18 April 2019 — Thursday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price didn’t do much of anything in morning trading in the Far East on their Wednesday, but from noon until the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai, it crawled a few dollars back above unchanged, but was quietly turned lower around 9 a.m. in London — and it crept quietly lower for the remainder of the Wednesday trading session.
The high and low ticks certainly aren’t worth looking up.
Gold finished the day at $1,273.70 spot, down $2.90 from Tuesday’s close, but was not closed at a new low for this move down. Net volume was slightly elevated at just under 216,000 contracts — and there was a bit under 8,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal. I suspect that this increase in volume was a result of the activity in Far East trading on their Wednesday, as it was quite high.
The price activity in silver, was a bit more ‘volatile’. Its tiny rally that began at noon China Standard Time was capped and turned lower shortly before 10 a.m. in London — and that tiny sell-off lasted until 1 p.m. BST…twenty minutes before the COMEX open in New York — and then it began to head higher with some authority. However ‘da boyz’ showed up a minute or so after 9 a.m. EDT — and had it down about 7 cents on the day by shortly after 12:15 p.m. It rallied a bit going into the COMEX close — and then traded ruler flat until the market closed at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
The high and low ticks in this precious metal were reported by the CME Group as $15.055 and $14.88 in the May contract.
Silver was closed in New York on Wednesday at $14.955 spot, down 2 cents from Tuesday. Net volume was nothing out of the ordinary at 52,500 contracts, as no new low for this move down was set in silver, either. But roll-over/switch volume out of May and into future months was pretty beefy at a bit over 26,000 contracts.
Like gold and silver, platinum traded sideways in morning trading in the Far East — and then began to head higher shortly after 12 o’clock noon CST. That rally was capped and turned lower a few minutes after 10 a.m. CEST in Zurich. Every rally attempt after that was not allowed to broach the $867 spot price mark after that — and shortly after the COMEX close it traded quietly sideways for the remainder of the Wednesday session in New York. Platinum was closed at $887 spot, up 8 dollars on the day.
The palladium price wandered around a few dollars either side of unchanged until the 9 a.m. open in Zurich. It added a few dollars at that point — and then really didn’t do much of anything until the COMEX open. Then a rally of some magnitude got underway at that juncture — and that was allowed to last until a few minutes before noon in New York. From that point it was forced to trade sideways until the market closed at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Palladium finished the Wednesday session at $1,379 spot, up a hefty 41 bucks from Tuesday’s close.
The dollar index closed very late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 97.04 — and opened up 4 basis points once trading commenced at 7:44 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening, which was 7:44 a.m. in Shanghai. The 97.12 high tick was set around 8:35 a.m. CST — and it was sold quietly and unevenly lower until the 96.82 low tick was set around 8:40 a.m. in London. It crept unevenly higher until around 12:15 p.m. in New York — and didn’t do a whole heck of a lot after that. The dollar index finished the Wednesday session back above the 97.00 mark by a hair, at 97.01…down 3 basis points from Tuesday’s close.
Here’s the DXY chart courtesy of Bloomberg, as per usual. Click to enlarge.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of the folks over at the stockcharts.com Internet site — and the delta between its close…96.13…and the close on the DXY above, was 88 basis points on Wednesday. Click to enlarge as well.
The gold shares notched a bit higher once trading began at 9:30 a.m. in New York on Wednesday moving — and their respective highs were printed at, or shortly after, the afternoon gold fix in London. They were sold quietly lower until about 3:35 p.m. EDT — and then jumped up a decent amount going into the 4:00 p.m. close. The HUI closed down only 0.76 percent.
The silver equities started off the Wednesday trading session the same as the gold stocks, but their respective low ticks came around 12:20 p.m. in New York trading. Then they rose and fell a bit until 3:35 p.m. EDT — and they also rallied into the close. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed lower by 1.03 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Wednesday’s doji. Click to enlarge as well.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 839 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday.
In gold, of the three short/issuers, Citigroup was only one that mattered once again, issuing 798 contracts out of its own account — and of the four long/stoppers, the biggest…as always…was JPMorgan picking up 743 contracts for its client account. In very distant second place was Advantage, stopping 81 for its client account as well.
The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
So far in April, Citigroup has stopped 2,340 gold contracts, but has already reissued 1,940 of them — and it remains to be seen if it will reissue the rest. So far in April, JPMorgan has issued 2,552 gold contracts, plus they’ve stopped 2,195 of them. They haven’t done a thing for their own account up to this point in the April delivery month.
So far this month, there have been 6,294 gold contracts issued/reissued and stopped — and Citigroup and JPMorgan combined have accounted for more than the lion’s share [about 4,500 contracts] of that activity. I don’t know what it means…I’m just reporting the data as presented on the CME’s website. Ted may or may not have something to say about this in his weekly review on Saturday.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in April rose once again, this time by 203 contracts, leaving 1,001 still around, minus the 839 mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 91 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 203+91=294 more gold contracts were added to the April delivery month. Silver o.i. in April is zero. There was no changes in April open interest — and no deliveries are slated for today.
There were surprises in both GLD and SLV, as both had additions to their total holdings…particularly in SLV. There was a rather smallish 18,885 troy ounce of gold added to GLD…but a very chunky 2,811,696 troy ounces was added to SLV. I’m suspecting that these deposits may have been made to cover existing short positions, as I doubt it would be investor buying that’s responsible.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Wednesday.
For the the third day in a row, there was no in/out movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Tuesday.
There was some activity in silver, as one smallish truckload…557,757 troy ounces…was reported received at JPMorgan — and the ‘out’ activity consisted of one small truckload…535,414 troy ounces…that was shipped out of CNT. There was also 595,418 troy ounces transferred from the Eligible category — and into Registered over at CNT as well. The link to all this is here.
It was a pretty big day over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Tuesday. The reported receiving 6,000 of them — and shipped out another 4,252. All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. of course — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
The Bedale Hoard is a hoard of forty-eight silver and gold items dating from the late 9th to early 10th century A.D. and includes necklaces, arm-bands, a sword pommel, hacksilver and ingots. It was discovered on 22 May 2012 in a field near Bedale, North Yorkshire by metal detectorists, and reported via the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Following a successful public funding campaign, the hoard was acquired by the Yorkshire Museum for £50,000.
The hoard contains forty-eight items of silver and gold and was declared as ‘treasure’ under the Treasure Act 1996. In addition to 29 silver ingots, the hoard contained an iron sword pommel inlaid with foil plaques, four gold hoops or bands from the hilt of the sword, six small gold rivets, four silver collars and neck-rings (one cut into two pieces), one silver arm, one fragment of a ‘Permian’ ring, and one silver penannular brooch.
Twenty-nine ingots of silver (with a variety of minor alloys) were found with the hoard, many of which have testing-nicks. Three have crosses incised upon them. They range from 40 to 146 grams (1.4 to 5.1 oz) in weight. Click to enlarge.
I have an average number of stories for you today, including a very interesting video interview involving Kyle Bass.
Despite all the talk of a great U.S. economy ready for rebirth now that The Fed has taken its foot off the neck of expansion, U.S. macro-economic data has collapsed (absolutely and relative to expectations) in recent weeks to its lowest since July 2017 – taking on the ugly title of ‘worst economic data in the world’…Click to enlarge.
And things are getting worse. As Knowledge Leaders Capital blog’s Steven Vanelli notes, so far this week, we’ve received a few data points that reinforce the manufacturing slowdown taking place in the U.S.
Industrial production undershot monthly estimates, falling 0.10% when it was expected to rise 0.2%. This brought the 1-year percent change down to 2.8% from a rate about twice that of last September.
Lastly, capacity utilization was reported at 78.8%, coming in 0.3% lower than the 79.1% estimate.
All of this explains why the Bloomberg Industrial Surprise Index – a sub-index of the Bloomberg Economic Surprise Index – has notched down recently — even as stocks near record highs.
This chart-filled story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 2:53 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is here.
American retailers already announced 6,000 store closures this year. That’s more than all of last year
This year, U.S. retailers have announced that 5,994 stores will close. That number already exceeds last year’s total of 5,864 closure announcements, according to a recent report from Coresight Research.
Bankruptcies in the retail sector are piling up and chains have aggressively closed under-performing stores. That has led to an uptick in store closures this year.
Payless, Gymboree, Charlotte Russe and Shopko have all filed for bankruptcy this year and will close a combined 3,720 stores, according to the report. The majority of those are because of Payless, which filed for its second bankruptcy in February and said at the time it would shutter 2,100 stores in the United States.
Other retailers, such as Family Dollar, GNC (GNC), Walgreens (WBA), Signet Jewelers (SIG), Victoria’s Secret and JCPenney (JCP), are struggling and are shrinking their store footprints to save money.
Family Dollar will close 359 stores this year, while Signet Jewelers, the parent company of mall stalwarts Kay, Jared and Zales, will close 159.
This news story was posted on the cnn.com Internet site at 1:27 p.m. EDT on Tuesday afternoon — and another link to it is here.
This 1 hour and 4 minute video/audio interview was conducted back on April 8, 2019. They discuss China, global recession — and why interest rates may head to near zero by 2020.
This is a wonderful interview — and definitely worth your time if you have it. The thing I found surprising in it was that Bass [along with a lot of other big money managers] did not see the big October to December 24 swoon in the U.S. stock market coming. It was no surprise to me…or to a lot of others. And after hearing him say that, I’m wondering what else he [and others] might be missing.
This interview is posted on the hedgeye.com Internet site — and I thank Richard Saler for pointing it out. Normally I’d save this for my Saturday missive, but I thought it important enough to toss it in to today’s column.
Our subject: Who’s dumber, more dangerous…
…those who want to reform capitalism and control it?
…Or those who want to do away with it altogether?
The question springs from several recent news items. First, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected… and New York Magazine came out with “When Did Everyone Become a Socialist?”
Then, America’s most successful hedge fund manager, Ray Dalio, claimed that capitalism needed to be fixed…
And then, Financial Times correspondent, Edward Luce, piled on…
Both outright socialists and capitalist reformers have more or less the same goal – to bang, bend, and bamboozle the world into a shape that is more pleasing to them.
This commentary from Bill, filed from Paris, was posted on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Wednesday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
The Argentine Peso has rallied the last few days – after crashing to a new record low – in what some consider a vote of confidence in central bank and government promises to crackdown on inflation.
However, don’t believe the hype – as Argentine credit markets (far less easy to manipulate than FX) are screaming new lows ahead for the peso…
Prices climbed 4.7 percent in March from the month before, the fastest pace since October and exceeding all eight forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Annual inflation accelerated to 54.7 percent from 51.3 percent, putting President Mauricio Macri’s re-election bid further at risk.
In response to this surge in inflation, Argentina today said it will freeze prices on 60 food products until October. This follows yesterday’s central bank announcement that it would fix the exchange-rate band for the rest of the year instead of allowing it to depreciate. To prop up the peso, the government’s already selling $60 million a day of the cash it got from the IMF.
In fact, Capital Economics’ Edward Glossop warns that Argentine policymakers are ‘starting to panic’ and ‘resorting to old habits to tame inflation’ ahead of October’s presidential election:
Central bank’s decision to keep the currency band unchanged coupled with an expected announcement of some price controls today “suggest that policymakers are panicking.”
But Bloomberg‘s Sebastian Boyd sums up the farce best: the measures the government and bank are taking are short-sighted and damaging. Price controls and FX manipulation are part of what got Argentina into this mess and are aimed at boosting president Mauricio Macri’s re-election chances — at the expense of economic orthodoxy. It’s a sign of weakness and fear.
This news item put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website at 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is here.
As Britain staggers from crisis to crisis, with the Brexit debacle rending the country apart, with its prisons in a “disgraceful” state, a knife crime epidemic, and the doctors of its Health Service at “breaking point” it might be imagined that the government would avoid playing futile military games and concentrate on trying to run the country. But national crises don’t matter to the would-be big-spenders of the UK’s Ministry of Defence whose titular head Gavin Williamson, the paintball strategist, announced on April 3 that Britain would “spearhead” a ‘Joint Expeditionary Force’ in a military mission called ‘Baltic Protector’. The anti-Russia manoeuvres are to involve 2,000 military personnel from the UK and a further thousand from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. (It is notable that Sweden and Finland are supposed to be neutral nations.)
Williamson demonstrates his ineptitude all too frequently, and recently confirmed his confused mental state by stating that “As Britain prepares to leave the E.U., our unwavering commitment to European security and stability is more important than ever. Deploying our world class sailors and marines to the Baltic Sea, alongside our international allies, firmly underlines Britain’s leading role in Europe.” (It is intriguing that he considers Sweden and Finland to be allies of the UK.)
Consider the military budgets of NATO countries. As stated by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the surge in US spending “was the largest increase in the world in 2018… [and] European nations also contributed to the global trend… Their total spending would – if the aggregate figure of $264 billion were considered on its own – amount to the second largest defence budget in the world. It would be equivalent to 1.5 times China’s official budget ($168 billion), and almost four times Russia’s estimated total military expenditure ($63 billion).”
It is difficult to see how anyone could conclude that Russia, with such modest defence expenditure, could even contemplate waging a war in Europe. There appears to be nothing —neither common sense, pragmatic examination nor consideration of inevitable consequences — that will alter the conviction that instead of strongly desiring trade, mutual prosperity and social improvement, the Kremlin wants its forces to roll across Europe in a latter day Operation Barbarossa.
This very interesting and [I think] worthwhile commentary was posted on the strategic-culture.org Internet site on Tuesday — and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it along. Another link to it is here.
While traders continue to obsess over daily “China trade deal optimism” headlines, Japan’s central bank is quietly nationalizing its entire market.
The last time we looked at how much of the stock market the Bank of Japan controls, we found that Kuroda’s central bank owned a stunning 75% of all Japanese ETFs as the central bank keeps buying stocks under its ultra-loose monetary policy. Perhaps more importantly, as of March 2018, the Japanese central bank has also become a major shareholder in nearly 40% of listed companies. According to Nikkei calculations at the time, the bank was one of the top 10 shareholders in 1,446 listed companies out of 3,735.
Fast forward to today, when according to the latest BOJ holdings update following even more ETF purchases, the BOJ held over ¥28 trillion ($250 billion) in ETFs as at the end of March, or 4.7% of the total market capitalization of the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This, of course, in addition to the BOJ’s trillions in Japanese JGB holdings, which at last check were over 100% of GDP and 43% of all outstanding.
It gets better. According to the latestNikkei calculations, not only has the BOJ also become the top shareholder in 23 companies, including Nidec, Fanuc and Omron, through its ETF holdings, but as of Q1, it was among the top 10 holders for 49.7% of all Tokyo-listed enterprises.
In other words, the BOJ has gone from being a Top 10 holder in 40% Japanese stocks last March, to 50% just one year later.
This amazing, but not entirely surprising, Zero Hedge article appeared on their Internet site at 3:31 p.m. EDT on Wednesday afternoon — and another link to it is here.
About an hour and a half’s drive north from New York City lies a treasure — the gold kind. But it’s not one that you can go and find.
In fact, you can’t get anywhere near it. Because this treasure belongs to the United States Treasury.
Nearly a quarter of the U.S. government’s gold sits beneath a windowless building on the campus at West Point.
“We’ve got approximately 54 million ounces here that we store, which is about 22% of the nation’s gold,” Ellen McCollum says from her office.
McCollum is the Superintendent of the West Point Mint; a facility built the same year as Fort Knox and originally housed the nation’s silver.
Most of that silver was sold off and now, the latest treasury department numbers show West Point is second only to Fort Knox in the amount of government gold in its vaults.
This interesting story from the fox5ny.com Internet site…complete with a very worthwhile 5:49 minute embedded video clip, was posted on their website on Tuesday — and updated yesterday. It’s the first of two precious metal-related items that I found on the Sharps Pixley website — and another link to it is here.
The Germans own about 6.5 percent of the world’s gold holdings. In the past two years alone 250 tons have been added. And the interest continues to grow. But experts doubt that gold is the most lucrative savings option.
The love of Germans for gold is well known. It reaches up to the highest floors: The Bundesbank hoards as much gold as almost any other central bank in the world. Some 3,370 tons are in the Bundesbak’s possession. Only the United States guards an even bigger treasure in the cellars of Fort Knox, namely around 8,130 tons.
But Germany’s citizens own even more gold — more than the Bundesbank and even more than the U.S. The appetite for the precious metal, however, seems unbroken: over the past three years, holdings in coffers and safes in Germany have even risen significantly, and German citizens also want to buy more gold in the coming years.
In total, private individuals in Germany own around 8,918 tonnes of gold. These figures were calculated by researchers from Steinbeis University for travel agencies on the basis of a representative survey of 2,000 adults. About half of it consists of bars and coins and corresponding securities, and just under 4,000 tons are jewelry. A troy ounce of gold (32.1 grams) currently costs about $1,287 dollars or €1,137, resulting in a fortune of about €326 billion, which is bound in Germany in the precious metal.
Compared to the last such survey three years ago, private gold ownership in Germany has increased by about 246 tonnes. Around a quarter of respondents said they had bought gold in the past two years. “The demand driver is the prevailing uncertainty, for example, due to the trade dispute,” says Christof Wilms, head dealer of ReiseBank. Above all, there is a continuing strong demand for physical gold. “Especially wanted are gold bars from 100 grams and bullion coins.”
This interesting gold-related article, which is a translation from German — and filed from Berlin, appeared on the welt.de Internet site on Tuesday sometime. I found it in a GATA dispatch yesterday — and another link to it is here. The original German version of the article is linked here.
The Budget and Finance Committee of the Chamber of Deputies on April 16 issued a favorable report on the bill drafted by social democrats Liviu Dragnea and Şerban Nicolae that amends law 312/2004 on the functioning of the National Bank of Romania (BNR). The primary goal of this bill is to limit the gold reserves Romania holds abroad.
The draft bill will be voted in the Chamber of Deputies and, if approved, BNR will have to repatriate the gold it keeps at the Bank of England (65% of country’s 103.7-tonne reserves).
Under a last-minute amendment, the share of gold that can be deposited abroad was cut to 0% (from 5%). But the bill has a broader scope: under some of its provisions, BNR has to inform “no later than 20 days” about the occurrence of crisis situations “where the monetary stability, inflation target or macroeconomic policies are at risk”.
BNR can’t fully accept the amendments to its Statute, Adrian Dumitrescu, a senior BNR expert, said during debates at the Chamber of Deputies, according to local Economica.net. Firstly, he argued that any change to its Statute requires “mandatory” consultation of the European Central Bank (ECB) and proper consideration of the opinion issued by the ECB. Secondly, Dumitrescu argues that the amendments are hindering BNR in its duty of managing the country’s gold reserves, which is a responsibility of the central banks according to the European Union Treaty.
Let’s see if this turns out to be a roadblock or not. The above four paragraphs are all there is to this brief gold-related news item that showed up on the romania-insider.com Internet site on Wednesday sometime — and I found it on the Sharps Pixley website. Another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Continuing on with the road trip along the Trans-Canada Highway between Cache Creek and Kamloops, B.C., we took a side-road the led to the CN railway junction at Savona alongside Kamloops Lake. We happened upon a small herd of female and juvenile bighorn sheep — and here are three shots of the group. The first two are with the 400mm telephoto — and the last one with the walk-around lens to put the herd in some sort of perspective with their surroundings. They’re almost as common as mule deer in these parts. Click to enlarge.
It was a ‘nothing’ sort of day yesterday — and no moving averages were broken — and no new intraday lows were set in either gold or silver. Silver volumes were nothing out of the ordinary, but slightly elevated in gold. Platinum was up a bit, but palladium was the star performer yesterday.
It’s already 1:47 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning as I type this paragraph — and I note that Ted’s “Midnight Moves” are underway in gold, as ‘da boyz’ have set a new intraday low for this move down in early morning trading in Shanghai.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities — and except for palladium, there’s not a lot to see. Click to enlarge for all.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I see that gold opened unchanged once trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Wednesday evening. That lasted until 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning — and it was tapped a few dollars lower at that point — and as I mentioned above, to a new intraday low for this move down…but not by much. It has been trading quietly sideways since, but was hit for a few dimes more about twenty minutes before the London open — and is down $2.30 the ounce at the moment. Silver followed almost the exact same price path as gold — and it’s down 2 cents currently. Palladium’s downward descent began shortly before 8 a.m. in Shanghai — and that lasted until around 1:30 p.m. CST — and it has ticked a few dollars higher since — and is down 4 bucks. Platinum was sold a bit lower between 8 and 9 a.m. CST — and has traded flat since, but slid a bit in the the last thirty minutes — and is now down 9 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is a bit under 41,500 contracts — and there’s only 815 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal. Net HFT silver volume is pretty quiet at about 6,500 contracts — and there’s 1,059 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index opened unchanged once trading began at 7:44 p.m. EDT in New York on Wednesday evening, which was 7:44 a.m. in Shanghai on their Thursday morning — and began to creep very unsteadily higher from there. The current 97.05 high tick was set at 10:48 a.m. CST — and it has been chopping very unevenly lower since — and is down 4 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. BST in London…8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich. It’s not doing much at the moment.
It still remains to be seen whether or not the powers-that-be have gold’s 200-day moving average in their sights or not. I was kind of hoping that they would be satisfied with closing gold below its 100-day m.a. on Tuesday, but that may have been wishful thinking. We’ll just have to watch the situation and see what develops.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I note that gold has rallied off its pre-London open low tick — and is now up 70 cents an ounce — and silver is now up 3 cents. Platinum is still down 4 dollars, but palladium has rallied a bit on jumpy price action since the Zurich open — and it’s down only 4 bucks as well.
Gross gold volume has soared to a bit over 62,500 contracts — and minus what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is just under 60,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume has also jumped up…to a bit over 10,000 contracts — and there’s 1,583 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that. Those tiny rallies in silver and gold at the London open were met by ‘da boyz’ with all guns blazing.
The dollar index hit its current low tick, such as it was, about twenty-five minutes before the London open — and has rallied a bit since then, but then blasted higher starting minutes before 8:30 a.m. BST — and is now up 16 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich.
That’s all for today — and I’ll see you here on Friday.