10 July 2019 — Wednesday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price dipped a bit in morning trading in the Far East on their Tuesday, but was back at unchanged by 1 p.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday afternoon. The selling pressure commenced at that point — and the low tick of the day came minutes before 10 a.m. in London. It chopped a bit higher from there — and then spiked up five bucks or so at the 11:00 a.m. EDT London close. It wasn’t allowed to do much after that — and was carefully closed below $1,400 spot once again.
The low and high ticks are barely worth looking up, but here they are anyway…$1,387.40 and $1,402.40 in the August contract.
Gold was closed at $1,397.10 spot, up $2.00 from Monday. Net volume was fairly healthy at a hair over 243,000 contracts — and there was a bit over 49,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of August and into future months.
The silver price had the same down/up move in morning trading in Shanghai, except the subsequent rally lasted until the London open. ‘Da boyz’ swung into action at that point — and the low tick in this precious metal came a few minutes after 10 a.m. in London, just like it did for gold, which was certainly no coincidence. The subsequent rally had a down/up dip centered around the afternoon gold fix in London — and it edged higher until the 1:30 p.m. EDT COMEX close. Like gold, it wasn’t allowed to do much after that.
The low and high in silver were reported by the CME Group as $14.965 and $15.155 in the September contract.
Silver finished the Tuesday session at $15.085 spot, up 8 cents from Monday’s close. For the second day in a row, net volume was pretty light at 45,000 contracts — and there was a hair under 5,500 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
There was intermittent price pressure in platinum, starting almost the moment that trading began at 6 p.m. EDT in New York on Monday evening. It was bounced off its low tick on several occasions in morning trading in New York on Tuesday morning, but rallied a bit once Zurich closed at 11 a.m. EDT. Platinum was closed at $810 spot, down 5 dollars from Monday.
Palladium fell and rose in price in Far East trading on their Tuesday — and was almost back at unchanged by the 2:15 p.m. afternoon gold fix in Shanghai. It was sold off a bit from there — and then bids were pulled about 9:40 a.m. in Zurich — and palladium was down almost 25 bucks by 10:25 a.m. CEST. It rallied a bit on a couple of occasions, but was then sold lower going into the afternoon gold fix in London — and once Zurich closed at 11 a.m. EDT, it didn’t do much for the remainder of the New York session. Palladium was closed at $1,530 spot, down 15 dollars from Monday.
The dollar index closed very late on Monday afternoon in New York at 97.38 — and opened unchanged once trading commenced at 7:45 p.m. EDT on Monday evening, which was 7:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Tuesday morning. It chopped quietly sideways until around 12:50 p.m. CST — and then began to edge higher. The 97.59 high tick came around 10:12 a.m. in London — and then it was quietly downhill from there until around 1:15 p.m. in New York…fifteen minutes before the COMEX close. It crawled a bit higher until 3:20 p.m. EDT — and gave back a few basis points going into the 5:30 p.m. close. The dollar index finished the Tuesday session at 97.49…up 11 basis points from Monday.
Here’s the DXY chart…courtesy of Bloomberg as always. Click to enlarge.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. Dollar Index chart courtesy of the good folks over at the stockcharts.com Internet site. The delta between its close…97.10…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 39 basis points on Tuesday. Click to enlarge as well.
The gold stocks gapped down a bit at the New York open — and then edged sideways until the afternoon gold fix in London was put to bed at 10 a.m. EDT. From that juncture they chopped quietly higher until trading ended at 4:00 p.m. The HUI finished up 1.28 percent.
The silver equities followed the same price path as the gold shares until around 2:15 p.m. EDT. Then some news, or some kind soul dumping a position, caused a vertical drop in the Silver 7 Index — and from that point onwards, they didn’t do much for the remainder of the New York session. Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 1.05 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here’s the 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Tuesday’s doji. Click to enlarge as well.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 22 gold and 13 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday.
In gold, the three short/issuers were Advantage, ABN Amro and ADM, with 12, 6 and 4 contracts. The three long/stoppers were Advantage with 15, JPMorgan with 5 — and Morgan Stanley with 2 contracts. All contracts, both issued and stopped, involved their respective client accounts.
In silver, the only short/issuer that mattered was ABN Amro with 12 contracts from its client account. The three biggest long/stoppers were HSBC USA, with 5 contracts for its in-house/proprietary trading account, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan came in second and third with 4 and 3 contracts for their respective client accounts.
The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Tuesday trading session showed that gold open interest in July fell by 26 contracts, leaving 50 left, minus the 22 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 43 gold contracts were actually issued for delivery today, so that means that 43-26=17 more gold contracts were just added to the July delivery month. Silver o.i. in July dropped by 175 contracts, leaving 554 still around, minus the 13 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Monday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 176 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 176-175=1 more silver contract just got added to July.
There was yet another withdrawal from GLD…the third one in as many days…as an authorized participant removed another 55,119 troy ounces. And, for the third day in a row, there was a decent-sized deposit into SLV, as an authorized participant added 1,076,600 troy ounces.
There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint on Tuesday…the first one this month. They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — and 165,000 silver eagles.
The only activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Monday was 32.150 troy ounces/1 kilobar [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] that was taken out of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc. I shan’t bother linking this.
There was some activity in silver — and all of it occurred at CNT. One truckload…497,040 troy ounces…was received — and 29,934 troy ounces that was shipped out. There was also 486,025 troy ounces transferred from the Eligible category — and into Registered. The link to this is here.
Over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Monday, they reported receiving 1,500 of them — and shipped out 375. All of this activity was at Brink’s, Inc. — and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
The Shapwick Hoard is a hoard of 9,262 Roman coins found at Shapwick, Somerset, England in September 1998. The coins dated from as early as 31–30 B.C. up until 224 A.D. The hoard also notably contained two rare coins which had not been discovered in Britain before, and the largest number of silver denarii ever found in Britain.
The hoard was discovered by cousins Kevin and Martin Elliott, who were amateur metal detectorists, in a field at Shapwick. Excavation of the site found that it had been “buried in the corner of a room of a previously unknown Roman building” and, after further excavation and geophysical surveying, “revealed the room to be part of a courtyard villa“.
Following a treasure inquest at Taunton, the hoard was declared treasure and valued at £265,000.
Notable inclusions in the hoard were 260 coins from the reign of Mark Antony from 31–30 B.C., with over half the coins being struck in the reign of Septimius Severus (193–211). There were also two rare coins not discovered in Britain before depicting Manlia Scantilla, the wife of Didius Julianus, an emperor who was murdered four weeks after the coins were struck. Non-Roman coins included were three Lycian drachmae and one drachma of Caesarea in Cappadocia. The latest coin struck was in 224 A.D., and it is estimated that the hoard as a whole represented ten years’ pay for a Roman legionary. Click to enlarge.
I have an average number of stories for you today.
Our little galaxy pals were scratching their juicer heads. Negative rates… financialization… backasswards time, something from nothing…
They are affronts to God and Nature… breaches of the laws of physics and the universe… and invitations to economic catastrophe.
Why would anyone believe they could stimulate an economy with fake money? Or that a small group of goofballs with PhDs in economics could manage and control a $20 trillion economy of 330 million people?
And why now, only 30 years after the Soviet Union’s magnificent experiment proving that central planning and price fixing don’t work, would they – including the president of the USA – believe they can rig the U.S. economy with phony prices and more central planning? Why would they think that more inflation could make them richer?
“Only an earthling would believe such claptrap,” muttered one of the extraterrestrials before heading back towards his spacecraft.
What dumb thing will happen next, we wonder? Who will say the stupidest thing today?
Trump’s recent tweet was a strong contender:
“China and Europe playing big currency manipulation game and pumping money into their system in order to compete with USA. We should MATCH, or continue being the dummies who sit back and politely watch as other countries continue to play their games – as they have for many years!”
This commentary from Bill, filed from Dublin, showed up on the bonnerandpartners.com Internet site early on Tuesday morning EDT sometime — and another link to it is here.
Class 8 heavy duty truck orders were down for the eighth month in a row, falling a stunning 70% in June to 13,000 units, according to FTR data. The figure was up 20% sequentially, but still follows a 71% decimation in May. Jefferies’ Stephen Volkmann wrote in a note that the figures indicate a SAAR of ~178,000 Class 8 trucks and noted that the sequential growth compares to a sequential drop of 27% in May, when SAAR estimates were 139,000 units. Click to enlarge.
Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst said: “Fraying freight market and rate conditions along with a still-large Class 8 order backlog contributed to the worst NA Class 8 net order performance since July of 2016. May saw NA Class 8 orders fall below the 15,900 units averaged through the year’s first trimester, and year-to-date Class 8 net orders have contracted 64% compared to the first five months of 2018.”
The industry has been dealing with bloated backlogs as a result of aggressive ordering in 2018, coupled with headwinds from the ongoing trade war and the onset of a recession.
The good – and bad – news is that the backlog is starting to decline, and is expected to continue eroding until late summer. However, there is still downside risk for the industry in 2020 as a result of a slowing manufacturing, coupled with recessionary caveats.
This 3-chart Zero Hedge news item appeared on their Internet site at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday evening EDT — and another link to it is here.
The abrupt resignation of Mexico’s finance minister, and his reasons for doing so, are deeply damaging. Investors are right to be rattled.
After seven months of laboriously convincing the international markets that he can be trusted with the presidency of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador risks seeing all his work undone by tweet. The sudden resignation of Carlos Urzua as his finance minister, and the resignation letter he posted on Twitter are deeply damaging. In combination, they are almost exactly what investors were worried could happen when they sold off Mexican assets ahead of AMLO’s inauguration last December.
This is partly because of the importance of the finance minister in Mexican politics. The Finance Ministry, known as Hacienda, has a strong tradition of independence and continuity, which has remained intact over the last two decades as Mexico has gingerly embarked on democracy. It has a deep bench of economists with excellent U.S.-trained academic credentials, who usually alternate between the treasury and the central bank. Since Mexico’s last major devaluation crisis in 1994, Hacienda has maintained rigid fiscal orthodoxy. While it hasn’t managed to widen the tax base in a way that politicians of all sides have hoped, the ministry has strengthened its reputation with foreign investors. Thanks to Hacienda, Mexico’s credit has been rated investment grade since 2002, and the country is regarded as so safe that it can even launch bonds that won’t be repaid for a century.
In a country of weak institutions, then, the Finance Ministry is a vital exception. To use a popular soccer analogy, Hacienda is the goalie of Mexican politics. Other politicians slip and fall and allow all kinds of attacks to penetrate the country’s defense – but Hacienda is always there to make the save at the last minute. Mexico may not win, but it can avert disaster.
Urzua’s resignation now puts that institutional strength to the test. The president was wise to replace him immediately with his deputy, Arturo Herrera. An economist with a doctorate from New York University, Herrera has spent most of his career at the World Bank, and is thus exactly the kind of career technocrat that international investors want to see in charge of the budget.
This Bloomberg story showed up on their website at 1:53 p.m. PDT on Tuesday afternoon — and it comes to us courtesy of Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl. Another link to it is here. The Zero Hedge spin on this is headlined “Peso Plunges After Mexican FinMin Unexpectedly Resigns, Questions “Conflicts of Interest”” — and I thank Brad Robertson for that one.
The majority of Switzerland’s high-denomination bills are effectively parked in vaults or stuffed under mattresses, according to a Swiss National Bank working paper.
In a study that has implications for officials at central banks, who must figure out how much below zero they can cut interest rates before the public begins stockpiling cash, the authors calculate that in between 80% and 90% of 1,000-franc ($1,007) notes were hoarded in 2017. For the 200-franc note the proportion was between 30% and 60%.
“Our results indicate that a significant part of large-denomination banknotes is hoarded,” authors Katrin Assenmacher, Franz Seitz, Joern Tenhofen wrote.
The Swiss National Bank unveiled an updated design for its top denomination bill — one of the world’s most valuable — earlier this year, in defiance of international calls that the bills aid crime and tax evasion. The European Central Bank has stopped new issuance of its €500 note.
A spokeswoman for the SNB declined to comment on the working paper.
The above five paragraphs are all there is [plus an embedded chart] to this Bloomberg article that put in an appearance on their website at 9:34 a.m. PDT on Tuesday morning. It’s the second offering of the day from Patrik Ekdahl — and another link to it is here.
Governments ‘aggresssively manipulating‘ all financial assets, Swiss Asia Capital’s Kiener tells Bloomberg
Bloomberg television last week let Swiss Asia Capital Managing Director Juerg Kiener mention market manipulation in the same breath with gold.
It happened on the “Bloomberg Markets: Asia” program July 4, where, asked about gold’s prospects, Kiener said, “We’ve been now in a period where we’ve been aggressively manipulating almost all financial assets.”
With bonds increasingly carrying negative interest rates, Kiener continued, gold becomes more attractive, especially since central banks have come to think that printing money and negative rates are “God’s work.”
The interview with Kiener is 7:21 minutes long — and was posted on the Bloomberg website at 12:16 a.m. PDT on Tuesday morning. It’s certainly worth your time — and I found it in a GATA dispatch yesterday. Another link to it is here.
With over $13 trillion in global notional debt trading with a negative yield, it will hardly come as a surprise that there is a line of investors stretching around the block for even the least fundamentally sound bonds which still offer a modest positive yield, such as those which for the past 2 years were only purchased by the ECB. We are of course talking bout Italian bonds, and not just any variety, but 50-year bonds issue offered by Europe’s financial problem child.
The frenzied demand for Italian bonds that won’t be repaid in most investors’ lifetimes (they mature in 2067) – or perhaps ever, if Italy defaults on its debt – was such that they attracted demand of over €17.5 billion for the €3 billion offering, making them roughly 6x oversubscribed, despite a yield of just 2.9%, almost a full percent lower than what this paper yielded in late 2018.
To Bloomberg this represents the “latest example of the intense hunt for yield spurred by dovish monetary bets. even as the stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report on Friday clouds the case for aggressive monetary easing.”
Meanwhile, as Italian bond yields tumble on expectations that the ECB will restart its QE in the coming months, Europe is slowly collapsing under Albert Edwards’ ice age, and the number of corporate junk bonds trading with a sub-zero handle in euros now stands at 14, compared to zero at the start of the year. Even emerging-market issuers are joining the not-so-exclusive negative yield club, while a whopping 27% of Europe’s investment grade bonds are now trading with a negative yield sign.
It’s only a matter of time before some of those money shows up on the precious metals — and I suspect that some of it already has. This Zero Hedge story appeared on their website at 3:54 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for pointing it out. Another link to it is here.
RBI adds 5.6 tonnes of gold to its reserves in April, taking the total quantum to 618.2 tonnes.
With the latest purchase, the RBI has bought 17.7 tonnes of gold from the open market since January this year. It had purchased 6.5 tonnes in January, 1.9 tonnes in February and 3.7 tonnes in March to enter the top 10 countries in terms of the quantum of gold in their RBI reserves. The share of gold in RBI’s reserves stood at 6.1 per cent. It was the same even in March, before the bank bought 5.6 tonnes, according World Gold Council data.
The RBI started purchasing gold in small quantities from December 2017 after a gap of eight years. In November 2009, it had bought 200 tonnes from the IMF. Since December 2017, the apex bank has bought a total of 60.2 tonnes. In 2018 itself it bought 42.3 tonnes. Central banks of other emerging nations, including China, Russia and Turkey are the largest buyers of gold.
“Reported net purchases (so far) of a tonne or more totalled 35.8 tonnes in May, 27 per cent lower than the previous month. This brings reported net purchases year-to-date to 247.3 tonnes, 73 per cent higher than the same period last year. Several emerging market central banks—including Russia, China, Turkey and Kazakhstan—have dominated buying for a few years now, and this is still the case in 2019 with those banks the four biggest buyers so far,” said Alistair Hewitt, Director of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council.
The above four paragraph are all there is to this brief gold-related news item that was posted on the mydigitalfc.com Internet site at 1:38 a.m. IST on their Tuesday morning, which was 4:08 p.m. on Monday afternoon in New York — EDT plus 9.5 hours. I found it on the Sharps Pixley website — and another link to it is here.
The Chinese Central Bank has announced another addition to its gold reserves – for the seventh month in a row now – and this time of 10.26 tonnes. Thus so far this year the Chinese Central Bank has officially added some 74 tonnes of gold to its reserves, although like all Chinese data one wonders at the veracity of these figures. China has in the past gone for long periods claiming not to have added at all to its gold reserves, but then comes up with very substantial increases which, in reality, it must have been accumulating over a number of months, if indeed it didn’t have it already. There are also strong suspicions that the overall total holding the country reports to the IMF substantially understates its true total holdings which some observers feel could be at least three to four times the official level of a little under 2,000 tonnes.
Germany’s Commerzbank speculates that the latest announced gold reserve increases are because of the trade dispute with the U.S. which may have prompted the nation to take in gold while reducing its U.S. dollar related holdings.
The Chinese 10.26 tonne addition to reserves in June, though, was well below its announced reserve increases in May (15.86 tonnes) and April (14.93 tonnes) which may, or may not, be significant. The trade talks with the U.S. had broken down at the time and one wonders that if, as now they are resuming, Chinese gold purchases will pick up again this month if the Commerzbank reasoning is correct.
All in all Central Bank gold buying seems to be holding up well this year, with Poland last week making the surprise announcement that it had added 100 tonnes of gold to its reserves in the first half of 2019, almost doubling them to 228.6 tonnes. This follows on from purchases of around 25.7 tonnes in the second half of 2018. According to the World Gold Council, central bank gold demand is up 73% year on year for the first five months of the current year, which bodes well for the maintenance of the high central bank gold purchase levels we saw last year.
This worthwhile commentary by Lawrie appeared on the Sharps Pixley website on Tuesday morning sometime — and another link to it is here.
We have always been consistent in publishing tabulations of the world’s top gold miners, but not always so with the equivalent for silver, so here’s a tabulation of last year’s country-by-country silver rankings based on specialist precious metals consultancy, Metals Focus’ annual Silver Focus report released mid-June (while I was away on holiday – hence the delay in collating the figures!)
Metals Focus notes that after a 2% fall in 2017 global new mined silver, output fell again in 2018 – by around 3.4%. Despite this the consultancy still sees global silver supply in surplus, albeit by only a small amount, This contrasts with the findings of the other major U.K.-based precious metals consultancy, GFMS, which had estimated a small supply deficit in the past year. But in neither case are the figures significant enough one way or the other to move the markets and both are likely to see some changes as 2019 progresses. All in all these could be seen as neutral in effect.
Metals Focus puts the production declines down primarily to falling grades at several large primary silver mines as well as reduced byproduct output from the global copper mining sector. According to its figures the consultancy estimates that output from primary silver producers fell by 8.4% to 7,457 tonnes, comprising 28.5% of the global total, whereas silver produced from copper mines fell by 4.3% to 5,906 tonnes, or 22.6% of the global output total. Lead-zinc-silver mines, though continue to dominate, producing some 8,416 tonnes or 32.2% of global total silver mine output. Much of the balance will have come from byproduct output from primary gold and pgm producers.
We have recorded the principal country-by-country output figures in millions of troy ounces in the table below – with those countries which have moved up in the rankings noted by an up arrow. A notable absentee from the list this year though is Guatemala where the country’s principal silver mine, Escobal – one of the biggest in the world in terms of production – remained closed having been shut down as the result of a dispute with locals in 2017. This led to a year-on-year drop of 337 tonnes of silver. Escobal had produced 302 tonnes of silver in the truncated 2017 year and 659 tonnes in 2016. It is now owned by Pan American Silver which purchased it from Tahoe Resources, but there’s no sign as yet that the ownership change will lead to the mine being brought back into production any time soon.
Of course, as everyone knows, but not all will admit publicly, is that supply/demand factors mean nothing in the Big 6 commodities, as they’re all set between the commercial traders and those traders in the Managed Money category. This silver commentary from Lawrie put in an appearance on the Sharps Pixley website yesterday — and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Here’s a series of landscape shots that I took out in the back country/hills/inter-mountain region about 16 kilometers/10 miles northeast of Merritt on May 12. As is usually the case when your in these parts, except for the washed-out bridge in the first photo — and the dirt road in the second shot, there’s no sign of human habitation anywhere. It was just me — and the occasional western meadowlark. Click to enlarge.
“The power to tax is the power to destroy.” — John Marshall
It was pretty much a nothing day in silver gold, although there certainly was price pressure in platinum and palladium…particularly palladium. As I’ve stated on several occasions recently, that with the Managed Money traders massively long this precious metal, it certainly it appears the JPMorgan et al are trying to turn the price lower, so they can ring the cash register for fun, profit — and price management purposes. Copper was closed at a new low for this particular move down.
Here are the 6-month charts for the five of the Big 6 commodities. There’s no platinum chart, as the folks over at the stockcharts.com Internet site are having issues with it, as it didn’t update from Monday. Click to enlarge.
And as I type this paragraph, the London open is less than a minute away — and I note that the price pressure has returned in both gold and silver — and that began as soon as the market opened at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Tuesday evening. At the moment, gold is down $6.60 the ounce — and silver is down 4 cents. Platinum hasn’t been spared either — and is down 3 bucks. Palladium traded flat until around 2 p.m. China Standard Time and, like the other three precious metals, was tapped lower at that point — and is also down 3 dollars as Zurich opens.
Net HFT gold volume is a bit over 49,500 contracts — and there’s 1,962 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of August and into future months. Net HFT silver volume is pretty light at 6,300 contracts — and there’s only 128 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.
The dollar index opened up 2 basis points once trading commenced at 7:45 p.m. in New York on Sunday evening, which was 7:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Wednesday morning — and has chopped quietly and unevenly sideways since. It’s down 2 basis points as of 7:45 a.m. BST in London/8:45 a.m. CEST in Zurich.
Yesterday, at the close of COMEX trading, was the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report. And after checking the 6-month gold and silver charts above, I would expect we’ll see some improvement in gold, but I’m not prepared to bet the ranch on that. Silver is an easier call — and there will certainly be some rather decent improvement in the commercial net short position in that precious metal. I expect the same in both palladium and WTIC.
But Ted Butler is the real authority on all this — and I’m looking forward to what he has to say in his mid-week review later today. I’ll most likely borrow a few sentences from his comments for my Friday missive.
And as I post today’s column on the website at 4:02 a.m. EDT, I see that all four precious metals have edged a tiny bit higher as the first hour of London/Zurich trading ends. Gold is down $5.90 — and silver is down 4 cents. Platinum is down a buck, but palladium is now up 4 dollars.
Gross gold volume is a bit over 65,000 contracts — and minus what little roll-over/switch volume there is, net HFT gold volume is just under 60,500 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is a bit over 8,400 contracts — and there’s 433 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.
The dollar index hasn’t done much of anything during the last hour — and as of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich, it’s still down 2 basis points.
That’s it for another day — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.