interest and deliveries match. Silver o.i. in April rose by 1 contract, leaving 16 still around, minus the 1 contract mentioned just above. Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero silver contracts were posted for delivery today, so that means that 1 more silver contract was just added to the April delivery month.
For the seventh day in a row there was a withdrawal from GLD, as an authorized participant took out 84,988 troy ounces. Once again, there were no reported changes in SLV.
The folks over at the shortsqueeze.com Internet site updated their short position data for both SLV and GLD yesterday evening for positions held at the close of trading on Friday, March 29 — and it showed that the short position in SLV rose from 9,864,700 shares/troy ounces, up to 10,453,300 shares/troy ounces, which is an increase of 6.0 percent. The short position in GLD declined from 1,657,950 to 1,457,400 troy ounces, a decline of 12.1 percent.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.
There was a bit of activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved gold depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday. Nothing was reported received — and only 14,708.436 troy ounces/457 kilobars [SGE kilobar weight] was shipped out of HSBC USA. There was also a small paper transfer of 1,580.355 troy ounces/49 kilobars [SGE kilobar weight] from the Registered category — and back into Eligible over at Delaware. The link to all this is here.
And just as a note of interest, all the COMEX deliveries in gold this week have been of the kilobar variety, with no exceptions. I’ve never seen that before — and what it most likely means is that, slowly but surely, the 400 ounce good delivery bar is going the way of the Dodo bird.
It was busier in silver, as 1,084,129 troy ounces were received — and only 208,186 troy ounces were shipped out. Of the ‘in’ activity, there was one truckload…600,327 troy ounces…that departed CNT — and the remaining 483,802 troy ounces left Scotiabank’s depository. All the ‘out’ activity was at Scotiabank as well. The link to this is here.
There was some activity over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday. They reported receiving 180 of them — and shipped out 184. All this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. of course — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
The deposit was discovered in 1912 in the village of Mala Pereshchepina (20 km from Poltava, Ukraine) by a boy shepherd who stumbled over a golden vessel and fell into what is sometimes believed to be the grave of Kubrat, the founder of Great Bulgaria and father of Asparuh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire. The hoard, first described by Makarenko, was extracted under the supervision of Count Aleksey Bobrinsky, a renowned archaeologist, who published its description in 1914. Although Kubrat’s link to the hoard seems certain, the exact nature of the site, grave or treasure, is disputed, since neither human remains nor indisputable evidence of a funeral device are reported to have been found.
The hoard contains more than 800 pieces, now preserved in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. There are 19 silver vessels and 16 gold vessels, including a striking rhyton and remains of another. The official website of the museum speaks about…
“…a staff with gold facing, a well-preserved iron sword with an end in the form of a ring and gold facing on the hilt and scabbard… gold jewellery — a torque, an earring, seven bracelets and seven rings with inlays of precious stones (amethysts, sapphires, tiger-eyes, garnets, rock crystal, and emeralds)… and square gold plaques for the facing of a wooden funeral construction.”
The total weight of gold from the deposit exceeds 21 kilograms, that of silver objects 50 kilograms. Click to enlarge.
I have an average number of stores for you again today.
We left off yesterday by noting that the masses didn’t feel they should have to worry about deficits and debt.
They’ve been told that deficits don’t matter. And government finances are always a mystery, like the Virgin Birth and who shot JFK; it’s best not to ask too many questions.
Besides, why should they worry about it? They have elites to take care of things like that.
But like the masses themselves, the elite – the feds, their cronies, Wall Street, special interests, lobbyists, the Pentagon, the social welfare complex, the Deep State, and (generally) the rich – have been corrupted by fake money. They’ve grown accustomed to spending money neither they nor anyone else ever earned. And it’s a hard habit to break.
Fake money came from the Fed – $3.6 trillion of it between 2009 and 2019. Under the guise of “quantitative easing,” the Fed bought financial assets, mostly Treasuries. Yields sank. Stocks climbed. The ultra-rich got richer.
The Fed also kept interest rates below the rate of inflation – a giveaway, in other words – financing stock buybacks, mergers, acquisitions, bonuses, and other financial razzmatazz.
Altogether, the feds shifted about $30 trillion their way (a very rough estimate) and they weren’t about to give it up.
This interesting commentary from Bill appeared on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Tuesday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
If you want to know had badly Keynesian central banking has corrupted the financial discourse, just check into the current PC sensation of the week.
We are referring to Ray Dalio’s punking of the very capitalism under which his $160 billion hedge funds has become the largest in the world and his net worth has soared to a tidy $18 billion. Yet Sunday night he told millions of “60 Minutes” viewers that the American Dream is dead, capitalism is in desperate need of reform and that wealth, income and opportunity mal-distribution in the U.S. is so severe that the President should call an national emergency.
(We hear you, Ray, but please don’t encourage the Donald to declare any more national emergencies—the Mexican border one is stupid enough).
In any event, Dalio was just getting started, reprising on bubble-vision itself yesterday morning with further heaping loads of admonishment about why the system isn’t working anymore, and that among other things he and people like him need to be taxed good and hard. O.K. Ray, the Dems will send you a pretty hefty due bill in the spring of 2021 after they sweep the tables in the next election. But for crying out loud, can’t you explain why America has gone into reverse Robin Hood without resorting to the utterly incoherent babble you dispensed on CNBC this a.m.? After all, if the Billionaires Club is to be visited upon by a condign punishment of its own urging, the indictment ought to at least make sense, which Dalio’s 25 minutes of bloviation absolutely did not.
We might ordinarily be inclined to spare Dalio the embarrassment of this amazingly stupid clip, but the thing that needs be established is that not once did he mention the front, center and overwhelming cause of the baleful condition he rightly identifies.
To wit, wealth distribution in modern America started to go to hell in a hand basket about 1987, which is to say, the exact time in which Bubbles Alan Greenspan took over the Fed and discovered the printing press in the basement of the Eccles Building during the 22% market meltdown of October 19, 1987.
He would be right about that, dear reader. This long chart-filled rant by David was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 3:30 p.m on Tuesday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is here.
History has an extraordinary tendency to repeat itself time and again.
The same mistakes that rulers make in one era are repeated in subsequent eras. Political leaders have a nagging habit to want to grow governments to unmanageable proportions, invading other sovereign nations, whilst increasingly dominating the electorate at home.
Invariably, this proves extremely costly and the bill is always passed to the people, first in the form of taxation and, ultimately, in the form of confiscation. Eventually nations and empires collapse under the great weight of their own governments.
And, time after time, the same patterns are followed, particularly during the declining stages. Declining nations follow similar patterns with uncanny regularity.
Let’s have a look at just three – first, Rome – an ancient empire that collapsed, then Venezuela – a country that’s currently collapsing, then the U.S. — a country that’s well along in the process, but is just now entering the final stages prior to collapse.
This very worthwhile commentary from Jeff showed up on the internationalman.com Internet site on Tuesday morning sometime EDT — and another link to it is here.
Q4 was a notoriously difficult quarter for investment bank trading revenues, as the explosion of volatility caught banks flat-footed, despite an old truism on Wall Street that the sell-side typically benefits from the frenzied trading that typically comes with it. Yet, as global equities embarked on a torrid rally last quarter, it appears trading revenues haven’t improved in Q1, as both volatility and trading volume have fallen sharply.
Hence, after reports about impending cuts to its commodities business and its prop-trading arm surfaced earlier this year, it appears SocGen has finally made it official: The French bank said Tuesday that it’s planning to cut 1,600 investment-banking jobs. Most of the cuts – close to 1,200 positions – will be positions at its global banking and investor solutions division, according to Bloomberg.
While 750 of the cuts will focus on France, the rest will be spread across the bank’s international hubs in London and New York. All told, they represent about 8% of the bank’s GBIS unit, which houses its trading divisions and has a total headcount of about 20,000.
The cuts follow CEO Frederic Oudea’s decision to abandon his growth goals for the bank. The CEO’s failure to reverse a 40% drop in the bank’s share price over the past month have led to scorching criticism of his tenure, most notably by “bond king” Jeffrey Gundlach. Oudea, who has led the bank for 11 years, is facing a shareholder vote on his renewal at the bank’s May meeting.
This story put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 6:04 a.m. on Tuesday morning EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along. Another link to it is here.
Following Christine Lagarde’s warnings last week, The IMF has officially cut its outlook for global growth to the lowest since the financial crisis amid a worsening outlook in most major advanced economies and signs that higher tariffs are weighing on trade.
“Following a broad-based upswing in cyclical growth that lasted nearly two years, the global economic expansion decelerated in the second half of 2018,” the International Monetary Fund says in its latest World Economic Outlook.
“Activity softened amid an increase in trade tensions and tariff hikes between the United States and China, a decline in business confidence, a tightening of financial conditions, and higher policy uncertainty across many economies.”
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF forecasts that the world economy will grow 3.3% this year, down from the 3.5% the IMF had forecast for 2019 in January: Click to enlarge.
IMF says risks skewed to downside, citing trade tensions, softness in Europe, no-deal Brexit
- IMF lowers 2019 U.S. growth estimate to 2.3% vs 2.5% estimate in January
- IMF cuts euro-area growth forecast to 1.3% this year from 1.6%
- IMF lowers 2019 trade volume growth est. to 3.4% vs 4% in January
Every single country’s growth outlook was cut… except Nigeria!
This 2019 outlook will get cut again…and more than once most likely before the year is out. Their 2020 forecast is totally unattainable already. Try half that amount…or less. This Zero Hedge news item appeared on their Internet site at 9:12 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning — and I thank Brad Robertson for this one as well. Another link to it is here.
Investors have been speculating for years about the demise of the “petrodollar” deal struck by Henry Kissinger and Treasury Secretary William Simon in 1974.
It was first set up between the U.S. and Saudi princes to prop up the U.S. dollar. At the time, confidence in the dollar was on shaky ground because President Nixon had ended gold convertibility of dollars in 1971.
In 1974, the price of oil was skyrocketing, partly due to inflationary policies pursued by the Federal Reserve, and partly due to an Arab oil embargo in response to U.S. aid to Israel in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War of 1973.
The world economy was under threat unless a way could be found to “recycle” the dollars the Arabs were receiving back into U.S. banks. President Nixon and Henry Kissinger asked Simon to negotiate with Saudi Arabia on this issue.
Kissinger and Simon worked out a plan. If the Saudis would price oil in dollars, U.S. banks would hold the dollar deposits for the Saudis.
Behind this “deal” was a not so subtle threat to invade Saudi Arabia and take the oil by force. I personally discussed these invasion plans in the White House with Kissinger’s deputy, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, at the time. But the petrodollar plan worked brilliantly and the invasion never happened.
Another very worthwhile commentary, this one from Jim. It showed up on the dailyreckoning.com Internet site on Tuesday sometime…even though it’s datelined Monday. Another link to it is here.
Venezuela removed eight tonnes of gold from the central bank’s vaults last week, and the cash-strapped socialist state is expected to sell the bullion abroad as it seeks to raise hard currency in the face of U.S. sanctions, a lawmaker and one government source said.
With sanctions imposed by Washington choking off revenues from exports by state oil company PDVSA, President Nicolas Maduro’s increasingly isolated administration has turned to sales of Venezuela’s substantial gold reserves as one of the only sources of foreign currency.
The government source said the central bank’s reserves had fallen by 30 tonnes since the start of the year before U.S. President Donald Trump tightened sanctions, leaving the bank with around 100 tonnes in its vaults, worth more than $4 billion.
At that rate of decline, the central bank’s reserves would nearly disappear by the end of the year, leaving Maduro’s government struggling to pay for imports of basic goods.
Asked to comment on the new removal of gold, a U.S. State Department spokesman said, “The United States condemns all attempts by Maduro and his supporters to steal resources from the Venezuelan people.”
“We encourage companies, banks, and other entities, whether in the United States or in other countries, not to participate in the former Maduro regime’s fire sale of Venezuelan resources,” the spokesman said.
This Reuters story, filed from Caracas, was posted on their website at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning — and was updated about six hours later. I found it on the gata.org Internet site — and another link to it is here.
One of the big questions for gold this year is whether official purchase will be maintained at anywhere near last year’s level of 651.5 tonnes – the highest level since 1971 when President Nixon ended the U.S. dollar’s gold convertibility and launched the fiat currency era. Despite Russia and Kazakhstan seen as likely continuing monthly purchases at similar levels to 2018, when the former bought just over 274 tonnes and the latter 50.6 tonnes, accounting for almost 50% of official purchases, the general consensus has been that the totals reported to the IMF might slip a little this year. But the likelihood of official purchases matching, or even exceeding, last year’s total have been enhanced by China returning to announce monthly purchases as from December last year.
Thus, this year China has announced purchases each month to date with the latest 11.2 tonne increasing March, making a total of almost 33 tonnes in the first quarter of the year. At this rate China would add over 130 tonnes in the full year. What we don’t know of course is whether the country also added to its gold reserves over the previous 24 months of reporting zero increases in its reserves to the IMF. It has a track record of building its gold reserves under the radar for several years in a row and then announcing big rises. Has that been the case also for the past couple of years.
Overall one suspects China is, like Russia and probably some other nations too, in diversifying its reserves away from dependence on the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. The U.S. has been demonstrating its readiness to use the dollar, and its links to global trade, as a weapon to try and bring enemies and allies into line with its global foreign policy, and is running into problems where U.S. policies are not necessarily allied to those of friend and enemy alike. As pointed out in an article in Grant Williams’ excellent ‘Things that make you go hmm…’ newsletter (www.ttmygh.com) the usage of other currencies – notably the Euro and the yuan – as reserve currency elements are growing at the U.S. dollar’s expense. Quoting the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, it was pointed out that the U.S. dollar’s share of global central bank monetary reserves fell to a still dominant 61.94% in Q$ 2018 – the third successive month of falls. Meanwhile the Euro’s share rose to 20.69 percent – the highest level for four years despite Brexit uncertainties, and the yuan to a still very small 1.89%, the highest level since the IMF started reporting these levels in Q4 2016. The movement is slow at the moment but the more the U.S. weaponises the dollar, the more this trend will likely continue.
This worthwhile commentary by Lawrie showed up on the Sharps Pixley website on Monday, but I couldn’t post it yesterday, as there was an error in it, which Lawrie has fixed…so here it is now. Another link to it is here.
Morgan’s observation that “Money is gold, and nothing else,” was right in two respects. The first and most obvious is that gold is a form of money. The second and more subtle point, revealed in the phrase, “and nothing else,” was that other instruments purporting to be money were really forms of credit unless they were redeemable into physical gold.
So much of the gold market is “paper gold.” This paper gold market is so manipulated, we no longer have to speculate about it. It’s very well documented. A central bank, for example, can lease gold to one of the London Bullion Market Association banks, which include large players like Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and HSBC.
Gold leasing is often conducted through an unaccountable intermediary called the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Historically, the BIS has been used as a major channel for manipulating the gold market and for conducting sales of gold between central banks and commercial banks. The BIS is the ideal venue for central banks to manipulate the global financial markets, including gold, with complete non-transparency.
But it all rests on a tiny base of physical gold. I describe the market as an inverted period with a little bit of gold at the bottom and a big inverted pyramid of paper gold resting on top. There’s just not that much gold available. But in the paper gold market, there’s no limit on size, so anything goes.
This commentary from Jim, which is definitely worth your time, appeared on the dailyreckoning.com Internet site back on April 1, 2019 — and I don’t know how I missed it, as I’m on that website every day. I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch yesterday — and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
These three shots are from a brief lunch trip to Peachland, B.C. along Highway 97C…know locally as “The Connector”. It takes you across the highest part of the Thompson Plateau — and I’ll have a photo of that tomorrow. The first and second shots were taken on the ‘final descent’ into Peachland — and the last photo was taken in a small park along Okanagan Lake, which is also clearly visible in the first shot as well. Click to enlarge.
Tuesday was another day, like on Monday, where both silver and gold would have broken out to the upside in price if the “all the usual suspects” hadn’t been laying in wait at the COMEX open.
And also like on Monday, volumes in both these precious metals was very light once again, so it was pretty easy for ‘da boyz’ to keep their respective prices in line.
The gold price did break above its 50-day moving average on the post-COMEX open price spike, but as you already know, it was hammered back below that mark in very short order — and most likely before the Managed Money traders could make a move.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities — and other than the above remark about gold, there’s not really a lot to see. Click to enlarge.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I see that the gold price was sold quietly lower starting about two hours after trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Sunday evening. That lasted until shortly before 11 a.m. CST on their Wednesday morning — and it has struggled higher since — and is actually in positive territory by 90 cents now. It was exactly the same for silver — and it’s up a penny. Ditto for platinum — and it’s now up 2 bucks. The palladium price also began to rally shortly before 2 p.m. China Standard Time — and it’s up 6 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is a bit over 32,500 contracts — and there’s 2,204 contracts worth or roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 9,300 contracts — and there’s only 431 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index opened about unchanged — and then rallied a very small handful of basis points — and the current high tick, such as it is, came a few minutes after 9 a.m. in Shanghai. It has been edging very quietly lower since — and is down 4 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. BST in London/8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich.
Yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report — and although I said I wouldn’t stick my neck out, I will anyway. Looking at the last five dojis in both silver and gold, I’d expect that we’ll see some minor increases in the commercial net short positions in both metals…but reserve the right to be wrong! How’s that for a definitive prediction? But as I also pointed out yesterday, I’ll wait to see what Ted has to say in his mid-week commentary this afternoon — and will offer a few sentences of his thoughts in my Friday missive.
And as I post today’s efforts on the website at 4:02 a.m. EST, I note that all four precious metals were tapped lower once London and Zurich trading began. Gold is now down $1.00 — and silver is down a penny. Platinum and palladium are now down a dollar each.
Gross gold volume is just under 46,000 contracts — and minus roll-over/switch volume, net HFT gold volume is around 41,300 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is coming up on 11,700 contracts — and there’s still only 498 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
The dollar index hit its current ‘low’…at the 96.94 mark…four minutes before the London open — and has ‘rallied’ a bit since — and is now up 2 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. in London…9:45 a.m. in Zurich.
That’s it for yet another day — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.