25 April 2019 — Thursday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price traded in a very narrow range on Wednesday, with its low tick coming around 11:30 a.m. in Shanghai. From there it worked its way very unevenly higher, before catching a bit of a bid around 9:15 a.m. in New York. That ‘rally’ lasted until around 11:45 a.m. EDT — and that was its high tick of the day…such as it was. From that juncture, it was sold quietly lower until trading ended at 5:00 p.m.
The low and high definitely aren’t worth looking up.
Gold finished the Wednesday session in New York at $1,276.00 spot, up $3.80 from Tuesday’s close. Net volume was fairly decent at 238,500 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume was very light at just under 8,400 contracts.
The silver price traded quietly and unevenly sideways until 9:15 a.m. in New York — and its ‘rally’ at that point ran into ‘something’ around noon EDT as the price hit the $15 spot mark. It was sold a bit lower until shortly after 1 p.m. — and then didn’t do much of anything until a very few minutes before the 5:00 p.m. EDT market close. At that point, it shot back to the $15 spot price mark — and closed there.
The low and high ticks in this precious metal were recorded by the CME Group as $14.74 and $14.96 in the May contract.
Silver was closed at $15.000 spot, up 19 cents on the day. Net volume was fairly light at a hair under 49,000 contracts but, not surprisingly, roll-over/switch volume out of May and into future months was pretty heavy at at a bit over 35,500 contracts.
The platinum priced didn’t do anything until about thirty minutes after the Zurich open on their Wednesday morning. The signs of life it showed at that juncture were all taken back — and then some, once trading action began at the 8:20 a.m. EDT COMEX open in New York. That sell-off lasted until the afternoon gold fix in London — and the price edged quietly sideways for the rest of the day. Platinum was closed at $882 spot, down 5 bucks from Tuesday.
Palladium was down about six dollars by the Zurich open and, like platinum, began to show a few signs of life. Then, at 9 a.m. in New York, it jumped higher by a decent amount, but was capped before it could break above $1,400 spot. Then, from about 9:10 a.m. EDT, it chopped quietly sideways until shortly before 4 p.m in the thinly-traded after-hours market. It edged a bit higher from that juncture — and finished the Wednesday session at $1,399 spot, up 23 dollars on the day.
The dollar index closed very late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 97.64 — and opened down 4 basis points once trading began at 7:44 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening, which was 7:44 a.m. China Standard Time on their Wednesday morning. About an hour and change later, the index was back at the unchanged mark — and then proceeded to trade quietly sideways until a very minutes before 8 a.m. in London. From that point it began to head unevenly higher, with the 98.19 high tick coming around 3:05 p.m. in New York. It sold off a bit from there — and finished the Wednesday session at 98.17…up 53 basis points from Tuesday.
Well, dear reader, the dollar index ‘rallied’ more on Wednesday than it did on Tuesday — and gold and silver were down big on Tuesday, but up by about the same amounts they lost on Wednesday.
Those that hold true to the adage that the dollar index affects precious metal prices have some explaining to do.
Here’s the DXY chart from Bloomberg. 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…97.86…and the close on the DXY chart above, was only 31 basis points on Wednesday. Click to enlarge as well.
The gold stocks opened unchanged, then dipped a bit until around 10:10 a.m. in New York trading. They began to head unevenly higher from that point, with their respective highs coming about 1:45 p.m. EDT. From that juncture they were sold a bit lower into the close. The HUI finished up 0.99 percent.
It was mostly the same price pattern for the silver equities, except that after their 1:45 p.m. highs, they were sold lower until 3 p.m. EDT — and crawled a bit higher into the 4:00 p.m. close from there. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 0.84 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 295 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday.
In gold, there were four short/issuers in total and, like on Tuesday, the only two that mattered were Citigroup and Advantage, with the former issuing 200 contracts out of its in-house/proprietary trading account — and the latter with 85 contacts out of its client account. The only two long/stoppers that mattered were JPMorgan and Advantage, with 249 and 45 contracts for their respective client accounts.
With those 200 contracts just mentioned, Citigroup has how reissued every single contract…2,340…that it stopped earlier in the month, with JPMorgan being the primary stopper for its client account. I know that Ted will have something to say about this in his weekly review on Saturday.
The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in April rose yet again, this time by 239 contracts, leaving 586 still open, minus the 295 contracts mentioned a few short paragraphs ago. Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 225 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that another 225+239=464 gold contracts were added to the April delivery month. I note that silver o.i. in April rose by 1 contract, so obviously the delivery month in silver is still not over. No silver contracts were posted for delivery today.
There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday, this time an authorized participant removed 56,650 troy ounces. Once again, there were no reported changes in SLV.
Since April 1, there has been 1,170,112 troy ounces of gold removed from GLD, but the amount of silver in SLV has risen by 2,677,879 troy ounces during the same time period. If there’s a logical reason why this is the case, I’d love to hear from you.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Wednesday.
There was no in/out activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Tuesday.
There was decent activity in silver. There was 606,445 troy ounces…one truckload…received at CNT — and that’s all the ‘in’ activity there was. There was also 551,176 troy ounces shipped out…461,284 troy ounces from Canada’s Scotiabank — and the remaining 89,892 troy ounces from CNT. The link to this is here.
It was a very busy day over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Tuesday. They reported receiving 5,740 of them — and shipped out 6,020. All this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. of course — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
The hoard was discovered during road works in the Longmarket area of the city in 1962. Declared treasure trove, it was bought by the city council to be displayed at the Roman Museum which had been established the year before. However five objects appeared on the London antiquities market in 1982 that were originally part of the treasure but had not been declared at the time of its discovery. They were again declared as treasure trove and purchased a year later. The Canterbury Treasure was probably buried in the early 5th century A.D., when the Romans were withdrawing their garrisons from Britain. The owner of the treasure, who may have been a silversmith, buried it for safe-keeping, only to never reclaim it.
The treasure is mostly composed of small silver objects and jewellery. Many of the artifacts have Christian iconography on them. The silver objects include two spoons with swan-shaped handles, ten spoons (one engraved with a sea stag, another with the words in Latin ‘viribonum‘ — ‘I belong to a good man’), a toothpick, a rough bar and three ingots which each weigh one Roman pound. The jewellery include a gold finger ring with an inset green glass stone, a gold necklace clasp and a silver pin. One of the coins in the treasure was minted at Milan in the time of Emperor Honorius which means the hoard must have been buried sometime after 402 A.D.
I have an average number of stories for you today.
An extremely modest rise in 30-year mortgage rates has prompted a sudden collapse in mortgage applications for refinancings.
Overall, mortgage applications tumbled 7.3% last week and are down over 15% in the last three weeks – the worst drop since January 2016…Click to enlarge.
But the real pain is in refis – which crashed 11% in the last week (after falling 8.2% and 11.4% in the prior two weeks) as mortgage rates ticked up…Click to enlarge.
Mortgage rates are up just 10bps from 3 weeks ago.
Is the housing market really this sensitive to mortgage rates? If so, Jay Powell is in an even more serious box here than even he knows.
This brief 2-chart Zero Hedge article showed up on their website at 2:11 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is here.
Some Federal Reserve policy makers seem resigned to running a heightened risk of asset bubbles and other financial excesses as they seek to keep the economic expansion going.
That’s one of the messages tucked inside the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s March 19-20 policy making meeting.
“A few participants observed that the appropriate path for policy, insofar as it implied lower interest rates for longer periods of time, could lead to greater financial stability risks,’’ according to the minutes, published April 10.
Chairman Jerome Powell could be one of those officials. He’s publicly pointed out that the last two expansions ended not in a burst of inflation, but in financial froth, first a dot-com stock market boom, then a housing bubble.
A willingness by the Fed to court such perils by holding rates down should be good for the economy for a while. After all, the aim of such a policy would be to sustain growth at a healthy enough clip to meet the Fed’s twin goals of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.
But that monetary stance could store up trouble down the road should the financial threats materialize.
This Bloomberg news item was posted on their Internet site at 9:00 p.m. PST on Tuesday evening — and I found it in yesterday’s edition of the King Report. Another link to it is here.
Take off your shoes. Walk on tiptoe. Be quiet.
In front of us lies inflation. It hasn’t moved for years – rising only about 1.5%-2% – despite all the prodding from the feds.
The Fed tried to shock it awake with $3.6 trillion in stimulus money. And Congress hit it with more than $10 trillion in deficit spending stimulus over the last 10 years.
But… nothing. Not a whimper. Not a twitch.
And the authorities are deeply concerned. Here’s Peter Coy, at Bloomberg, explaining why:
“While five-digit, Venezuelan-grade inflation is destructive, a little bit greases the wheels of commerce. It makes it easier for companies to give stealth pay cuts to underperformers, because keeping their pay flat is tantamount to a reduction in real wages. Some inflation is also useful to central banks because it helps them fight recessions. To spur borrowing, they like to cut their policy rates to well below the rate of inflation. But they have no room to do so if the rate is barely above zero. A surprise decline in inflation also punishes borrowers by making their debts more burdensome.”
Yes, the feds, the professors, the politicians (including Donald Trump), and the business elite all think the same thing – that a little inflation is a good thing. They worry now that there may not be enough of it.
This commentary by Bill appeared on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Wednesday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
Backbench Conservative MPs will meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans to force Theresa May out as prime minister “within a matter of days,” as anger over her decision to delay Brexit boils over.
The leadership of the 1922 Committee, which represents all backbench Conservative MPs, will meet to decide whether to change party leadership rules to allow a vote of confidence in her leadership before the summer recess.
Under current rules, May is safe from such a challenge until next December after surviving a previous vote late last year.
However, Nigel Evans, the committee’s joint executive secretary, told TalkRADIO on Tuesday that May’s “catastrophic handling of Brexit negotiations” meant she now had to go.
“My recommendation will be that we should say to the prime minister that she should now go as quickly as possible… and I’m talking about a matter of days now,” Evans said.
This story from the business-insider.com Internet site was posted there sometime this afternoon BST — and I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for sharing it with us. Another link to it is here.
The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, says there is little need for his craft as “200,000 tons of diplomacy” are prowling the waters of the Mediterranean, unabashedly endorsing military show-offs as a political tool.
“Each of the carriers operating in the Mediterranean at this time represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy,” Huntsman said in a statement to the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet.
Huntsman was speaking aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, part of the dual carrier strike group that also consists of the USS John C. Stennis, the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered super-carrier. The warships kicked off their joint training operations on Wednesday. It is the first time since summer 2016 that two carrier strike groups have operated in the Mediterranean at the same time.
Speaking to CNN, Huntsman sang the praises of the U.S.’ maritime muscle, calling U.S. saber-rattling virtually at Russia’s doorstep “forward operating diplomacy.”
“When you have 200,000 tons of diplomacy that is cruising in the Mediterranean – this is what I call diplomacy, this is forward operating diplomacy – nothing else needs to be said.”
While Moscow has long criticized the U.S. military build-up near its borders as a hostile move further straining the rocky relationship between the two countries, Huntsman argued that such military maneuvers are somehow a necessary prerequisite for easing tensions with Moscow.
Yep, international diplomacy at its finest, dear reader…or another lesson in “how to win friends and influence people“. This story put in an appearance on the rt.com Internet site at 06:38 a.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday morning, which was 11:38 p.m. EDT on Tuesday night in New York. It was updated three hours later — and the first person through the door with this news item yesterday was George Whyte. Another link to it is here.
The Trump administration once again has graphically demonstrated that in the young, turbulent 21st century, “international law” and “national sovereignty” already belong to the Realm of the Walking Dead.
As if a deluge of sanctions against a great deal of the planet was not enough, the latest “offer you can’t refuse” conveyed by a gangster posing as diplomat, Consul Minimus Mike Pompeo, now essentially orders the whole planet to submit to the one and only arbiter of world trade: Washington.
First the Trump administration unilaterally smashed a multinational, UN-endorsed agreement, the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. Now the waivers that magnanimously allowed eight nations to import oil from Iran without incurring imperial wrath in the form of sanctions will expire on May 2 and won’t be renewed.
The eight nations are a mix of Eurasian powers: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.
Apart from the trademark toxic cocktail of hubris, illegality, arrogance/ignorance and geopolitical/geo–economic infantilism inbuilt in this foreign policy decision, the notion that Washington can decide who’s allowed to be an energy provider to emerging superpower China does not even qualify as laughable. Much more alarming is the fact that imposing a total embargo of Iranian oil exports is no less than an act of war.
This very worthwhile commentary by Pepe appeared on thesaker.is Internet site on Wednesday morning sometime — and I thank Larry Galearis for pointing it out. Another link to it is here.
One of the most-followed bellwethers for global growth just flashed another death-knell warning for the green-shoot-ers.
South Korea’s gross domestic product unexpectedly shrank in Q1, dropping 0.3% QoQ (against expectations of a 0.3% rise). Click to enlarge.
This is the biggest contraction in a decade as declining investment and exports take a toll on Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
South Korea is highly exposed to slowing in global growth and the technology sector, which have combined to crimp the nation’s GDP in recent quarters, and Band of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol blamed weakening exports, particularly of semiconductors, and slowing business investment for the growth downgrade. Click to enlarge.
As growth has slowed recently, the government unveiled a supplementary package of 6.7 trillion won ($5.9 billion) comes on top of a main budget that is already a record and a hefty increase from last year. However, the extra budget may push up GDP by 0.1 percentage points and create just 73,000 new jobs, according to the government.
This Zero Hedge news story was posted on their Internet site at 7:37 p.m. on Wednesday evening EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for this one. Another link to it is here.
Texas lawmakers created a new storage option for miners when they signed off on building America’s first state-backed gold depository in 2015.
The Texas Bullion Depository, currently under construction and with the capacity to house physical gold valued in excess of $100 billion will be the most secure facility outside of Fort Knox, will have the full protection of the state of Texas, and is insured by Lloyds of London.
Texas will have a lot of gold to protect — Governor Greg Abbott said when the project was announced last year that it would allow Texas to “repatriate” its gold from New York. The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company holds $1 billion worth of gold bullion at the HSBC Bank in New York City, the Texas Tribune reported.
“This goes back to the precious metals storage industry here in the U.S. Most of the depositories are in the east coast. I say why don’t we have more depositories in Texas? So, the legislature ultimately decided this was something that they wanted to do,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar told MINING.com.
“This is an opportunity for people to store precious metals in a variety of different options, another tool for those in the mining industry. This would also provide that additional oversight, that additional security, accountability, whether it is a short term or long term storage,” Hegar said.
This gold-related news item put in an appearance on the mining.com Internet site on Tuesday sometime — and it’s the first of two stories that I found on the Sharps Pixley website. Another link to it is here.
The Chamber of Deputies adopted on Wednesday, April 24, the draft law that obliges the National Bank of Romania (BNR) to repatriate most of the gold reserves held in London, at the Bank of England.
At present, 65% of Romania’s gold reserve is kept at the Bank of England.
The project, initiated by ruling party PSD leader Liviu Dragnea and senator Serban Nicolae, was adopted by the Chamber of Deputies with 165 votes in favor, 90 against and three abstentions, local News.ro reported. The Senate had adopted the bill on April 1.
The project, which amends the law on BNR’s statute, was submitted to the Parliament at the end of February.
Its initiators argued that, given the positive evolution of the Romanian economy in the last years, BNR’s policy on regarding the establishment and administration of gold reserves could change.
Romania’s central bank objects to lawmakers’ attempt to repatriate gold reserve
“Nothing in Romania’s economic situation justifies keeping such a quantity of gold as a reserve abroad, with the associated costs, which are not to be neglected, when this reserve can be kept and supplemented, accordingly, in deposits in the country,” the two initiators said.
To come into force, the project must be promulgated by president Klaus Iohannis.
This story showed up on the romania-insider.com Internet site on Wednesday sometime — and I picked it off the Sharps Pixley website. Another link to it is here.
Billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond – a Reuters analysis has found.
Customs data shows that the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006. The total weight was 446 tonnes, in varying degrees of purity – up from 67 tonnes in 2006. Click to enlarge.
Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states. Five trade economists interviewed by Reuters said this indicates large amounts of gold are leaving Africa with no taxes being paid to the states that produce them.
Previous reports and studies have highlighted the black-market trade in gold mined by people, including children, who have no ties to big business, and dig or pan for it with little official oversight. No-one can put an exact figure on the total value that is leaving Africa. But the Reuters analysis gives an estimate of the scale.
Reuters assessed the volume of the illicit trade by comparing total imports into the UAE with the exports declared by African states. Industrial mining firms in Africa told Reuters they did not send their gold to the UAE – indicating that its gold imports from Africa come from other, informal sources.
Informal methods of gold production, known in the industry as “artisanal” or small-scale mining, are growing globally. They have provided a livelihood to millions of Africans and help some make more money than they could dream of from traditional trades. But the methods leak chemicals into rocks, soil and rivers. And African governments such as Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia complain that gold is now being illegally produced and smuggled out of their countries on a vast scale, sometimes by criminal operations, and often at a high human and environmental cost.
This very long, but very worthwhile photo-filled Reuters essay was posted on their website at 6 a.m. BST in London on Wednesday morning — and the first reader through the door with it was Patrik Ekdahl. Another link to it is here.
India’s central bank is likely to join counterparts in Russia and China scooping up gold this year, adding to its record holdings and lending support to worldwide bullion demand as top economies diversify their reserves.
The Reserve Bank of India’s purchases are part of a wider picture across developing economies that are looking at de-dollarizing their foreign-exchange reserves, according to Ross Strachan at Capital Economics Ltd. The RBI’s buying trend can be sustained for a number of years in relatively small quantities, as part of a long-term diversification, he said.
The RBI may purchase 1.5 million ounces in 2019, or about 46.7 tons, according to Howie Lee, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., with an outlook based on extrapolating amounts bought in the first two months of this year.
The RBI increased its stash by about 42 tons last year, and after adding more in January and February, the country’s gold reserves now stand at a record high of almost 609 tons, according to data from the International Monetary Fund. Russia bought 274 tons in 2018 and has added more this year, while China’s central bank is on a renewed buying spree that began in December. Global official sector gold purchases could reach 700 tons in 2019 led by these countries as well as Kazakhstan, Iran, and Turkey, according to Citigroup Inc.
Heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainty pushed central banks to diversify their reserves and focus on investing in safe and liquid assets, with governments worldwide adding 651.5 tons of bullion last year — the second-highest total of purchases on record, according to the World Gold Council.
This gold-related news item appeared on the Bloomberg website at 3:00 Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday afternoon — and was updated about twenty-five hours later. I found it in a GATA dispatch yesterday — and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Today’s two photos were taken from the same pier in Kamloops that I took the trumpeter swan photos that appeared in yesterday’s column. The first is of a CN train as it crosses the South Thompson River a few hundred meters east of its confluence with the North Thompson River. The second shot is of a different CN train, this one crossing the North Thompson river on CN’s main line to Vancouver. This is with the telephoto, which really compresses distance, as the train was about two kilometers away. The Thompson River is in the foreground — and the confluence of the two rivers [and the four swans] is just out of frame on the right. Click to enlarge.
Well, the dollar index rallied yesterday, even more strongly than it did on Tuesday — and both gold and silver closed up by respectable amounts. So this correlation between the U.S. dollar index and how precious metal prices are supposed to behave, went out the window big time on Wednesday.
But, having said that, I’m not prepared to read anything into yesterday’s price action, as one day’s price action does not make a trend. We will only know when the next rally begins, as Ted Butler keeps saying…”when we see it in the rear-view mirror“. I don’t expect the next rally, when it’s allowed to occur, to be any different.
Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus copper and WTIC. No moving averages were broke in the either silver or gold yesterday, so there’s not much to see. Click to enlarge for all.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that the gold price fell and rose three bucks between the 6 p.m. EDT open in New York on Wednesday evening — and around 11 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning. It hasn’t done much since — and is currently back at unchanged. It didn’t take long for ‘da boyz’ to take back a big chunk of Wednesday’s gain in silver — and at the moment it’s down 12 cents. Platinum and palladium are both back in positive territory after being down a small handful of dollars in Far East trading. As Zurich opens, platinum is up 2 bucks — and palladium by 6.
Net HFT gold volume is coming up on 37,500 contracts — and there’s only 830 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal. Net HFT silver volume is just under 6,400 contracts — and there’s already a hair over 5,700 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index opened down 8 basis points 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. It ticked a tiny bit higher shortly after that, but has been edging unsteadily lower since — and is down 16 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. in London/8:45 a.m. in Zurich.
The next FOMC meeting gets started next Tuesday — and regardless of what’s said on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m EDT, I expect that ‘da boyz’ will be there to move precious metal prices in whatever direction they want them to go. And whether that’s ‘down’ or not, remains to be seen.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I see that gold an silver have rallied a tad during the first hour of London trading. Gold is now up $1.50 — and silver is down only 9 cents currently. Platinum is up only a dollar now — and palladium is now up only 5 dollars as the first hour of Zurich trading draws to a close.
Gross gold volume is now a bit over 51,000 contracts, which is quite a jump from an hour ago — and minus what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is a bit over 49,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 8,100 contracts — and there’s a chunky 6,900 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal already.
The dollar index didn’t do much until 8:22 a.m. in London — and then it jumped up a bit — and is down only 4 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. BST in London…9:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich.
That’s it for yet another day — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.