New Low Closes in Platinum & Copper Yesterday

23 May 2019 — Thursday

YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM


It was another incredibly low-volume day in gold.  It didn’t do much in Far East trading — and was down about $1.70 or so at the London open.  It rallied a handful of dollars in fits and starts from there, before getting capped and turned lower at 9:45 a.m. in New York — and it was mostly downhill from there until trading ended at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

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

Gold finished the Wednesday session at $1,272.80 spot, down $1.40 from Tuesday’s close.  Net volume was exceedingly light at around 126,500 contracts — and roll-over/switch volume was pretty heavy at a bit over 66,000 out of June and into future months.

Silver was forced to follow the same general price path as gold — and the high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up, either.

Silver closed yesterday at $14.41 spot, down 1.5 cents on the day.  Net volume was also unbelievably quiet at a hair under 33,500 contracts — and there was 3,560 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.

Platinum began its downward price decent shortly before 9 a.m. China Standard time on their Wednesday morning — and it crept unsteadily lower until around 12:45 p.m. in New York — and didn’t do a thing after that.  Platinum was closed at $803 spot, down another 12 bucks — and another new low close for this engineered price decline.

The palladium price didn’t do much of anything until around 2 p.m. CST on their Wednesday afternoon — and it began to edge quietly lower from there, with the low tick of the day coming about 10:40 a.m. in New York.  It jumped back to the $1,300 spot mark minutes after the Zurich close — and crept unevenly sideways for the rest of the day.  Platinum finished the Wednesday trading session at $1,299 spot, down 4 bucks from Tuesday’s close.

The dollar index closed very late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 98.06 — and opened down 5 basis points once trading commenced at 7:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday evening, which was 7:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Wednesday morning.  It drifted a couple of basis points lower from that juncture, but began to head unevenly higher starting at 9:35 a.m. CST — and that rally lasted until around 8:55 a.m. in London, when the 98.12 high tick of the day was set.  A more serious decline began at that juncture — and the 97.89 low was set at 8:45 a.m. in New York.  A ‘rally’ began at that point — and it headed very unevenly higher until around 4:55 p.m. EDT.  It shed a few basis points going into the 5:30 p.m. close.  The dollar index finished the Wednesday session at 98.04…down 2 basis points from Tuesday’s close.

Here’s the DXY chart courtesy of BloombergClick 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…97.88…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 16 basis points on Wednesday.  Click to enlarge as well.

The gold shares opened unchanged — and were up a hair by a minute or so before 10 a.m. in New York trading.  It was quietly downhill from there — and the low tick was set very close to 3 p.m. EDT.  Some bargain hunters showed up at that juncture — and they edged a bit higher into the close.  The HUI finished down 1.41 percent.

The price path for the silver equities was very similar to the gold stocks, except their sell-off was more intense — and they barely closed off their low ticks of the day.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index finished lower by 2.81 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index, updated with Wednesday’s doji.  Click to enlarge as well.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 48 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday.

In silver, of the three short/issuers in total, the only one that mattered was JPMorgan, with 41 out of its client account.  Of the four long/stoppers in total, the two biggest were ADM with 32 contracts for its client account — and JPMorgan, with 11 in total…8 for its client account — and 3 contracts for its in-house/proprietary trading account.

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 May remained unchanged at 58 contracts — and no contracts were posted for delivery today…so those number match.  Silver o.i. in May actually rose by 32 contracts, leaving 257 still open, minus the 48 contracts mentioned a few short paragraphs ago.  Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 29 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 32+29=61 more silver contracts were just added to the May delivery month.


There was a rather smallish withdrawal from GLD on Wednesday, as an authorized participant took out 28,316 troy ounces.  There were no reported changes in SLV.

There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint on Wednesday.  They sold 20,000 silver eagles — and another 4,000 of those ‘American the Beautiful’ 5-ounce rounds.

Hard on the heels of their 2019 annual report two weeks ago, the Royal Canadian Mint has posted its Q1/2019 report on its website — and I’ve snipped part of Page 7 that deals with gold and silver bullion sales for that time period.  I was surprised to see that their sales were up.  I wouldn’t have know about this until I read a story about it on Sharps Pixley in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  Click to enlarge.

There was a tiny amount of activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.  There was 32.150 troy ounces/1 kilobar [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] shipped out of Canada’s Scotiabank.  There was some paper movement, as 7,924 troy ounces was transferred from the Registered category — and back into Eligible.  I won’t bother linking this.

It was much, much busier in silver, as 1,057,684 troy ounces were received — and 1,675,872 troy ounces was shipped out.  All of the ‘in’ activity was at Loomis International.  The ‘out’ activity was split up more or less equally between CNT and Brink’s, Inc…as the former shipped out 847,415 troy ounces — and the latter parted with 828,457 troy ounces.  There was also a paper transfer of 34,391 troy ounces from the Eligible category — and into Registered.  That occurred at CNT — and is mostly likely out for delivery in May sometime.  The link to all this is here.

There was some activity over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Tuesday.  They didn’t receive any, but reported shipping out 1,036 of them.  All of this occurred at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.


The Leekfrith torcs are four Iron Age gold torcs found by two hobby metal detectorists in December 2016 in a field in Leekfrith, north Staffordshire, England. The find consists of three neck torcs and a smaller bracelet, which were located in proximity to each other. They are believed to be the oldest Iron Age gold jewellery found in Britain. Subsequent archaeological examination of the area did not uncover further objects.

One of the torcs is a smaller bracelet decorated with ornament in the style of Celtic art, and the other three are neck rings. The bracelet and one of the neck rings are made with twisted gold wire, and the other neck rings have finials shaped like trumpets. One of the latter has been broken into two pieces.

The gold content of the four torcs has been measured using x-ray fluorescence to be between 74-78% (roughly equivalent to 17-18 carat), with 18-22% silver, some copper, and traces of iron, mercury and tin – a mix consistent with other Iron Age gold finds in Europe. The weight of the pieces varies from 31 grams (1 oz) to 230 grams (8 oz), and over 350 grams (10 oz) in total.  Click to enlarge.

I only have a tiny handful of stories for you today.


CRITICAL READS

Fed minutes: No rate moves are coming “for some time” even if the economy improves

Federal Reserve officials remained firmly committed to a “patient” policy stance at their meeting earlier this month, saying rates likely will remain unchanged well into the future.

Minutes from the May 1-2 Federal Open Market Committee meeting also showed that members raised their expectations for full-year economic growth and said that earlier concerns they had about a slowdown had abated. Despite their general optimism, the committee held the line on interest rates, primarily citing a lack of inflation pressures that allow the central bank to watch how events unfold before making any further moves.

Members observed that a patient approach to determining future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate would likely remain appropriate for some time, especially in an environment of moderate economic growth and muted inflation pressures, even if global economic and financial conditions continued to improve,” the meeting summary stated.

For the past several meetings, members had expressed concerns about slowing global growth, the messy Brexit negotiations and the U.S.-China trade impasse.

However, the minutes from the most recent meeting showed a more upbeat tone. “A number of participants observed that some of the risks and uncertainties that had surrounded their outlooks earlier in the year had moderated, including those related to the global economic outlook, Brexit, and trade negotiations,” the minutes said.

This news item showed up on the cnbc.com Internet site on Wednesday morning sometime — and it comes courtesy of Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl.  Another link to it is here.  The Zero Hedge spin on this is headlined “FOMC Minutes Show Fed “Patient For Some Time“, Fears Financial Stability Risks“.


Gundlach: GDP Would Be Negative If Not for Government Borrowing

Jeff Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital, and Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO of Quill Intelligence, recently spoke to an audience of investors. The wide ranging discussion covers the reasons behind the dovish pivot by the Federal Reserve, the swelling national debt, and rising corporate debt.

This very long video was posted on thesoundingline.com Internet site on Wednesday sometime — and I’m only including it because I have so little for you today.  It runs for 1 hour and 30 minutes — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.


China’s other nuclear option in trade war with the U.S. – Rare earth materials

Beijing has yet another economic weapon to use against Washington in the escalating trade row – a possible embargo on vital rare earth metals needed to make everything from high-tech devices to fighter jets.

A routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths facility earlier this week came amid rising tensions between the two countries and shortly after the U.S. turned up the heat on Chinese tech giant Huawei. Despite the lack of any official announcement from Beijing, the visit has triggered fears that China is ready to use the materials, specifically a ban on their export, as an advantage against the U.S.

Rare earth materials are indeed one more way China can retaliate, independent political analyst, Alessandro Bruno, told RT.

It could put heavy restrictions on the rare earth metals that are necessary to make all kinds of electronic equipment, especially phones. This is a significant threat because the West does not have its own supply,” he explained.

The minerals are, unsurprisingly, not included on the U.S. list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods facing higher import tariffs. Shortly after Chinese and other media reported that Beijing is considering an embargo, shares of rare earth miners skyrocketed.

I posted a Zero Hedge article on this the other day, but this Russia Today story…posted on their Internet site at 1:31 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday afternoon…is far more in-depth.  I thank Larry Galearis for sending it along — and another link to it is here.


Kansas exempts gold and silver coins and bullion from sales tax

On Thursday, May 16, 2019, Kansas governor Laura Kelly signed into law House Bill 2140, which provides a sales-tax exemption on sales of gold and silver coins and on all gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion.

The outcome is not everything we started with in the original bill, but certainly better than where we were,” said Dean Schmidt (Dean Schmidt Rare Coins). The late Diane Piret, ICTA’s director of legislative affairs, would agree. She always said, “It’s better to get a partial loaf than none. We can always come back for more.”

Kansas now joins the 38 other states with a sales-tax exemption,” said chief operating officer David Crenshaw. “We thank Dean Schmidt for his continued perseverance and the tremendous support of everyone who helped make this exemption a reality.”

The bill was enrolled on Friday, May 10, and presented to Governor Kelly for her signature. The new law’s effective date is July 1, 2019.

I found this precious metal-related story in a GATA dispatch yesterday — and another link to it is here.


How to Un-rig the Gold Market, According to GATA’s Chris Powell — Frank Holmes

In an earlier post, I gave you a sneak preview of my interview with Chris Powell, secretary/treasurer at Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA). For 20 years now, Chris and others at GATA have made it their mission to expose collusion by international financial institutions to control the price and supply of gold.

Below are highlights from the interview. I have to say that during much of our conversation, my jaw was on the floor. I don’t want to say much more than that! Read on, and remember to share widely.

I don’t know why Frank is so surprised, as we here at GATA have spoken to Frank on this issue many times over the last ten years or more when we’ve seen him at various conferences — and Chris has mailed him the complete GATA package of information at least once during those years.  However, I certainly am grateful that a fund manager has finally given the price management scheme in gold and silver the public attention it so richly deserves.  Let’s hope that other fund managers, along with the main stream press, finally develop some gonads.  I thank Frank for being the first one out of the gate with this issue.  The interview was posted on his website…usfunds.com…on Monday sometime — and another link to it is here.


Serbia adds 7 tonnes of gold reserves since 2012 —  central bank governor

Serbia’s gold reserves currently amount to 20.8 tonnes, having increased by about seven tonnes since 2012, central bank governor Jorgovanka Tabakovic has said.

We will enhance the financial stability of Serbia by modifying the structure of the currency reserves which are at a historically high level of about €11.5 billion,” Tabakovic said in a video file posted on the website of news agency Tanjug on Tuesday.

According to media reports, Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic has recommended to Tabakovic and finance minister Sinisa Mali to increase the country’s gold reserves to 30 tonnes in 2019 and 40 tonnes in 2020. Vucic has discussed the potential acquisition of gold with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who supported the idea, Vecernje Novosti daily reported on Tuesday.

The central bank is the fiscal agent of the Republic of Serbia and it is normal that in such crisis times it steps up the acquisition of gold and such advice from the Serbian president is welcome,” Tabakovic said in the video file.

Last month, the World Gold Council said Serbia was the only country in Southeast Europe that has expanded its gold reserves in the first nine months of last year, to 20.4 tonnes in September 2018 from 19.5 tonnes in January 2018.

The above five paragraphs are all there is to this gold-related news item.  It was filed from Belgrade — and appeared on the seenews.com Internet site on Wednesday sometime.  I found it on the Sharps Pixley website.  Another link to the hard copy is here.


The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES

The first shot was one of the last I took in Thacker Regional Park in Hope before we headed back to Merritt.  We decided to take the Trans-Canada Highway north through the unbelievably scenic Fraser Canyon…rather than the somewhat less spectacular Coquihalla Highway, even though its quite a bit longer time-wise.  We stopped in Boston Bar at our favourite restaurant…which is only one of two restaurants in the whole place.  The town is very much of the 1-horse variety, which they share with the even tinier community of North Bend on the west side of the river.  The last two photos were taken looking east at Boston Bar from the ‘outskirts’ of North Bend — and you can see the bridge across the river in the far left of the frame in the second shot.   The CN Rail tracks are across the river in Boston Bar — and the CP Rail tracks in the lower foreground.  Click to enlarge for all.


The WRAP

There are two distinct classes of men.  Those who pay taxes — and those who receive and live upon taxes.” — Thomas Paine


With volumes in the ‘fumes and vapours’ category in both gold and silver on Wednesday, not much should be read into their respective price activity.  But ‘da boyz’ were still lurking about.  A new low close in platinum for this move down was handed out yesterday — and it was the same in copper as well.  WTIC was closed below its 50-day moving average on Wednesday as well.

Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities and, if you have the interest, the above mentioned highlights should be noted.  Click to enlarge for all.

And as I type this paragraph, the London open is a minute or so away — and I see that the gold price has done next to nothing in Far East trading, but has ticked higher by a bit in the last two hours — and is currently up $1.00 an ounce. Ditto for silver — and it’s up 4 cents currently. Platinum was at a new low for this move down earlier, but is lower by only 3 bucks at the moment. Platinum is down 5 dollars.

Net HFT gold volume is almost non-existent at a bit over 16,000 contracts — and there’s only 1,288 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of June and into future months.  Net HFT silver volume is a vanishingly small 3,100 contracts — and there’s only 221 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in that precious metal. [These numbers are now suspect…see further down. – Ed]

The dollar index opened up about 3 basis points once trading commenced at 7:45 p.m. EDT in New York on Wednesday evening, which was 7:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning.  It crept very quietly higher until around 1:10 p.m. CST…dipped a bit — and then took off higher starting minutes after the 2:15 p.m. CST afternoon gold fix in Shanghai.  It’s up 13 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. BST in London/8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich.


It certainly has been quiet in the precious metals so far this week…topped of with the minuscule volumes that we had on Wednesday — and the almost non-existent volume so far today…which are now suspect!  But despite this seemingly quiet period, ‘da boyz’ went about their duties.  Only WTIC, palladium and gold still have intact 200-day moving averages.  I suspect that it’s only a matter of time before WTIC and gold are trading below that number…but palladium may be a bridge too far, even for JPMorgan…although it’s such a tiny market, it’s almost irrelevant.


And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I note that gold and silver aren’t doing much of anything as the first hour of London/Zurich trading ends.  Gold is currently up $1.10 — and silver is up 2 cents.  Platinum and palladium are down 2 dollars and 3 dollars respectively.

It appears that they’re having issued on the CME’s website, as the volume numbers for both gold and silver are unchanged from the London open an hour ago.  So it’s obvious that their website has not been updating their data for quite a while now — and that’s why the pre-London open numbers in both precious metals were as low as they are.  It appears that those numbers are not accurate, either.

The dollar index’s current high tick was printed at 8:08 a.m. BST, but has backed off that number by a bit.  As of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich, the index is up 15 basis points — and 11 basis points off its high of the day so far.

That’s all I have for today — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.

Ed