02 July 2019 — Tuesday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold market opened no bid at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Sunday evening — and was down about twenty bucks in seconds, as the Managed Money traders were forced to sell into a vacuum. From that juncture the price drifted quietly sideways until shortly after 1 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon…then it began to head lower. The low tick was set right at the London open — and it edged higher until around 9 a.m. in New York. It didn’t do a lot from there until a few minutes after the London close — and it was was sold quietly lower until around 4:30 p.m. EDT in the thinly-traded after-hours mark. It didn’t do much after that.
The high and low ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $1,401.90 and $1,384.70 in the August contract.
Gold was closed at $1,383.70 spot, down $25.20 from Friday. Not surprisingly, net volume was enormous at 364,500 contracts — and there was a bit under 26,500 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of August and into future months.
Ditto for silver — and it was lower by around thirteen cents within seconds. And, with some minor variations, it was forced to follow a similar price as gold up until a few minutes after the London close. It was then sold lower until the 1:30 p.m. EDT COMEX close — and didn’t do much of anything after that.
The high and low in silver were reported by the CME Group as $15.345 and $15.155 in the September contract…which is now the new front month for silver.
Silver was closed in New York on Monday at $15.105 spot, down 18 cents from its close on Friday. Net volume was on the heavier side at just under 67,000 contracts — and there was only 3,400 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
The platinum price dropped a few dollars in sympathy with silver and gold at the 6:00 p.m. EDT open in New York on Sunday evening — and from that point it chopped unevenly sideways until shortly after 10 a.m. CEST in Zurich on their Monday morning. It began to head quietly higher from there until the price was capped and turned lower around 9:35 a.m. in New York. The price chopped quietly lower until around 3 p.m. in after-hours trading — and tacked on a couple of bucks going into the 5:00 p.m. EDT close. Platinum was closed at $829 spot, down 5 dollars on the day.
Palladium traded mostly a few dollars higher in Far East trading on their Monday, but was sold back to unchanged going into the Zurich open. It rallied a bunch from there until shortly after 1 p.m. CST — and then chopped very unevenly sideways until shortly before 1 p.m. in New York. It was sold a bit lower into the COMEX close — and didn’t do much of anything after that. Palladium was closed at $1,53 spot, up 14 bucks on the day but, as always seems to be the case, would have closed considerably higher than that, if allowed.
The dollar index closed very late on Friday afternoon in New York at 96.13 — and opened up about 20 basis points once trading commenced around 6:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening. It crept quietly higher until about 1:30 p.m. China Standard Time on their Monday afternoon — and then jumped up another 20 basis points or so. But all of that 20 point gain disappeared by around 12:20 p.m. in London. From that point it began a sustained rally that lasted until a few minutes before 2 p.m. in New York — and it didn’t do a thing after that. The dollar index finished the Monday session at 96.84…up 71 basis points from its close on Friday.
I would suspect that a decent amount of yesterday’s dollar index rally was due to short covering.
Here’s the DXY chart, courtesy of Bloomberg as usual. Click to enlarge.
Here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of the folks over at the stockcharts.com Internet site. The delta between its close…96.41…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 43 basis points on Monday. Click to enlarge as well.
The gold stocks gapped down a bit over three percent at the open in New York on Monday morning. They crept a bit higher until 11 a.m. EDT — and at that point, the gold price was turned lower once more — and the shares quietly and reluctantly followed. The HUI closed down 3.72 percent, with 100 percent of the price damage coming on the initial gap down at the open. I found that very reassuring.
The silver equities gapped down three percent at the open as well, but then continued lower until the sell-off ended at the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close. They managed to crawl a bit higher from there before trading ended at 4:00 p.m. EDT in New York. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down a chunky 4.45 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Monday’s doji. Click to enlarge as well.
The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 3 of the July delivery month showed that 97 gold and 237 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.
In gold, there were four short/issuers in total. The three largest were Advantage, JPMorgan and ABN Amro, with 36, 29 and 26 contracts…all out of their respective client accounts. There were six long/stoppers in total, but the only two that mattered were JPMorgan, with 78 contracts for its client account — and Advantage, picking up 13 for its client account as well.
In silver, there were only two short/issuers…ABN Amro and Advantage, with 207 and 30 contracts out of their respective client accounts. There were six long/stoppers in total. The largest by far was HSBC USA, with 94 for its in-house/proprietary trading accounts. They were followed by Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, with 71 and 47 contracts for their respective client accounts. In fourth place was Advantage, with 19 contracts for its client account as well.
The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that gold open interest in July declined by 73 contracts, leaving 153 still open, minus the 97 mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 193 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 193-73=120 more gold contracts just got added to the July delivery month. Silver o.i. in July fell by 459 contracts, leaving 951 left, minus the 237 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Friday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 515 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 515-459=56 more silver contracts were just added to July.
There was a big deposit into GLD on Monday, as an authorized participant added 198,129 troy ounces. There were no reported changes in SLV.
The folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the goings-on inside their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of business on Friday, June 28 — and this is what they had to report. Their gold ETF declined by 2,679 troy ounces — and their silver ETF added 233,383 troy ounces.
The only physical activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Friday was 32.151 troy ounces…1 kilobar/SGE kilobar weight…that was removed from Brink’s, Inc. And, for obvious reasons, I won’t bother linking this.
There was a bit of activity in silver. Nothing was reported received — and 630,553 troy ounces was shipped out. Most of that involved a truckload…620,896 troy ounces…that departed Canada’s Scotiabank. The remaining 9,656 troy ounces was shipped out of the International Depository Services of Delaware. The other movement was of a paper nature, as 1,196,659 troy ounces was transferred from the Eligible category — and into Registered over at CNT…the second big transfer involving them in as many days. The link to that is here.
There wasn’t much going on over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Friday. They didn’t receive any — and shipped out only 32 of them. This activity was at Brink’s, Inc…which I won’t bother linking.
Here are the usual two charts that Nick passes around every weekend. They show the amount of physical gold and silver held at all known depositories, mutual funds and ETFs, as of the close of business on Friday, June 28 — and there was quite a bit of activity during the reporting week, particularly in silver. During the last reporting week, these entities added a net 409,000 troy ounces of gold — and a chunky 7,463,000 net troy ounces of silver. Click to enlarge for both.
I have an average number of stories for you today.
It’s a bloodbath. No matter where you look, global manufacturing surveys are signaling growth is over (and in most cases, outright contraction is upon us).
JPMorgan’s Global Manufacturing PMI fell to its lowest level for over six-and-a-half years and posted back-to-back sub-50.0 readings for the first time since the second half of 2012.
June data signalled a mild decrease in global manufacturing employment for the second month running (but every sub-index declined in June).
Of the 30 nations for which a June PMI reading was available, the majority (18) signalled contraction. China, Japan, Germany, the U.K., Taiwan, South Korea, Italy and Russia were among those countries experiencing downturns. The U.S., India, Brazil and Australia were some of the larger industrial nations to register an expansion.
Commenting on the survey, Olya Borichevska, from Global Economic Research at J.P.Morgan, said:
“The global manufacturing sector downshifted again at the end of the second quarter. The PMI surveys signalled that output stopped growing, as inflows of new business shrank at the fastest pace since September 2012. This impacted hiring and business optimism, with the latter at a series-record low. Conditions will need to stage a marked recovery if manufacturing is to revive later in the year.”
This story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 11:40 a.m. on Monday morning EDT — and it’s the first contribution of the day from Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.
Authored by Chetan Ahya, Morgan Stanley Chief Economist
And so it has come to pass: The much-anticipated meeting between the U.S. and China is over. While we await further details, here are our reactions and takeaways, as we parse the initial readouts.
This is an uncertain pause – no immediate escalation, but still no clear path towards a comprehensive deal. The U.S. administration has indicated that it will hold off on 25% tariffs on the remaining US$300 billion imports from China. There was also an agreement that both parties will roll back some non-tariff barriers (i.e., restrictions on high-tech exports by US companies) and that China would continue to purchase agricultural products from the U.S. However,as things stand, we lack clarity on whether real progress was achieved on the sticking points that caused talks to break down in the first place.
Hence, our overarching conclusion is that the developments over the weekend on their own don’t do enough to remove the uncertainty created by trade tensions, which began over a year ago and remain an overhang on corporate confidence and the macro outlook.
Heading into the meeting, it was clear that the global capex cycle had ground to a halt. Capital goods imports, a capex proxy, began their descent in mid-2018, when trade tensions first re-emerged. In July 2018, they were tracking at 18%Y on a three-month moving average basis but plummeted to 2%Y in January 2019 and an estimated -3%Y in May 2019. In aggregate, private fixed capital formation (investments in fixed assets) in the G4 and BRIC economies fell from a peak of 4.7%Y in 1Q18 to just 2.8%Y in 1Q19. Click to enlarge.
Corporate sentiment has also declined to multi-year lows. Global PMIs for May fell in broad-based fashion, with only about one-third of the countries we track reporting a PMI above the 50 expansion threshold. In the US, our Morgan Stanley Business Conditions Index recorded its largest one-month decline ever, plunging to a level not seen since June 2008. Other business sentiment gauges, such as the regional Fed and German Ifo and ZEW surveys for the month of June, paint a fairly bleak picture too. What’s more, consumer sentiment is also starting to sour, with the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for June falling to the lowest point since September 2017.
This commentary is certainly worth a read…if you have the interest, that is. It was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 3:05 p.m. EDT on Sunday afternoon — and another link to it is here.
As one U.S. trade war – that with China – enters a fragile truce, another trade war is about to make a dramatic return.
A little under three months after the U.S. announced in early April that it would seek tariffs on roughly $21 billion of European goods over E.U. subsidies to Airbus aircraft, and which in turn was followed almost immediately by European threats of $12 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products such as Ketchup, Orange Juice and Tobacco, moments ago the U.S. trade representative proposed a supplemental list of products that could potentially be subject to additional duties in order to enforce U.S. rights in the WTO dispute against the European subsidies airplane
This supplemental list adds 89 “tariff subheadings” with a trade value of $4 billion to the initial list published on April 12, which had an approximate trade value of $21 billion. USTR is adding to the initial list with the supplemental list in response to public comments and additional analysis.
In the event the Arbitrator issues its decision prior to completion of the public comment process on the supplemental list, the USTR may immediately impose increased duties on the products included in the initial list, and take further possible actions with respect to products on the supplemental list.
The supplemental list, as well as the schedule for a public hearing and written comments, are set out in a notice that will be published shortly in the Federal Register.
And now we wait as Europe counters with its own expanded list of tariffs on U.S. imports, sending the market surging on “hopes of an imminent trade war deal/ceasefire” between the U.S. and Europe.
The above handful of paragraphs are all there is to this Zero Hedge story that was posted on their website at 6:45 p.m. on Monday evening EDT — and another link to the hard copy is here. There was a Bloomberg story on this headlined “U.S. Proposes More Tariffs on E.U. Goods in Airbus-Boeing Spat” — and I lifted that from this morning’s edition of the King Report.
Ten days ago when global bond yields tumbled amid renewed fears that the global economy was headed for a recession, we reported that a record $13 trillion in global sovereign debt was trading with a negative yield.
And while we don’t have the latest numbers from Bloomberg, pending their EOD update at the close, it is safe to say that as of this moment, there is a new all time high in negative yielding debt, because while German yields tumbled deeper into record negative territory this morning following abysmal global PMIs and comments from the ECB that the central bank was prepared for any contingency (i.e., ready to cut rates even more), it was the turn of France to follow Germany into sub-zero territory as the French 10Y yield just dropped below 0%, assuring that the total amount of negative-yielding debt just rose by a few hundred billion. Click to enlarge.
Meanwhile, the disconnect between global bonds – which are now screaming “recession is coming” – and global stocks which are partying as if the Fed can’t wait for S&P 3,000 to cut rates not by 25bps but 50bps, if not more, has never been greater.
This tiny 2-chart Zero Hedge story put in an appearance on their website at 10:56 a.m. EDT on Monday morning — and it’s another offering from Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.
Every six month or so, the Bank of International Settlements, also known as the central banks’ central bank, publishes some dire warning about the increasingly precarious state of the global financial system – largely as a result of an unprecedented monetary experiment that is now pushing on a string – and every six months or so the world’s most important central bankers congregate on 18th floor of the circular BIS tower in Basel where they decide to ignore all the warnings and double-down on policies that haven’t worked in a decade, with the expectation that they will work this time (or at least make the world’s richest even richer, while destroying the middle class).
Well, today is one of those days, because at midnight on June 30, the BIS published it Annual Economic Report for the year 2019, and of course, this report too and the speech delivered alongside the Annual General Meeting in Basel by Agustin Carstens, will be summarily ignored by those who matter, until the next financial crisis strikes and everyone is shocked how there were no signals indicating the arrival of what will soon be the greatest financial catastrophe in world history.
Of course, the BIS won’t make any such dire predictions – the last thing it needs is to be accused of sowing the panic that unleashes a crisis – it will however warn that after a failed attempt by central banks to renormalize monetary policy, governments must step in to stimulate their economies and fix policy imbalances that have forced central banks to use up most of their firepower: “The continuation of easy monetary conditions can support the economy, but make normalization more difficult, in particular through the impact on debt and the financial system,” the BIS warned.
As a result of central banks going all in again in what some have dubbed the last rate to the bottom, “the narrow normalization path has become narrower.”
If that wasn’t enough, in his speech, Carstens explicitly brought attention to this critical issue:
While the near-term outlook is still good, there are many vulnerabilities further out. For the global economy to remain on course towards clear skies, other policies need to play a bigger role and policymakers must take a longer-term perspective. In particular, a better mix is required between monetary policy, fiscal policy, macro-prudential measures and structural reforms. And navigating the way to clear skies also means balancing speed with stability as well as conserving some fuel to cope with possible headwinds. This matters all the more given the many uncertainties and risks we face today.
The above excerpt comes from the speech by BIS general manager Agustin Carstens who urge politicians to “ignite all engines” to overcome a global soft patch, which can no longer be punted on central banks in hopes that lower rates will stimulate the global economy for one simple reason: with rates at all time lows, there is virtually nothing left to cut. Worse, rates are now so low that – at least the BIS admits – banks are now suffering as a result of monetary policy…
This Zero Hedge article put in an appearance on their website at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is here.
Australia is continuing down the path of the global low yield charge, about to approach its final percentage point of “interest rate ammunition“, according to Bloomberg.
The 10 year yield in Australia hit an all time low of 1.26% last week, which is more than a full percentage point under where they started the year. This means that every Australian bond – all the way out to the longest maturity in 2047 – is yielding less than the bottom of the central bank’s 2% to 3% inflation target.
And the speed with which the market environment is changing in Australia is catching the attention of many.
Richard Yetsenga, chief economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Sydney said: “On the screen a minute ago, Aussie 10-year bond yields at 1.33? I mean, is that a typo? Even six months ago they were like 100 points higher.”
Additionally, the market is now pricing in an even chance that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut its policy rate to 0.5% over the next year. Governor Philip Lowe will cut the cash rate by 25 bps on Tuesday, to 1%, according to 18 of 26 economists surveyed.
Sally Auld, a senior interest-rate strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Sydney said: “There is a sense of inevitability about where we are heading. We’ve seen this play out in a number of other big developed economies over the last decade. Rates have come all the way down to something close to zero, and they stay there for a very long time.”
Interest rates are ‘zero bound’ all over the planet — and even when they get there, they will stay there until the financial system is allowed to cleanse itself, which isn’t being allowed to happen. The current Frankenstein economy and financial system continues to live on…until one day it won’t. This news item showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 9:10 p.m. on Sunday evening EDT — and another link to it is here.
At the end of a long, tiring day, we may choose to treat ourselves to a soothing bubble bath. Surrounded by steaming water and a froth of sweet-smelling bubbles, it’s easy to forget the cares of everyday life.
This fact is equally true of economic bubbles. When the markets are up, we’re inclined to feel as though life is rosy. Unfortunately, it does seem to be the norm that investors fail to recognize when a healthy up-market transforms into a dangerous bubble. We tend to be soothed into overlooking the fact that we’re in hot water, and economically, that’s not an advantageous situation to be in.
Periodically, any economy will experience bubbles. It’s bound to happen. Human nature dictates that, if the value of an asset is on the rise, the more success it experiences, the more we want to get in on the success.
Sadly, the great majority of investors have a tendency to fail to educate themselves on how markets work. It’s easier to just trust their broker. Unfortunately, our broker doesn’t make his living through our success; he makes it through brokering transactions. The more buys he can encourage us to make, the more commissions he enjoys.
It’s been said that a broker is “someone who invests your money until it’s gone,” and there’s a great deal of truth in that assessment.
This worthwhile commentary from Jeff appeared on the internationalman.com Internet site early on Monday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
Back to Versailles…
What a place! Over the top. Spectacular.
Then, we crossed a red carpet to arrive in the Halle d’Entrée, where on the wall was the large plaque commemorating the generosity of the Rockefeller family.
Thereafter, our group – men in tuxedos, wilting in the 90-degree heat, their faces red, with beads of perspiration on their foreheads… women in their gowns, some with advanced cases of décolletage – was escorted on a private tour of the great rooms.
There, amidst huge paintings of death and dying… at Austerlitz, Bouvines, and Fontenoy… we dined in a peaceful splendor usually reserved for heads of state.
This very interesting and well written commentary from Bill…filed from Youghal, Ireland…has a moral, plus a veiled historical warning at the end, that certainly makes it worth reading. It was posted on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Monday morning EDT — and another link to it is here.
Gold tumbled back below $1,400 an ounce after the U.S. and China reached a truce in their trade war, dealing a blow to havens.
Prices fell the most in a year after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to resume negotiations in a bid to resolve differences between the world’s two biggest economies. Still, the setback may be temporary as investors now train their focus on U.S. jobs data due Friday for clues on the Federal Reserve’s next move on policy.
“Gold was well overdue a period of consolidation and gold bulls should welcome it,” said Ross Norman, chief executive officer of gold brokerage Sharps Pixley Ltd. “This provides a welcome entry point.”
Bullion hit a six-year high last week as top central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve adopted a more dovish tone and tensions spiked between the U.S. and Iran. Driven by speculation that U.S. interest rates may soon be headed lower, investors plowed into bullion-backed exchange-traded funds, which swelled 5% in June, the most since 2016.
This Bloomberg news item put in an appearance on their Internet site at 5:33 p.m. PDT on Sunday afternoon — and was updated about eighteen hours later. I found it on the Sharps Pixley website late last night — and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Still winding our way to Princeton via the back roads, here are two shots along the right-of-way for the now-defunct Kettle Valley Railway. It’s now part of the Trans-Canada Trail system. This is an iron bridge that crosses Otter creek at its mouth, where it flows into the Tulameen River. The third photo was taken from a bridge that crosses the Tulameen River at the semi-ghost town of Coalmont…18 kilometers/11 miles from Princeton. Click to enlarge.
I doubt that much should be read into the ‘no bid’ opens in gold and silver in New York on Sunday evening. That — and the reaction in the dollar index, were almost certainly knee-jerk reactions to what happened at the G-20 meeting over the weekend.
Of course gold is hugely overbought — and the current market structure in the COMEX futures market certainly indicates that JPMorgan et al could harvest these Managed Money traders any time they so choose.
Right now, the gold price is miles above any moving average that matters, so we’ll just have to see how things develop going forward. However, I did notice this comment in this morning’s edition of the King Report…”Wall Street is lowering the odds of Fed rate cuts for July — and the coming months.”
Of course silver would be a casualty of any engineered price decline in gold, but it hasn’t been allowed to do much during gold’s recent run-up, so its decline back below its 50 and 200-day moving averages is not a large price distance at all.
Here are the 6-month charts in the Big 6 commodities — and except for what happened in gold, there’s not really a lot to see. The decline in silver was sort of background noise. Click to enlarge.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than a minute away — and I note that the gold price traded very unevenly higher until shortly before 2 p.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning. It was turned a bit lower at that juncture — and is up $6.80 an ounce currently. It has been the same for silver — and it’s only up 3 cents at the moment. The platinum price crawled unevenly sideways until around noon CST — and began to tick higher from there — and is up 6 bucks. Palladium has been chopping equally unevenly sideways in Far East trading, but jumped up a bit in the last thirty minutes — and is up 4 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is coming up on 58,000 contracts already — and there’s only 962 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that. Net HFT silver volume is around 8,400 contracts — and there’s only 315 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
The dollar index opened down 3 basis points once trading commenced at 7:45 p.m. EDT in New York on Monday evening, which was 7:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning. It edged a bit higher — and back above unchanged by a hair. That lasted until around 10:45 a.m. CST — and it has been heading quietly and unevenly lower since — and is down 8 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. BST in London/8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich.
Today, at the close of COMEX trading, is the cut-off for the next Commitment of Traders Report — and companion Bank Participation Report. But because of the Independence Day holiday in the USA, those two reports won’t be published until Monday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. EDT.
On Friday, we get the June Employment Report and, without doubt, I expect that the precious metals will ‘react’ to them in one form or another.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I see that the gold price continues to struggle higher — and is now up $8.20 the ounce. Silver is up 4 cents. Platinum is now up 5 bucks — and palladium by 7…but is off its current spike high at the Zurich open.
Gross gold volume is around 71,500 contracts — and minus what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is about 69,300 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is a hair over 10,000 contracts — and there’s still only 329 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index continues to creep lower — and is down 9 basis points as of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich.
That all for today — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.