Ted Butler: A Voice From the Grave?

03 May 2019 — Friday


‘Da boyz’ began to quietly work the gold price lower in another of Ted’s “midnight moves” starting around 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning.  There was a bit of rally that began around the 10:30 a.m. BST morning gold fix in London, but that ran into “all the usual suspects” at the COMEX open.  The low tick came shortly before the afternoon gold fix in London — and from there it rallied until around noon in New York.  It traded virtually flat from that juncture until the market closed at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

The high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up once again.

Gold was closed at $1,270.40 spot, down $5.90 on the day — and at a new low close for this move down going back to the third week of December.  Net volume was up there at a bit under 251,000 contracts — and there was just under 33,500 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.

The silver price wandered quietly and unevenly lower until around 10 a.m. in London — and then rallied a bit until ‘da boyz’ showed up at the COMEX open.  The low tick in silver was set around 10:10 a.m. in New York.  It rallied a bit from there, but wasn’t allowed back above the unchanged mark — and it crept quietly sideways for the remainder of the Thursday session.

The high and low ticks in silver were recorded by the CME Group as $14.735 and $14.57 in the July contract.

Silver was closed at $14.595 spot, down 5 cents on the day — and another new low close for this move down.  Net volume was up there as well at a hair over 59,000 contracts — and there was a hair under 6,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.

The platinum price was up a dollar or so by shortly before 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning — and the “midnight move” in this precious metal began at that time.  The low tick was set shortly before 10:30 a.m. in New York — and it traded pretty flat from there until 5:00 p.m. when the market closed.  Platinum was closed at $850 spot, down 16 bucks from Wednesday — and back below its 50-day moving average by a reasonable amount.

The palladium price didn’t do much until shortly after 9 a.m. CST in Shanghai — and two hours later it was at its low of the day.  From that juncture, it  headed very unsteadily higher until around 9 a.m. in New York — and didn’t do much of anything after that.  Palladium finished the Thursday session at $1,338 spot, up 10 dollars from Wednesday’s close.

The dollar index closed very late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 97.69 — and opened down 6 basis points once trading commenced at 7:44 p.m. on Wednesday evening, which was 7:44 a.m. CST on their Thursday morning.  From that point, it didn’t do much of anything until a few minutes after 3 p.m. CST — and then it headed lower, with its 97.51 low tick coming a few minutes before the London open.  It crept very quietly and unevenly higher from there — and the 97.85 high came around 11:20 a.m. in New York.  It didn’t do much of anything after that.  The dollar index finished the day at 97.83…up 14 basis points from Wednesday’s close.

Here’s the DXY chart courtesy of the folks at Bloomberg, as they seem to have their chart issue sorted out now.  Click to enlarge.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of stockcharts.com — and the delta between its close…97.59…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 24 basis points on Thursday.  Click to enlarge as well.

The gold stocks gapped down a bit at the open — and their respective lows were set around 10:35 a.m. in New York trading.  They rallied rather sharply from there, but ran into more selling pressure around 11:30 a.m. EDT — and they then chopped quietly lower into the close from there.  The HUI finished down 1.85 percent.

It was the same general price pattern for the silver equities, so I won’t bother repeating myself.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down 2.87 percent…out of all relation to the five cent price decline in the underlying precious metal.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

And here’s the 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart from Nick, complete with Thursday’s doji.  Click to enlarge as well.

You have to wonder how long the precious metal miners are going to just sit there and do nothing while their industry and their stockholders continued to be raped by JPMorgan et al.  They’ve managed to ignore the price management scheme in the precious metals for the last twenty years, so what’s a few more years to them, I suppose.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 4 of the May delivery month showed that 27 gold and 362 silver contracts were posted for deliver within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.

In gold, the three short/issuers were ADM, Advantage and Marex Spectron, with 15, 8 and 4 contracts.  The two largest of the three long/stoppers were JPMorgan with 15 and Advantage with 8 contracts.  All contracts, both issued and stopped, involved their respective client accounts.

In silver, there were five short/issuers in total — and the three largest were International F.C. Stone, JPMorgan and Advantage, with 200, 73 and 68 contracts out of their respective client accounts.  Of the five long stoppers it was, as always, JPMorgan as the biggest, picking up 233 contracts in total…158 for its client account, plus another 80 for its own account.  In second and third spots were Advantage stopping 71 for its client account — and Standard General picking up 46 for its in-house/proprietary trading account.

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

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest in May remained unchanged at 153 contracts still open, minus the 27 mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Wednesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 30 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 30 more gold contracts must have been added to the May delivery month to make the numbers work out right.  Silver o.i. in May fell by 112 contracts, leaving 1,011 still around, minus the 362 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Wednesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 386 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 386-112=274 more silver contracts just got added to May.

There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday, the first one this week, as an authorized participant took out 37,763 troy ounces.  The big surprise of the day was in SLV, as an authorized participant added a whopping 2,869,544 troy ounces.  Considering the price action in silver of late, you have to wonder what that’s all about.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint on Thursday.  They sold 68,000 silver eagles — and that was it.

There was no physical movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Wednesday.  But there were two transfers from the Registered category — and back into Eligible…11,726 troy ounces at HSBC USA — and 10,313 troy ounces at Delaware.  I won’t bother linking this.

The only activity in silver on Wednesday all occurred at CNT.  They received one truckload…600,994 troy ounces…and they also transferred 510,584 troy ounces from the Eligible category — and into Registered.  Without doubt, this is slated for delivery in May.  The link to that is here.

And there was no activity at all over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Wednesday.

The Cuerdale Hoard is a hoard of more than 8,600 items, including silver coins, English and Carolingian jewellery, hacksilver and ingots. It was discovered on 15 May 1840 on the southern bank of a bend of the River Ribble, in an area called Cuerdale near Preston, Lancashire, England. The Cuerdale Hoard is one of the largest Viking silver hoards ever found, four times larger than its nearest rival in Britain or Ireland, according to Richard Hall. In weight and number of pieces, it is second only to the Spillings Hoard found on Gotland, Sweden.

The coins in the hoard are from three sources, represented in the proportions 5:1:1. Viking kingdoms of eastern England are represented in the largest portion; the other two portions are of Alfred’s Kingdom of Wessex and of coins from foreign sources, which include Byzantine, Scandinavian, Islamic, Papal, North Italian and Carolingian mintings, many of the last from Aquitaine perhaps, Richard Hall suggests, acquired there in the Viking raids of 898.

The hoard was found by a group of workmen repairing the embankment of the river. It was in a lead box, which shows evidence of the hoard having been parcelled into small bags or packages. After discovery it was quickly recovered by the landowner’s bailiffs, ensuring it remained together, though the workmen managed to keep a coin each.

It is believed the coins were buried between 903 and 910, soon after the Vikings had been expelled from Dublin in 902. At this time the Ribble Valley was an important Viking route between the Irish Sea and York. The presence of large numbers of newly minted Norse coins from York and large amounts of Irish Norse bullion leads experts to believe this may have been a war chest belonging to Irish Norse exiles intending to reoccupy Dublin from the Ribble Estuary, but there have also been many other theories about its ownership and purpose.   Click to enlarge.

It was another very quiet news day — and I don’t have all that much for you.


April U.S. Auto Sales Crash 6.1%, Worst Slide in 8 Years

It was yet another dismal month for U.S. auto sales in April, continuing a recessionary trend that has been in place not only in the U.S., but globally, for the better part of the last 12 months and certainly since the beginning of 2019. The nonsense-excuse-du jour for this month’s disappointing numbers is being placed on the weather/on seasonality/on rising car prices, which easily pushed away an overextended, broke and debt-laden U.S. consumer.

In a nutshell, U.S. auto sales in April tumbled by 6.1% – the biggest monthly drop since May 2011 – to just 16.4 million units, the lowest since October 2014. Aside for an incentive-boost driven rebound in March, every month of 2019 has seen a decline in the number of annualized auto sales. Furthermore, as David Rosenberg notes, the -4.3% Y/Y trend is the weakest it has been for the past 8 years.

Adding “fuel to the fire”, the average price of a new car in April came in at $36,720, the highest ASP so far this year, according to The Detroit News. It comes at a time where interest rates remain above 6% on average, further pressuring sales.

Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell said: “April sales were a bit dampened by the harsh financing conditions we’ve been seeing in the new-car market. Shoppers are really starting to feel the pinch as prices continue to creep up and interest rates loom at post-recession highs.”

This news item appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning — and it’s the first offering of the day from Brad Robertson.  Another link to it is here.

How the Feds Will Cover Up Their Next Larceny — Bill Bonner

Yes, Dear Reader… markets are unpredictable.

But you always know which way politicians will go; they will take the low road.

Which is why MMT is going to be a big hit in Washington – with both parties.

Recall that MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) states that governments can, and should, print and spend as much money as they want, assuming nothing bad happens.

Buffett, Icahn, and Powell may be bad-mouthing Modern Monetary Theory… but AOC and Bernie Sanders are already on board. And Donald J. Trump is buying his ticket.

First, the president is setting up the Fed to take the fall for the next stock sell-off. It “incessantly lifted rates,” he claims. Then, he will take the lead in solving the crisis by shifting to much bolder fiscal policies. More spending. Bigger deficits.

No boondoggle left behind!

This commentary from Bill put in an appearance on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Thursday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.

Dalio: “Like It Or Not” Central Banking is on Its Way Out; MMT Will “Inevitably” Replace it

Following the publication of his ‘capitalist manifesto’ where he called for drastic reforms of the American capitalist system to redistribute wealth and resources more equitably – something he followed up with an unprecedented $100 million donation to the public schools in his home state of Connecticut, putting his money where his mouth is, so to speak – Ray Dalio’s self-published LinkedIn essays have been garnering a lot more attention. It probably didn’t hurt that Dalio’s essay appeared to set off a wave of wealthy capitalists talking about how “capitalism is broken“, placing him at the forefront of a trend that could have profound implications for American politics as Wall Street struggles to confront the rise of populism on the right and the left.

And so it is that late on Wednesday, Dalio published a follow-up where he expanded on a proposal that, as we noted at the time, sounded suspiciously similar to Modern Monetary Theory.

This time around, Dalio argued that, whether we like it or not, the U.S. will eventually be forced to embrace MMT, this has become “inevitable,” he said. Central banking as we know it (which, thanks to rampant money printing in the post-crisis paradigm, has already moved closer to the MMTers ideal) is doomed to eventually collapse under its own weight and unpopularity. In other words, sooner or later, the people will demand MMT, once inequality gets bad enough.

Once the public has accepted that money printing and interest-rate cuts aren’t doing enough to distribute wealth more equally (as we’ve pointed out many times, the Fed’s unprecedented post-crisis easing has been the primary driver in the expansion of economic inequality that Dalio finds so troubling), policy makers will be forced to accept “monetary policy 3” – or MMT.

This article showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 9:50 a.m. on Thursday morning EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

Editorial: The Federal Reserve Fight — The New York Sun

The defeat of Steve Moore’s candidacy for a governorship of the Federal Reserve invites a strategic look at the fight over our central bank. This fight has, after all, been brewing a long time — since, in our view, 1971, when President Nixon closed the gold window and ended the era of Bretton Woods, when the dollar was redeemable by foreign governments for a 35th of an ounce of gold.

We share The Wall Street Journal’s admiration for Mr. Moore. It is denouncing, in tomorrow’s edition, the low tactics used against Mr. Moore. It notes that Democrats will never forgive Mr. Moore for being right on taxes. We’ve admired his preparedness to ask “basic, even radical questions about our monetary system, such as whether we need the Federal Reserve in the first place.”

That itself isn’t a question that would be up to the governors of the Fed itself. It’s the purview of Congress, to which the Constitution assigns between 99% and 101% of the monetary powers it grants to our government. It would have been a nice change, though, to have, in Mr. Moore, a governor of the Fed who was not frightened at the thought of opening up the question of reform.

This editorial put in an appearance on the nysun.com Internet site in their Friday edition — and I found on the gata.org Internet site.  Another link to it is here.

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire — Doug Casey

As some of you know, I’m an aficionado of ancient history. I thought it might be worthwhile to discuss what happened to Rome and based on that, what’s likely to happen to the U.S. Spoiler alert: There are some similarities between the U.S. and Rome.

But before continuing, please seat yourself comfortably. This article will necessarily cover exactly those things you’re never supposed to talk about—religion and politics—and do what you’re never supposed to do, namely, bad-mouth the military.

There are good reasons for looking to Rome rather than any other civilization when trying to see where the U.S. is headed. Everyone knows Rome declined, but few people understand why. And, I think, even fewer realize that the U.S. is now well along the same path for pretty much the same reasons, which I’ll explore shortly.

Rome reached its peak of military power around the year 107, when Trajan completed the conquest of Dacia (the territory of modern Romania). With Dacia, the empire peaked in size, but I’d argue it was already past its peak by almost every other measure.

The U.S. reached its peak relative to the world, and in some ways its absolute peak, as early as the 1950s. In 1950 this country produced 50% of the world’s GNP and 80% of its vehicles. Now it’s about 21% of world GNP and 5% of its vehicles. It owned two-thirds of the world’s gold reserves; now it holds one-fourth. It was, by a huge margin, the world’s biggest creditor, whereas now it’s the biggest debtor by a huge margin. The income of the average American was by far the highest in the world; today it ranks about eighth, and it’s slipping.

But it’s not just the U.S.—it’s Western civilization that’s in decline. In 1910 Europe controlled almost the whole world—politically, financially, and militarily. Now it’s becoming a Disneyland with real buildings and a petting zoo for the Chinese. It’s even further down the slippery slope than the U.S.

Never one to pull his punches, or suffer fools gladly, Doug doesn’t spare anyone’s feelings here, either.  Despite his intellect, it’s too bad he’s not man enough to ever admit that he was wrong about something — that the precious metal prices have been actively managed for the last 30+ years.  This very worthwhile commentary was posted on the internationalman.com Internet site on Thursday sometime — and another link to it is here.

An Economic Hit Man Confesses and Calls to Action — John Perkins

John Perkins describes the methods he used to bribe and threaten the heads of state of countries on four continents in order to create a global empire [for the U.S. corporatocracy – Ed] and he reveals how the leaders who did not “play the game” were assassinated or overthrown. He brings us up to date about the way the economic hit man system has spread from developing countries to the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the world and offers a strategy for turning this around. “Each of us,” he says, “can participate in this exciting revolution. We can transform a system that is consuming itself into extinction into one that is sustainable and regenerative.”

I’ve spoken often of John Perkins over the years, as his book “Confession of an Economic Hit Man” was an international best seller — and translated into 30 languages.  Here’s a 19-minute talk that he gave under the TEDx banner about two years ago — and it’s definitely worth watching. Another link to it is here.

Deutsche Bank is Back to Square One Again

More than four years after the leaders of Deutsche Bank AG unveiled their first post-crisis strategic reboot, they’re back at square one. It’s the eternal turnaround.

The giant German bank’s core problem is the same—costs are too high, revenue is too low—but there are fewer levers for Chairman Paul Achleitner and Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing to pull now that merger talks with Commerzbank AG are off. The combination could have helped Deutsche Bank by taking out its biggest domestic rival and lowering its own funding costs by expanding its deposit base. But the obstacles to forging one sturdy institution out of two weak ones proved insurmountable. In a joint statement, the banks’ CEOs cited execution risks, restructuring costs, and the higher capital requirements the combined bank would face.

As the prospective merger collapsed, Deutsche Bank reminded its stakeholders how challenging the repair job is: Revenue in the first three months of 2019 fell for the ninth straight quarter, and, more important for an executive team committed to cost-cutting, expenses climbed as a percentage of total sales. The bank’s shares are so battered they trade for about a quarter of the value of its net assets—far less than its biggest competitors.

But Deutsche Bank has virtually no proposal for what to do next, with the risk of a potentially catastrophic downgrade in its credit rating looming. The bank has repeatedly said it will protect its rating. Its leaders reaffirmed cost-cutting targets, saying they are dependent on a benign market to reach their profitability goal. Beyond that, no one will speak about new initiatives, apart from saying they’re looking at “alternatives” to the current plan. Since the bank has plenty of capital and cash, a plodding, grinding campaign to reduce expenses seems to be the strategy. At least that’s what some unimpressed analysts and shareholders fear. “We think [Deutsche Bank] will continue to lose market share in trading as it needs to continue to cut expenses amid elevated funding costs,” wrote Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Jon Peace in a note.

This Bloomberg story was posted on their Internet site at 9:01 p.m. PDT [Pacific Daylight Time] on Wednesday evening — and I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for bringing it to our attention.  Another link to it is here.

India’s Q1 gold demand up 5% at 159 tonnes on fall in prices; jewellery sale gets boost during wedding season: WGC

India’s gold demand rose 5 percent to 159 tonnes during January-March period this year on fall in prices that boosted jewellery sales during wedding season, a World Gold Council (WGC) report says.

Gold demand stood at 151.5 tonnes in the first quarter of 2018, according to WGC’s ‘Q1 Gold Demand Trends‘ report.

In terms of value, there was a 13 percent growth during the quarter at Rs 47,010 crore compared to Rs 41,680 crore in the same period last year.

The strengthening of the rupee and the fall in local gold prices towards the later part of the quarter triggered a rise in Q1 gold demand to 159 tonne. Growth of 5 percent in Indian jewellery demand to 125.4 tonne uplifted global demand and boosted retail sentiment.”

The increase in auspicious wedding days during the quarter to 21 days from 8 in the same period of 2018 also played a crucial role in increase in demand,” WGC managing director, India, Somasundaram PR told PTI in Mumbai.

The overall demand for gold at the global level surged 7 per cent to 1,053.3 tonnes, led by buying by central banks and exchange traded funds (ETFs), says the latest report on gold demand trends for the first quarter of calendar year 2019 by the World Gold Council (WGC).

This gold-related news item showed up on the firstpost.com Internet site at 11:38 a.m. IST on their Thursday morning, which was 2:08 a.m. in New York — EDT plus 9.5 hours.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website — and another link to it is here.

Ted Butler: A Voice From the Grave?

The news that Bart Chilton, the former commissioner of the CFTC, suddenly passed away was truly sad but also shocking, so much so that some were given to fabricating conspiracy-type explanations. Chilton certainly had a larger than life persona and many came to appreciate his colorful pronouncements, enthusiasm and willingness to respond to just about everyone who contacted him – qualities quite rare in a regulator. I learned this first-hand very early on when I started communicating with Chilton shortly after he became commissioner in 2007, as I recounted not even a month ago in reaction to his last known interview, with Chris Marcus from Arcadia Economics.

I stated in the first sentence of that article that Chilton’s interview nearly knocked me off my feet, but I didn’t fully explain why that was so, which I’d like to rectify today. Yes, I found the interview shocking because Chilton seemed to confirm much of what I had contended for more than a decade, but it was much more than that. I was confounded because I couldn’t quite fathom what prompted Chilton to “spill the beans” about the inner workings at the agency regarding JPMorgan’s manipulation of silver after so many years. After all, there was never any acknowledgement from the “inside” that the Commission was quite close to cracking down on JPMorgan – Chilton’s clear admission of this in his interview was the first ever. And perhaps the last.

With the revelation that Chilton was dying from pancreatic cancer, I was confounded no more – Bart Chilton was setting the record straight before his passing – perhaps the most noble act of a life that was more than notable. It is regretful that it would take such unfortunate circumstances – the immediacy of pending death – for the revelation to be made. While the burden on Chilton has been lifted, what does this say about all the other past and current officials at the agency and elsewhere who have chosen to remain silent about a matter of vital public interest?

This very worthwhile commentary from Ted was posted on the silverseek.com Internet site at 10:49 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning — and is definitely worth reading.  Another link to it is here.


The first shot is the last of our trip of discovery in and around Kamloops.  It’s looking south east — and the airport [YKA] and Domtar pulp mill are visible in the far left centre of the photo.  The white dots on the slough in the foreground are trumpeter swans.  The second photo is of a yellow-bellied marmot that was sunning itself on a concrete highway divider on an overpass in MerrittClick to enlarge for both.


‘Da boyz’ were there to ensure that both silver and gold…along with platinum…set new lows for this engineered price decline — and also closing platinum below its 50-day moving average in the process.

I would suspect that the Managed Money traders were selling long positions and going short in gold — and there were more brain-dead moving average-following Managed Money traders going further on the short side in silver as well.  It’s a given the Managed Money traders in both gold and silver are all the same traders. As Ted pointed out, all these new short positions will be covered at a loss when precious metal price are inevitably allowed to rise.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals, plus both copper and WTIC.  Copper has a had a bad two days — and was closed right on its 200-day moving average on Thursday — and WTIC has been engineered lower for almost seven straight sessions — and it broke through its 200-day moving average briefly yesterday, but closed above it.  I suspect that both copper and WTIC will be closed below their respective 200-day moving averages in short order.  Click to enlarge.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that gold has crawled a bit higher in Far East trading on their Friday — but is up only 50 cents currently. Silver is up a penny cents. Although platinum is up a buck at the moment, it was sold down to a new intraday low for this move down at 10 a.m. China Standard Time. Palladium has been edging very unevenly lower in Shanghai — and is down 4 dollars as Zurich opens.

Net HFT gold volume is extremely quiet at just under 22,000 contracts — and there’s 1,109 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that. Net HFT silver volume is also very quiet at 5,700 contracts — and there’s only 695 contract worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.

The dollar index hasn’t done much. It opened down 4 basis points once trading commenced at 7:44 p.m. EDT in New York on Thursday evening — and then dipped a few basis points until around 10:30 a.m. CST. It has been creeping ever so quietly and unevenly higher since — and is up 7 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. GST in London/8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich.

Today, at around 3:30 p.m. EDT, we get the latest and greatest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held as of the COMEX close on Tuesday.  It’s already “yesterday’s news” in every respect — and I’ll just hit the highlights in my Saturday column.

In his mid-week commentary on Wednesday, Ted “didn’t think that there would be significant positioning changes“.  I mentioned in my Thursday missive that I thought there might some slight increases in the commercial net short positions in both gold and silver, but doubted they would be material.

And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I see that the gold price is now down a bit on the day…50 cents — and silver is back at unchanged. Platinum is up 3 dollars — and palladium is down only 3 bucks at the moment, as the first hour of Zurich trading draws to a close.

Gross gold volume is coming up on 37,000 contracts — and minus roll-over/switch volume, net HFT gold volume is around 34,500 contracts…pretty light. Net HFT silver volume is around 8,700 contracts — and there’s only 704 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal.

The dollar index really hasn’t done much during the last hour — and is up 5 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich.

Today, at 8:30 a.m. EDT, we get the latest job numbers — and I certainly think that ‘da boyz’ will be to make sure the precious metals behave in an appropriate manner, as gold’s 200-day moving average may still be in their sights.

Enjoy your weekend — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.