10 May 2019 — Friday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price didn’t do much when trading commenced at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Wednesday evening — and its low tick of the day, such as it was, occurred a few minutes after 10 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning. It began to crawl unsteadily higher until around 9:20 a.m. in London — and it was sold quietly lower from that point until the COMEX open. It took off higher starting shortly after the equity markets opened in New York, but that was capped and turned lower starting a few minutes before 10:30 a.m. EDT. From that point it edged quietly lower until trading ended at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
Once again, the low and high ticks aren’t worth looking up.
Gold was closed on Thursday in New York at $1,283.40 spot, up $3.10 from Wednesday. Net volume was very decent for the second day in a row, at a hair under 262,000 contracts — and there was 49,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
The silver price traded a few pennies either side of unchanged on Thursday in Far East trading — and that state of affairs lasted until around 9:30 a.m. BST in London. It began to head a bit lower from there, but the sell-off picked up a bit more steam about three hours later — and the low tick in silver was set around 9:30 a.m. in New York. Like gold, it took off a bit higher staring around 9:40 a.m. EDT — and was also capped around 10:30 a.m. It was sold very quietly and unevenly lower from there until the market closed at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
The high and low ticks in silver were reported by the CME Group as $14.875 and $14.715 in the July contract.
Silver was closed yesterday at $14.72 spot, down another 7.5 cents — and very safely below its 200-day moving average. Net volume was nothing out of the ordinary for the second day in a row at 53,000 contracts — and there was 7,100 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
Platinum was down a couple of dollars in Far East trading on their Thursday — and the price pressure appeared at, or shortly after, the 2:15 p.m. CST afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It was sold quietly lower until around 2:30 p.m. in the very thinly-traded after-hours market in New York — and didn’t do a thing after that. Platinum was closed at $847 spot, down another 12 bucks from Wednesday.
The palladium price was back above the $1,300 spot mark by a few dollars by the afternoon gold fix in Shanghai, but then suffered the same fate as platinum, with the low tick coming around ten minutes after the COMEX open in New York. It rallied back a bunch from there until COMEX trading ended at 1:30 p.m. EDT — and didn’t do anything after that. Palladium was closed at $1,281 spot, down 15 bucks on the day.
The dollar index closed very late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 97.62 — and opened down 4 basis points once trading commenced at 7:44 p.m. EDT on Wednesday evening, which was 7:44 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning. From that juncture it chopped quietly, but very unevenly sideways until some China-related trade news appeared at 9:30 a.m. in New York. Its waterfall decline was halted by the usual ‘gentle hands’ at its 97.24 low tick at 10:20 a.m. EDT — and it ‘rallied’ very unevenly higher until a few minutes before 5 p.m. EDT. It dipped a bit into the close from there. The dollar index finished the Thursday session at 97.37…down 25 basis points from its close on Wednesday.
Here’s the DXY chart from the ino.com Internet site — and all the numbers in the preceding paragraph are courtesy of Bloomberg. Even though their DXY chart is still useless, their associated numbers are still OK, so I’m using them. The ‘click to enlarge’ feature does not help with this chart.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart — and the delta between its close…97.16…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 21 basis points on Thursday. Click to enlarge.
The gold shares opened unchanged — and then rallied a bit until very shortly after 10 a.m. in New York trading. They started to head unevenly lower from there — and closed on their low ticks of the day. The HUI finished lower by 1.26 percent.
The silver equities also opened unchanged and, like the gold stocks, began to get sold lower a few minutes after 10 a.m. in New York. After that, their price paths were very similar in most respects to what happened to their golden brethren — and for all intents and purposes, the silver equities close on their lows of the day as well. At least they had a reason, as silver was closed lower on the day. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down 2.43 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Thursday’s doji. Click to enlarge as well.
The share prices in the precious metal equities are certainly not behaving as they should, as they’re falling out of all proportion to what’s happening in their respective underlying precious metals. One has to wonder if some entities are now shorting the precious metal equities as well as the metals themselves.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 11 gold and 13 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.
In gold, the three short/issuers were ADM, ABN Amro and Advantage, with 6, 3 and 2 contracts. The three long/stoppers were JPMorgan, Advantage and Morgan Stanley, with 7, 3 and 1 contract. All contracts, both issued and stopped, involved their respective client accounts.
In silver, the sole short/issuer was Advantage — and of the three long/stoppers in total, the largest was JPMorgan picking up 8 contracts in total…6 for clients — and 2 for its own account. And in second spot was Advantage, stopping 4 contracts for its client 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 128 contracts, minus the 11 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Wednesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 5 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 5 more gold contracts must have been added to the May delivery month. Silver o.i. in May fell by 38 contracts, leaving 328 still open, minus the 13 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Wednesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 49 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 49-38=11 more silver contracts were added to May.
For the second day in a row, there were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV.
The folks over at the shortsqueeze.com Internet site updated the short positions for both SLV and GLD as of the close of trading on Tuesday, May 30 — and it showed a small increase in the short position in SLV — and a small decrease in the short position in GLD.
In GLD, the short position dropped from 1,500,280 troy ounces, down to 1,445,360 troy ounces, which works out to a decrease of 3.7 percent. In SLV, the short position rose from 9,452,500 share/troy ounces, to 10,248,800 troy ounces, an increase of 8.4 percent. Considering the amount of precious metals held in each of these ETFs, these are not material amounts, or changes.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.
There was no in/out movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Wednesday.
There was almost no activity in silver, as nothing was reported received — and only 9,400 troy ounces was shipped out. That activity was at Delaware. There was also a tiny paper transfer of 4,926 troy ounces from the Eligible category — and into Registered. I suspect that amount is slated for delivery in May. I won’t bother linking these amounts.
There was a bit of activity over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Wednesday. They reported receiving 625 of them — and didn’t ship out any. Of the amount received, there was 270 received at Loomis International — and the remaining 355 kilobars ended up at Brink’s, Inc. The link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
In 1966 the Fishpool Hoard of 1,237 15th century gold coins, four rings and four other pieces of jewellery, and two lengths of gold chain was discovered by workmen on a building site near present-day Cambourne Gardens, in Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, England, an area that was then known as “Fishpool”. It is the largest hoard of medieval coins ever found in Britain. To judge from the dates of the coins, the hoard was probably buried in haste at some time between winter 1463 and summer 1464, perhaps by someone fleeing south after the Battle of Hexham in May 1464, in the first stages of England’s civil war between aristocratic factions, the War of the Roses.
The makeup of the coinage, as well as dating the hoard, showed that the light coinage of 1412 did not entirely eliminate earlier gold coins. Among the coins were detected some nearly contemporary gold-plated counterfeit coins from the reign of Henry VI (1422–61). Click to enlarge.
It was another rather quiet news day yesterday — and I only have a handful of stories for you once again.
The stock market was rattled on Tuesday, after Donald Trump threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods.
The Chinese replied with silly threats of their own:
“China deeply regrets that if the U.S. tariff measures are carried out, China will have to take necessary countermeasures,” said a Commerce Ministry statement.
Meanwhile, conflicting tweets and news items told us that China was either “ready to make a deal” or “planning retaliation.”
Investors were left confused. Yesterday, stocks moved little, neither up nor down.
The typical citizen, consumer, politician, or businessman doesn’t know what to make of it either. On the one hand, his president insists that he is forcing the Chinese to give us a better deal. The Donald says that “they will pay” if they don’t buckle to his demands.
On the other hand, the householder wants a cheap TV. He doesn’t care where it comes from; he just wants the most value for his money. How could the Chinese give him “a better deal”? An even cheaper TV?
But cheaper goods from China would mean an even bigger trade deficit – the opposite of what Donald Trump says he wants.
This commentary from Bill was posted on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Thursday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
Unlike many of the money managers who achieved instant Wall Street fame during the crisis, only for LPs to yank billions from their funds as performance faltered (John Paulson comes to mind), Steve Eisman has had a relatively successful post-crisis run as a money manager at Neuberger Berman.
Which is why when Eisman sits down for an interview with Bloomberg TV, it’s usual worth taking a few minutes to listen to what he has to say. After all, he has been right on at least one major contrarian call: his prediction that the Brexit negotiations would collapse and that the U.K. would eventually leave the E.U. without a deal (though the Brexit can was recently kicked, when Eisman first made that prediction, the financial establishment was still firmly united behind the view that the Tories, or the E.U., would eventually fall into line and a deal would be reached). Then again, this hasn’t done much for Eisman’s bets against U.K. and Canadian banks.
But on Thursday, Eisman became the latest Wall Street luminary to warn about the dangers of the U.S. corporate debt market, something that we have also discussed at length, and that even the Fed has cited as a vulnerable area.
Eisman said “big losses” in things like “BBB corporate” debt should be expected during the next downturn.
“You will see big losses in things like triple-B corporate debt, high-yield etcetera, but you need a recession first,” he said. “Corporate debt isn’t going to cause the next recession, but it’s where the pain will be in the next recession.”
This Zero Hedge article put in an appearance on their Internet site at 6:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening — and the full Bloomberg video interview with Eisman is embedded. Another link to it is here.
Has President Trump finally turned on John Bolton? It’s starting to look that way.
Shortly before President Trump tweeted about a meeting with Marco Rubio and Rick Scott where the “terrible abuses by Maduro” were discussed, The Washington Post published an anonymously sourced story claiming that Trump is growing frustrated with the situation in Venezuela, and is blaming aides like Bolton for misleading him about opposition leader Juan Guaido’s chances of success.
According to WaPo, Trump has privately described Maduro as a “tough cookie“, and blamed aides for misleading him when they said the socialist strongman could be ousted during last week’s demonstrations. In recent days, Trump has expressed concern that Bolton is trying to get him “into a war.” We imagine a leaked plan for a U.S.-backed coup prepared by SOUTHCOM hasn’t helped to assuage these concerns.
And remember, Bolton has also been a key figure in escalating tensions with Iran to what is starting to look like the brink of an armed conflict.
Though two WaPo sources insisted that Bolton’s job is ‘safe‘ – for now at least – the fact that Trump has finally caught on to the drawbacks of Bolton’s neoconnishness, and now appears to understand that Bolton’s views are at odds with Trump’s “America First” platform, certainly doesn’t bode well for his prospects.
This story appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 10:16 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along. Another link to it is here. Then this story appeared on the rt.com Internet site late last night Moscow time…”Establishment media suddenly against war… because Trump” — and I thank George Whyte for that one.
Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan and three other banks are set to be fined by E.U. antitrust regulators in coming weeks for rigging the multi-trillion dollar foreign exchange market, two people familiar with the matter said.
The other three lenders are Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and a small Japanese bank, the people said. The banks will see a 10 percent cut in their fines for admitting wrongdoing.
In contrast, Credit Suisse, which has previously said it did not find any evidence of misconduct, is fighting the E.U. antitrust charge. It is not clear if the European Commission will be able to finalize the case in time to levy a fine against the Swiss bank in coming weeks.
The E.U. antitrust enforcer, which has been investigating the case over the last six years and could hand out fines up to 10 percent of a company’s global turnover for breaching E.U. rules, declined to comment.
U.S. regulators said the foreign exchange rate rigging was allegedly done through chat rooms with such names as “The Cartel,” “The Mafia” and “The Bandits’ Club,” through tactics with such names as “front running,” “banging the close,” “painting the screen” and “taking out the filth.”
This Reuters news item, filed from Brussels, appeared on their Internet site at 8:47 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning — and it just popped up on the gata.org Internet site. Another link to it is here.
U.S. authorities have seized a North Korean ship used to sell coal allegedly in violation of international sanctions, the first such move by Justice Department officials as they ratchet up enforcement efforts against the regime in Pyongyang.
Justice Department officials on Thursday confirmed the Wise Honest is approaching U.S. territorial waters, with coordination of the U.S. Marshals and the Coast Guard.
“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in announcing the seizure.
The 17,601-ton, single hull bulk carrier ship is one of North Korea’s largest, and U.S. authorities said it was used to illicitly ship coal and deliver heavy machinery to North Korea.
Media reports from last year indicate Indonesian authorities first stopped the vessel on suspicion of violating sanctions. U.S. officials would not say Thursday if Indonesia turned over the vessel.
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution in 2017 banning North Korea from exporting coal.
Under normal circumstances, this would be considered an act of war. This news item showed up on The Washington Post website early on Thursday EDT — and it was subsequently picked up by the msn.com Internet site. I thank Brad Robertson for bringing it to our attention — and another link to it is here.
After much theatrics and 11th hour negotiations, the U.S. more than doubled tariffs to 25% on more than $200 billion in good imports from China just after midnight on Friday in what has been dubbed the “most dramatic step yet” in Donald Trump’s crusade to extract trade concessions from Beijing, deepening a nearly two-year old conflict that has roiled global markets and impacted the world economy.
While the White House said in a statement that talks are set to resume Friday, setting the stage for a tense final day of negotiations between Liu He, China’s vice premier and Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, Bloomberg reports that according to “close observers” there is little hope for any meaningful breakthroughs, especially since Liu does not have the authority to make any meaningful commitments, while an alleged phone call between Trump and president Xi yielded no positive results. It was also unclear, Bloomberg adds, whether China had resolved the internal debates that had led to last week’s rescinding of prior commitments to enshrine reforms agreed in Chinese law.
News that the U.S. would hike tariffs, and set off a sequence of events that would most likely result in further escalation pushed U.S. equity futures, treasury yields and the USD/JPY lower around midnight.
In response to the tariff hike, China immediately said in a statement it “deeply regrets the latest tariff hike” and that it will be forced to take countermeasures against the U.S. actions, but didn’t specify how, even as it said that it still hopes the two sides can resolve issues via ongoing consultations.
The tariff hike came after brief discussions between Liu He and his U.S. counterparts in Washington made little progress on Thursday, with the mood around them downbeat, according to people familiar with the talks. The negotiations were due to resume on Friday morning Washington time.
It was also not exactly clear how China could retaliate, as Beijing can no longer match the U.S. tariffs dollar-for-dollar because they simply don’t buy enough American goods.
This news story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 12:57 a.m. EDT on Friday morning — and another link to it is here.
AngloGold Ashanti is looking at options to dispose of its remaining assets in South Africa, arguing that investments needed to extend their lives would secure better returns elsewhere in the portfolio, sending its shares higher.
AngloGold, the world’s third-largest gold mine, has extensively restructured its S.A. portfolio, selling mines to Harmony Gold and others, leaving it with a single underground mine at Mponeng and two surface operations.
The Mponeng mine needs a large capital investment in the next few years to deepen the mine, but it is competing against other investments that have better returns in shorter time frames.
“We believe that under the right ownership, our SA assets offer a compelling long-term value proposition that may allow for an extension to Mponeng Mine’s current life,” CEO Kelvin Dushnisky said.
“The investment to extend Mponeng’s life beyond eight years has very strong competition for capital and other scarce resources from a host of other projects in our portfolio, which at current planning assumptions are more attractive, generating higher returns and quicker payback periods,” he said.
This story appeared on the businessalive.co.za Internet site at 8:08 a.m. local time in South Africa on their Thursday morning, which was 2:08 a.m. EDT in New York…EDT plus 6 hours — and was updated five hours later. I found it in a GATA dispatch yesterday — and another link to it is here.
GOLD PRICE SUPPRESSION is “the BIGGEST ISSUE in the WORLD … it involves the valuation of all capital, labor, goods and services in the world and these valuations are being set in a really imperialistic and totalitarian way and not in an open and transparent way and we think this is evil.”
– Brief introduction to Chris Powell, Treasurer and Secretary of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) and Bill Murphy of GATA and LeMetropoleCafe.com , two of the most important financial whistle blowers of recent years
– GATA’s tireless and courageous campaign for freely traded gold, silver and foreign exchange markets with little support from ‘Main Street, Wall Street, most of the gold industry and most of the media
– Why do central banks and “officialdom” manipulate gold and silver prices lower?
– “I could not be more disappointed with and contemptuous of 99% of the mainstream financial news organizations will not touch the issue of governments rigging markets.”
This 38-minute video interview with Chris Powell, hosted by Mark O’Byrne, was posted on the youtube.com Internet site very early on Thursday morning EDT — and I found it on the gata.org Internet site yesterday. It’s worth your while if you have the time — and another link to it is here.
In morning trading in Europe the price of palladium fell sharply again while that of gold rose and, as I write, the spot gold price, according to kitco.com is exceeding that of palladium by nearly $10 an ounce. I had predicted earlier this year that gold would get back to a premium over palladium and one suspects that the current price advantage for the yellow metal won’t necessarily last in the immediate short term, but the trend is clear.
While fundamentals for both precious metals look positive, palladium looks to have been seen to have risen too far too fast. It has also been hit by what seems to be a major global downturn in new automobile sales which has seen the price dive by over $300 in a month and a half, having peaked at over $1,600 an ounce in late March. Growth in the take-up of electric driven cars will not be helping here either. Gold as I write is in the low $1,280s spot, but palladium has continued to fall back and is now in the mid-$1270s. But the gold price looks as if it may be on the up, although recently gains in Europe have tended to be rapidly eroded when the U.S markets open – although prices have tended to recover late in the day.
As for palladium, now the price bubble is seen to have burst, even if only temporarily, it could well drop back another few hundred dollars over the next few months, and might even get close to parity with its sister metal, platinum, although on the face of things its fundamentals still look by far the stronger. But sentiment remains a big player in the markets and the force may no longer be with palladium given that its seemingly inexorable price rise has been dented. Precious metals prices are always difficult to call – far more so than base metals where supply/demand patterns may be more obvious. But in the case of palladium one has to recognise that it is, in reality, very much an industrial metal and its fortunes tend to wax and wane with the overall state of the global economy – and this is not looking strong at the moment.
This 4-paragrah commentary from Lawrie put in an appearance on the Sharps Pixley website early on Thursday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Today’s first photo is the last one on the descent off the Thompson Plateau. Nicola Lake is the body of water in the center of the shot — and below it is a small stretch of very scenic B.C. Highway 5A between Merritt and Kamloops. The second shot was taken from the other side of the lake in Monck Provincial Park, looking over at the Thompson Plateau that we just drove down from. The last shot is of the first flower of spring in these parts…a buttercup. In this macro photo, the needles from the Ponderosa pine appear as long, thin logs, as the flower is only about 7 mm across…less than a third of an inch. Click to enlarge.
Well, JPMorgan et al were certainly standing close by when the dollar index cratered at 9:30 a.m. in New York on Thursday morning, as neither gold nor silver prices were allowed to get far after that…although I must admit I found their respective initial rallies rather tepid in the first place.
Gold and silver prices were kept well below any moving average that mattered again yesterday, but ‘da boyz’ set new intraday lows in both platinum and palladium for this move down.
Platinum was closed below its 50-day moving average for the second day in a row — and the 200-day moving average isn’t that far off now. The 200-day in palladium is still a bit over $100 away — and it will be interesting to see if they can continue to work their paper magic in the COMEX futures market in these two precious metals.
Copper was smacked below its 200-day moving average by a nickel or so — and was closed below it by a hair for the second day in a row. WTIC broke through its 50-day moving average by a hair…touching its 200-day moving average in the process, but closed above both of them. This was not difficult to accomplish, as both moving averages are within dimes of each other — and Thursday’s closing price.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities — and yesterday’s changes should be noted, if you have the interest, that is. Click to enlarge for all.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than ten minutes away — and I note that gold’s tiny two dollar and change gain in afternoon trading in the Far East, was all taken back going into the 2:15 p.m. China Standard Time afternoon gold fix in Shanghai on their Friday afternoon. Gold is now back at unchanged. Silver was 6 cents by 10 a.m. CST — and is only up 2 cents currently. The strong rallies in both platinum and palladium ran into ‘something’ early in morning trading in the Far East — and both have been chopping sideways-to-lower since. The former is up by 9 bucks — and the latter by 20 until a few minutes before the Zurich open — and then that gain was cut in half — and palladium is up only 10 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is already up to the 53,000 contract mark — and there’s 2,620 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal. Net HFT silver volume is coming up on 11,200 contracts — and there’s a piddling 109 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index had been chopping very evenly and very quietly sideways throughout all of Far East trading on their Friday — and after being down a tiny handful of basis points, it jumped back above the unchanged mark in the last twenty minutes. It’s up 3 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. in London/8:45 a.m. in Zurich.
Today, at around 3:30 p.m. EDT, we get the latest and greatest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday — and as I said in this space in Wednesday’s missive, I wasn’t prepared to stick my neck out, especially after last week’s totally unexpected — and negative surprise in gold.
Silver analyst Ted Butler had this to say about today’s report…”I’m pretty sure there was heavy managed money selling in both gold and silver on the Wednesday and Thursday sell-off [last week], followed by managed money buying on Friday. Compounding matters is the recent tendency of the managed money traders to have an itchy trigger finger in which they buy and sell in larger quantities on smaller price moves than previously. I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying I’m not too sure what Friday’s reports will indicate. To be sure, I’ll be highly interested in what the reports may reveal about JPMorgan, since that’s the key feature in gold and silver.”
We also get the latest Bank Participation Report today as well — and for this one day a month, we get to see what the world’s banks have been up to in the COMEX futures market in all the precious metals, which is usually quite a bit…especially the U.S. banks.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I see that gold has rallied a bit in the first hour of London trading — and is now up $1.10 an ounce. Silver is up 3 cents, after a huge down/up price spike shortly after the London open. But that spike only occurred in the spot market, not in future months. Platinum is up 8 dollars — and palladium is now up 14.
Gross gold volume is around 68,500 contracts — and minus roll-over/switch volume that has picked up a bit, net HFT gold volume is 61,200 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is just under 13,500 contracts — and there’s still only 113 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
The dollar index is lower by a bit after its brief spike before the London/Zurich opens — and is now down 4 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. BST in London/9:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich. Basically the dollar index hasn’t done much of anything since early yesterday evening in New York.
That’s it for another day. Have a good weekend — and I’ll see you here on Saturday.