23 April 2019 — Tuesday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price edged unevenly higher by a few dollars in Monday morning trading in the Far East once it began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Sunday evening. That was capped shortly after 11 a.m. China Standard Time — and it was sold a bit lower into the London open. It edged a bit higher until the 10:30 a.m. BST morning gold fix — and then didn’t do much until ‘da boyz’ showed up at the 8:20 a.m. COMEX open in New York. They set the low tick of the day at noon EDT — and its rally attempt after that wasn’t allowed to get far.
The high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up.
With yesterday being Easter Monday in the Western world, most traders were not at their desks — and net volume was fumes and vapours at a hair under 135,500 contracts. Roll-over/switch volume was in the same category, amounting to only 1,696 contracts.
Silver’s price was guided in a similar manner to gold’s, except the low tick in this precious metal came about an hour earlier. It edged unevenly higher from there into the COMEX close — and that was it for the remainder of the Monday session.
The high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up for silver, either.
Silver was closed at $15.000 spot, up 2.5 cents from Thursday. Net volume was microscopic at just over 22,000 contracts, but roll-over/switch volume out of May and into future months was very heavy at just under 25,000 contracts. So there was more roll-over volume than regular volume, something I’ve never seen occur at this time of month.
The platinum price didn’t do much until 8 a.m. CST on their Monday morning — and from that point it began to crawl very quietly and unevenly higher until a few minutes after 1 p.m. in Zurich trading. From that juncture it began to head sharply higher until the COMEX open. The engineered price decline began there — and the low tick was set very shortly after the Zurich close. It chopped a few dollars higher over the next hour or so — and then like silver and gold, didn’t do much going into the 5:00 p.m. close. Platinum finished the Monday session at $895 spot, down 5 dollars from its close on Thursday — and at least 15 bucks off its high of the day.
Palladium crept quietly sideways in Far East trading on their Monday — and around 10:30 a.m. in Zurich, it began to creep very quietly higher. That lasted until around 8:45 a.m. in New York — and the ‘long knives’ came out at that point, with the low tick of the day coming around $1,347 spot, if you believe that down/up price spike that came shortly after 12 o’clock noon in New York. It recovered from that in a few minutes — and then didn’t do much for the rest of the day. ‘Da Boyz’ closed palladium at $1,373 spot, down 29 dollars from Thursday.
The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 97.38 — and opened basically unchanged once trading commenced at 6:36 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening. From there, it didn’t do much of anything until around 1:05 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon. It began to crawl quietly lower from that juncture until the 97.26 low tick was set around 2:05 p.m. EDT in New York. It crept a few basis points higher into the close — and finished the Monday session at 97.29…down 9 basis points from its Friday close.
If you can see any correlation between what the currencies and precious metal prices were doing yesterday, you’re better than I. This was purely a COMEX paper affair in the precious metals on Monday.
Here’s the Bloomberg chart for the DXY. Click to enlarge.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of stockcharts.com — and the delta between its close…96.41…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 88 basis points on Monday. Click to enlarge as well.
The gold shares opened unchanged — and then were quietly sold lower for the entire trading session in New York yesterday. The HUI finished down 1.85 percent.
The silver equities traded in a mostly similar manner on Monday, but their decline was somewhat more erratic. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index finished the day down 2.08 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s the 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Monday’s doji. Click to enlarge as well.
I would suspect that almost all of yesterday’s price declines in the precious metal stocks was fund related selling, as the average retail trader had sold their positions prior to year-end — and the rest were sitting tight. And as I keep saying, these shares are now reside in very strong hands indeed.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 69 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.
In gold, the two short/issuers were Advantage and R.J. O’Brien, with 65 and 4 contracts. The two long/stoppers that mattered were JPMorgan and Advantage, with 43 and 25 contracts. All contracts, both issued and stopped, involved their respective client accounts.
The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here .
The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that gold open interest in April rose again, this time by 126 contracts, leaving 290 still around, minus the 69 mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. Last Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 19 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 19+126=145 more gold contracts were just added to the April delivery month. Silver o.i. in April is zero — and there are no contracts scheduled for delivery today.
There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV on Monday.
There was a small sales report from the U.S. Mint. They sold 4,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — and that was all.
There was no in/out movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast last Thursday.
The only activity in silver last Thursday was one small truckload…535,413 troy ounces…that was received over at JPMorgan. The link to that is here.
Over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday, they reported receiving 370 of them — and shipped out 2,664. All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. of course — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
Here are the usual two charts that Nick passes around every weekend. It shows the weekly activity in all known gold and silver depositories, mutual funds and ETFs. This was as of the close of business on Thursday I suspect. The gold ETFs sold off a net 230,000 troy ounces of gold, but added 2,802,000 troy ounces of silver on a net basis. Click to enlarge for both charts.
I have an average number of stories for you today, with one of them being on the longish side.
Following February’s almost unprecedented 11.8% surge in existing home sales, March was expected to see a contraction of 3.8% MoM, but fell more and February was revised weaker.
Sales decreased for a fourth time in five months despite lower mortgage rates, sustained wage gains and slower home price appreciation. February’s 11.8% spike was revised slightly lower to 11.2% MoM, but March’s existing home sales slumped 4.9% MoM (notably worse than the 3.8% drop expected).
Home purchases fell in all four regions, led by a 7.9 percent drop in the Midwest.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, anticipated waning in the numbers for March.
“It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month. Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets. The impact of lower mortgage rates has not yet been fully realized.”
This is the 13th straight month of annual existing home sales declines…Click to enlarge.
This brief 2-chart Zero Hedge news item put in an appearance on their website at 10:07 a.m. on Monday morning EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for sharing it with us. Another link to it is here.
Since President Trump announced his intention to nominate Herman Cain and Stephen Moore to serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, mainstream commentators have made a point of dismissing anyone sympathetic to a gold standard as crankish or unqualified.
But it is wholly legitimate, and entirely prudent, to question the infallibility of the Federal Reserve in calibrating the money supply to the needs of the economy. No other government institution had more influence over the creation of money and credit in the lead-up to the devastating 2008 global meltdown. And the Fed’s response to the meltdown may have exacerbated the damage by lowering the incentive for banks to fund private-sector growth.
What began as an emergency decision in the wake of the financial crisis to pay interest to commercial banks on excess reserves has become the Fed’s main mechanism for conducting monetary policy. To raise interest rates, the Fed increases the rate it pays banks to keep their $1.5 trillion in excess reserves — eight times what is required—parked in accounts at Federal Reserve district banks. Rewarding banks for holding excess reserves in sterile depository accounts at the Fed rather than making loans to the public does not help create business or spur job creation.
Meanwhile, for all the talk of a “rules-based” system for international trade, there are no rules when it comes to ensuring a level monetary playing field. The classical gold standard established an international benchmark for currency values, consistent with free-trade principles. Today’s arrangements permit governments to manipulate their currencies to gain an export advantage.
This article by Ms. Shelton showed up on The Wall Street Journal website on Monday sometime — and it was posted in the clear on the gata.org Internet site. Another link to it is here.
President Trump was understandably reluctant to accept Herman Cain’s request to drop out as a candidate for the Federal Reserve board. He faced the reality of senatorial spinelessness. Four Republicans had indicated they’d shrink from voting for the former chairman of the Kansas City Fed, at least in part over allegations of long-ago sexual improprieties. They didn’t even wait for a hearing.
The good news is that there is an ideal candidate, the economist Judy Shelton. We had no quarrel with Mr. Trump’s choice of either Stephen Moore or Mr. Cain; they both would be fine governors. Mr. Moore still faces a revolt from the economists’ guild, the geshrai from which, John Tamny has argued, underscores the logic of Mr. Moore, who seems to still be in the running.
Yet even before Mr. Trump announced his plan to nominate either Mr. Moore or Mr. Cain, we’d issued an editorial calling Ms. Shelton “Trump’s Ideal Nominee for the Fed.” She’s an economist and holds a Ph.D. in business. Her main qualification, though, is that over the years she has published a brilliant critique of our monetary policy.
This has unfolded on, among other places, the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, where, during the Great Recession, Ms. Shelton emerged as an advocate of the idea that our economic troubles spring in large part, if not exclusively, from the fiat nature of our currency. And that, as we put it in February, we need to bring back into our political economy the idea of sound money.
This very worthwhile commentary was posted on the nysun.com Internet site on Monday as well — and I found this in a GATA dispatch as well. Another link to it is here.
We saw last week that the biggest burst of stimulus in the U.S. – $3.6 trillion of quantitative easing (QE), negative real interest rates for 10 years, and deficits of $11 trillion – brought the weakest recovery ever.
The activists wanted faster growth. But they couldn’t make it happen. GDP crawled forward at barely half the rate of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. Wages were basically stagnant. So were pre-tax corporate earnings.
The Japanese couldn’t make it happen, either. Stimulus had no greater effect on the Nipponese Islands than it did in the USA.
In the entire 21st century, so far, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) increased its holdings (monetary stimulus… the base money supply for the nation) some seven times.
During the same period, the Japanese feds increased government debt (fiscal stimulus) from 100% of GDP to 250% – the biggest increase ever seen in a major economy.
The BoJ also stimulated the stock market directly, by buying $250 billion worth of ETFs, and is on its way to nationalizing most of the country’s industries by buying up shares with the money it printed up itself.
Note that nobody knows where this will lead.
This commentary from Bill was posted on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Monday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
In the late eighteenth century, Bishop George Berkeley posed the question,
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Since that time, generations of university philosophy professors have required their students to consider the question. Countless classroom time has been taken up in pondering it. In many cases, students would be required to write a report containing their answer and they might even be graded on it.
Of course, this is the world of academia, which consists almost entirely of theory, not practical application. But, in the functioning world, it makes not the slightest difference whether the tree makes a sound or not. The lumberjack who actually encounters the tree is unconcerned with the philosophical question. He only cares that he has a tree he can cut.
He represents those who produce, rather than those who theorise.
And so it is with the field of International Diversification. It can be described as taking place in three stages…
This interesting commentary from Jeff appeared on the internationalman.com Internet site on Monday morning EDT sometime — and another link to it is here.
The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing. The center of gravity is shifting from west to east where China and India are experiencing explosive growth and where a revitalized Russia has restored its former stature as a credible global superpower. These developments, coupled with America’s imperial overreach and chronic economic stagnation, have severely hampered U.S. ability to shape events or to successfully pursue its own strategic objectives. As Washington’s grip on global affairs continues to loosen and more countries reject the western development model, the current order will progressively weaken clearing the way for a multi-polar world badly in need of a new security architecture. Western elites, who are unable to accept this new dynamic, continue to issue frenzied statements expressing their fear of a future in which the United States no longer dictates global policy.
At the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, underscored many of these same themes.
Ischinger is not alone in his desperation nor are his feelings limited to elites and intellectuals. By now, most people are familiar with the demonstrations that have rocked Paris, the political cage-match that is tearing apart England (Brexit), the rise of anti-immigrant right-wing groups that have sprung up across Europe, and the surprising rejection of the front-runner candidate in the 2016 presidential elections in the U.S. Everywhere the establishment and their neo-liberal policies are being rejected by the masses of working people who have only recently begun to wreak havoc on a system that has ignored them for more than 30 years. Trump’s public approval ratings have improved, not because he has “drained the swamp” as he promised, but because he is still seen as a Washington outsider despised by the political class, the foreign policy establishment and the media. His credibility rests on the fact that he is hated by the coalition of elites who working people now regard as their sworn enemy.
The president of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, summed up his views on the “weakening of the liberal world order” in an article that appeared on the CFR’s website. Here’s what he said…
This longish, but worthwhile commentary from Mike was posted on the unz.com website back on April 13. Even though longish, I thought I’d post it in today’s missive, rather than wait for Saturday. I plucked it from a Zero Hedge story that Brad Robertson sent our way. Another link to it is here.
Nigel Farage spoke before the European Parliament ahead of the European elections, with his Brexit Party surging in the most recent polls, to warn the Brussels oligarchs, “I’m coming back – in fact, lots and lots of us are coming back!”
The Brexit Party leader told Juncker, Barnier, and MP globalist Guy Verhofstadt, that the time has arrived where U.K. citizens will now send a big message come May 23rd. Farage said that the the E.U. elections will mark a ‘new future for British democracy’
Brexit MEP Nigel Farage today warned that the E.U. establishment will be “very, very surprised” by what happens at the European Elections Elections on 23rd May and declared that it will mark “a new future for British democracy”.
In a speech in the European Parliament today, Farage declared that the Brexit Party “will sweep the board” in the European Elections unless the Conservatives and Labour “come together to agree to a permanent Customs Union”.
However, that would mean the Brexit Party may not win the E.U. Elections but the General Election, such would be the anger. Thus, he expressed his doubt as to whether such a stitch-up will go ahead.
This 6:47 minute video clip by Nigel in front of the European Parliament was posted on theduran.com Internet site on Sunday sometime — and I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention. Another link to it is here.
The Swiss National Bank can lower its subzero interest rates even further, President Thomas Jordan told newspaper Blick.
In the interview, Jordan affirmed the ongoing need for a deposit rate of minus 0.75 percent plus a pledge to intervene in currency markets, if necessary, adding the franc remains highly valued. The SNB had the tools to act, he said, should economic conditions deteriorate.
The Swiss National Bank doesn’t see a threat to price stability.
“We always have the possibility of lowering rates further. We have already gone quite far, but still we’ve got the necessary room to maneuver,” he was quoted as saying in comments published in Saturday’s Blick. “And we can, if necessary, expand the balance sheet further via interventions.”
The SNB’s interest rates are the lowest of any major central bank and are designed to keep pressure off the franc, which is regarded as a safe haven at times of market uncertainty. A strengthening franc depresses the inflation rate in Switzerland.
Jordan made comments to the same effect earlier this month in Washington.
This brief 1-chart Bloomberg item showed up on their Internet site at 1:42 a.m. PST on Saturday morning — and I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch. Another link to it is here.
A comedian with no political experience won a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election Sunday, exit polls and a partial vote count showed, dealing a stunning rebuke to the country’s political establishment.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose only previous political role was playing the president on television, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko by taking 73 percent of the vote, according to exit polls and partial official results.
Poroshenko garnered just 24 percent with 42 percent of ballots counted.
“I will never let you down,” the 41-year-old TV star said at his campaign headquarters after the results of exit polls were published.
“While I am not formally president yet, as a citizen of Ukraine I can tell all post-Soviet countries: ‘Look at us! Everything is possible!‘”
It was an extraordinary outcome to a campaign that started as a joke but struck a chord with voters frustrated by poverty, corruption and a five-year war that has claimed some 13,000 lives.
This story put in an appearance on the france24.com Internet site at 7:30 p.m. CEST [Central European Summer Time] on Sunday evening — and I thank Roy Stephens for that one as well. Another link to it is here. The rt.com version of events appeared under the headline “Ukraine’s president-in-waiting Zelensky vows to end conflict in Donbass with ‘POWERFUL INFO WAR’” — and that’s from Roy as well.
The Russian central bank has announced that it added another 600,000 ounces of gold (18.7 tonnes) to its reserves making a total of over 55 tonnes already so far this year. This puts it on target for another year of plus 200 tonne gold additions to reserves for the fifth year in a row. For all of 2018 the Russian central bank accumulated an additional 274 tonnes of gold making it comfortably the world’s fifth largest gold holder as reported to the IMF. If it carries on increasing its gold reserves at, or around, its current rate it is closing the gap fast on the world’s third and fourth largest reported holders of gold – Italy and France – and could surpass them both within the next twelve months.
China too is continuing to build its gold reserves, but reportedly at a slower rate than Russia, although one seems to be less able to rely on the veracity of China’s figures. As reported to the IMF, China is the world’s sixth largest official gold holder at around 1,873 tonnes as compared with Russia’s 2,163 tonnes if one includes the latest figures for March accumulations for both nations. However it is widely believed that China in reality has much larger gold holdings through holding substantial amounts of gold which it hold in accounts which it does not total with its other Forex holdings, thus providing it with an excuse for not reporting these to the IMF.
Regardless, Russia and China are both building their gold reserves, seen as a counter to U.S. dollar dominance in world trade. Russia has already been the subject of U.S.-imposed economic sanctions and has, as a counter-measure, already disposed of almost all its holdings of U.S. treasuries in its Forex reserves and it looks like China may be on the same path, although has almost infinitely larger U.S. dollar-related holdings to liquidate, if indeed it should wish to do so. Iran, which the U.S. has already cut out of dollar access, is China’s largest oil supplier, closely followed by Russia, and removing transactions between these nations from petrodollar reliance will allow transactions between them with a gold backed yuan and/or ruble, Bring other nations which have issues with the dollar into the mix and you have the initial stages of moves under way to remove ultimately the dollar from its current dominant position in global trade transactions. There are even indications that European nations are unhappy with U.S. sanctions impositions on third party states and could also be moving towards diminishing their reliance on the dollar in their reserve structures and global trading.
This commentary by Lawrie appeared on the Sharps Pixley website on Monday sometime — and another link to it is here.
This past week, the Silver Institute released the annual supply/demand report it commissions each year by GFMS from London. In about a month, the annual silver report compiled by CPM Group should be released. Over time, these two reports have become the prime source material for silver supply/demand fundamentals. First, some general comments about the reports, followed by what the Silver Institute report includes and doesn’t include. As always, data and statistics on their own are fairly meaningless, compared to interpreting and understanding the message of the data.
One thing that always struck me as odd about both reports is the absolute precision implied about silver production and consumption in that there is hardly any rounding off (as I suppose I am inclined to do) – all data are reported to within 100,000 ounces or less. This strikes me as a bit odd for a market in which total production and consumption amount to one billion ounces annually. It gives the impression of precision almost to the point of infallibility. Yet in the category where one would assume the greater precision, annual mine production (as opposed to consumption), the difference between the two reports is quite wide.
Last year, for example, there was a difference of 80 million oz between the two reports for world annual mine production – a 10% difference. And that’s usually the case each year. We’ll see what the difference is this year in about a month when the CPM report is issued, but the first lesson to be learned is not to take the statistics offered in either report too literally, but as estimates (despite the implied precision).
Another curious aspect to the Silver Institute report is the regular use of the word “deficit”. I’m not sure why this word even appears, as there has been no real deficit in silver for years. A deficit occurs when all the silver currently produced is insufficient to meet industrial and other demand (jewelry and silverware and coins) apart from pure investment demand and world silver inventories are drawn down and depleted to meet the current demand. We did have such a structural deficit in silver for 65 years running, from the start of World War II to 2006, in which close to 10 billion ounces of world silver inventory, basically, went up in smoke. But since 2006, there has been no true structural silver deficit in silver in which total world silver inventories have been reduced. This is perhaps the most confusing feature of the survey.
This longish, but must read commentary from Ted [which was subject of his mid-week commentary to his paying subscribers last Wednesday] was posted on the silverseek.com Internet site at 2:58 p.m. MDT on Monday afternoon — and another link to this very worthwhile commentary is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
These two photos were taken from the exact same spot…the pier in Riverside Park in Kamloops. It overlooks the confluence of the North Thompson River as it joins the South Thompson River. The first shot [March 16] is looking directly west down the Thompson River…the name it assumes once the two rivers meet. The second photo, taken a few seconds later, is looking directly north. The South Thompson River is in the foreground, as it’s joined by the very wide [but very shallow] North Thompson River in the background. There are four trumpeter swans lazing away on the river ice in the foreground — and they’ll be featured in tomorrow’s column. Click to enlarge for both.
Despite the pitifully low volume in all precious metal because of the Easter holiday, JPMorgan et al were still out and about at the COMEX open in New York yesterday morning. There were no new intraday or closing lows in any of them, it appeared to just more ‘care and maintenance’ type trading.
But ‘care and maintenance’ leading to what, you might ask? I don’t know for sure, but have my suspicions…none of which are negative to their respective prices.
I noted that they didn’t lean on silver too hard, as there’s only so much blood in this particular precious metal stone. But, having said that, at its high on Monday…such as it was…silver did manage to touch its 200-day moving average in late morning trading in the Far East, before getting hauled lower.
I also saw that copper was closed right on its 50-day moving average — and penetrated it to the downside intraday yesterday. WTIC popped a bit higher.
Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper and WTIC — and if they are of interest, the above changes should be noted. 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 chopped quietly sideways until around noon China Standard Time on their Tuesday — and then was sold down to its current low tick of the day at the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It’s off that low by a hair — and currently down $2.60 the ounce. ‘Da boyz’ have also worked Ted’s “midnight move” in silver as well — and it’s down 6 cents. Platinum was up 3 bucks by 11 a.m. CST, but has now been quietly sold down a dollar on the day. Palladium didn’t do much in most of Far East trading, but was sold lower in the last couple of hours — and is down 5 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is coming up on 38,500 contracts — and there’s only 1,542 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that. Net HFT silver volume is around 6,400 contracts — and there’s already 3,138 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.
The dollar index opened basically unchanged 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 rallied 5 or so basis points shortly after that, but was back to about unchanged by 11:30 a.m. CST. It has been crawling quietly higher since — and as of 7:45 a.m. BST in London/8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich, it’s up all of 9 basis points.
Today, at the close of COMEX trading, is the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report — and I might hazard a guess as to what might be in it after I get a look at the last four dojis on the above charts when trading ends later today. Only the last four, because the COMEX/GLOBEX was closed on Friday.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I see that as the first hour of London/Zurich trading draws to a close, gold is down only $1.50 currently — and silver is down 6 cents. Platinum is now down 2 dollars…but ‘da boyz’ have palladium lower by 16 bucks!
Gross gold volume is a hair over 50,000 contracts — and minus what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is just under 47,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is coming up on 7,800 contracts — and there’s 4,556 contracts worth or roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index hasn’t done much in the last hour — and is up 8 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich.
That’s it for another day. Let’s see what JPMorgan et al have in store for us during the COMEX trading session today — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.