An Assassination: The U.S. War on Iran Begins

03 January 2019 — Friday


[Note: I don’t normally headline my column with such words as I used today, but it seemed fitting under the circumstances that are now unfolding in the Middle East. – Ed]

The gold price took off higher the moment that trading began at 6:00 p.m. EST in New York on Wednesday evening — and ran into ‘something’ right away — and from there it was sold a bit lower until around 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning.  It chopped very quietly and unevenly higher until shortly before 1 p.m. in London/8 a.m. in New York — and then a far more serious rally developed.  That ran into ‘da boyz’ a few minute before 9 a.m. EST — and the high tick was set around 11:35 a.m.  The price was capped and sold lower at that juncture — and the New York low was set around 12:25 p.m. EST.  From that point it edged quietly higher until trading ended at 5:00 p.m.

The low and high ticks were reported by the CME Group as $1,519.70 and $1,534.00 in the February contract.

Gold finished the Thursday session in New York at $1,528.70 spot, up $11.90 from Tuesday’s close.  Net volume was on the heavier side at just under 248,000 contracts — and there was a hair over 25,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.

Silver also jumped higher at the New York open on Sunday evening — and that spike higher ran into “all the usual suspects” immediately as well.  From there, it was sold down pretty hard, with the low tick of the day coming a few minutes after 10 a.m. in Shanghai on their Thursday morning.  It recovered a bunch after that before chopping sideways until around 8:35 a.m. in London.  It then edged a bit higher until 1 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. EST — and away it went to the upside.  Like gold, it ran into ‘da boyz’ a few minutes before 9 a.m. in New York — and that was its high tick of the day…which Kitco recorded as $18.17 spot.  It was sold lower until around noon EST — and then, also like gold, crept a bit higher until the market closed at 5:00 p.m. in New York.

The low and high ticks in silver were reported as $17.83 and $18.15 in the March contract.

Silver was closed back back below $18 spot, finishing the Thursday session at $17.995 spot, up 17.5 cents on the day.  Net volume was pretty heavy at just under 86,000 contracts — and there was a bit under 6,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.

The platinum price rose and fell about 7 dollars in Far East trading on their Thursday — and began to head higher as soon as Zurich opened.  That rally also ran into JPMorgan et al. a few minutes before 9 a.m. as well — and from that point it was sold unevenly lower until around 12:20 p.m. in New York.  From that juncture it didn’t do much until 2 p.m. in the thinly-traded after-hours market — and it then crept a decent amount higher until trading ended at 5:00 p.m. EST.  Platinum was closed at $978 spot, up 14 dollars on the day, but 17 bucks of its Kitco-recorded $995 spot high tick.

Palladium didn’t do much in Far East and Zurich trading on their respective Thursdays, but caught a bit shortly after 9:30 a.m. in New York.  That rally ran into ‘something’ around 11:30 a.m. EST — and it was sold lower until minutes after 12 o’clock noon.  It crept quietly and unevenly higher until 4 p.m. — and didn’t do much after that.  Palladium was closed at $1,941 spot, up 18 bucks on the day, but 30 dollars off its Kitco-reported $1,971 high tick.

The dollar index closed very late on Wednesday afternoon in New York 96.45 — and opened up about 3 basis points once trading commenced around 7:45 p.m. EST in New York on Wednesday evening, which was 8:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Thursday morning.  From there it didn’t do much until around 10:45 a.m. CST — and it began to edge very unevenly higher from there until the 10 a.m. EST afternoon gold fix in London.  Then it began to head sharply lower, with the New York low coming exactly at the 11:00 a.m. EST London close.  ‘Gentle hands’ appeared and guided it higher until about fifteen minutes before the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close — and it crept quietly lower until trading ended at 5:30 p.m. in New York.  The dollar index finished the day at 96.85…up 40 basis points from Friday’s close.

Here’s the DXY chart for Thursday, courtesy of Bloomberg, as always.  Click to enlarge.

And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index, thanks to the folks over at the Internet site.  The delta between its close…96.53…and the close on the DXY chart above, was 32 basis points on Thursday.  Click to enlarge as well.

The gold stocks gapped up a tiny bit at the open — and didn’t do much from there until shortly before 11 a.m. in New York trading.  That was when the gold price was capped and sold lower — and the shares followed.  The decline ended when the ‘da boyz’ stopped beating on the price…around 12:20 a.m. EST.  Although gold began to head higher from that juncture, the shares did not react at all, but did tick a bit higher in the last hour of trading.  The HUI closed down a very surprising 0.52 percent.

The silver equities popped a bit a the open as well, but began to head lower immediately — and after that, they followed their golden cousins almost tick for tick…including the rather tiny rally in the last hour of trading.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed down an even more surprising 1.32 percent.  I was more than underwhelmed.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

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

Although the silver equities didn’t do much yesterday, which was also very surprising, the culprits that dragged the Silver 7 Index lower were Peñoles and Coeur Mining.  The former was down 3.26 percent — and the latter by 3.34 percent.  SSR Mining/Silver Standard Resource didn’t help either, closing down 1.51 percent.

If you’re looking to me for a reason as to why the precious metal stocks were so weak on such a strong day for the precious metals…I don’t have one.  But then again, one must not forget that we’ve had decent-sized up days when their respective priced were either down on the day…or didn’t do much…so one should be careful about reading too much into one days worth of trading activity.

But, having said all that, it was an unhappy surprise — and I’m not sure what it may portend, if anything.

The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 3 of January deliveries showed that 74 gold and 52 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday.

In gold, the two short/issuers were Advantage and Marex Spectron, with 61 and 13 contracts from their respective client accounts.  There were eight long/stoppers in total…and the only two that really mattered were JPMorgan and Advantage, with 36 and 22 contracts for their respective client accounts.  In very distant third place was Scotia Capital/Scotiabank, with 5 contracts for its in-house/proprietary trading account.

In silver, the lone short/issuer was International F.C. Stone out of its client account — and the the three long/stoppers were Scotia Capital/Scotiabank with 34 contract for its own account, JPMorgan with 10 contracts for its own account as well — and lastly was Advantage, with 8 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 January fell by 78 contracts, leaving 202 still open, minus the 74 mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 211 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 211-78=133 more gold contracts were just added to the January delivery month.  Silver o.i. in January declined by 97 contracts, leaving 119 still around, minus the 52 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 98 silver contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 98-97=1 more silver contract was just added to January.

There was an addition to GLD on Thursday, as an authorized participant added 65,911 troy ounces — and there were no reported changes in SLV.

In other gold and silver ETFs on Planet Earth on Thursday….minus any activity at the COMEX, or in GLD & SLV…there was a net 10,638 troy ounces of gold added, but there was a net 519,046 troy ounces withdrawn.  All of those silver withdrawals involved Central Fund, Sprott and Deutsche Bank.

Not surprisingly, there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Thursday.  I don’t expect we’ll hear anything from there until near the end of January.

There was no activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on on Tuesday.

It was pretty busy in silver, though…as 1,206,850 troy ounces was reported received — and 602,703 troy ounces was shipped out.  In the ‘in’ category, there was one truckload…599,163 troy ounces…dropped off at Brink’s, Inc. — and the other truckload…607,687 troy ounces…ended up at CNT.  The ‘out’ activity was one truckload…600,815 troy ounces…that departed Canada’s Scotiabank….with the remaining 1,888 troy ounces leaving the Delaware Depository.  The link to all this is here.

There was no activity reported over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Tuesday.

Here are two charts that I pulled off Nick Lairds’ website just now.  These are 20-year charts showing gold and silver inventories in all know depositories, mutual funds and ETFs, as of the close of business on December 31, 2019.  The differences between them couldn’t be more stark…not only in absolute terms, but also compared to the price performances of their respective underlying precious metals.  Click to enlarge for both.

I don’t have all that many stories for you today.


The Price of Year-End Market Stability: $414 Billion

…even as year-end passed, today the Fed still added $56.7 billion of liquidity to the Repo market, as a result of $29 billion of overnight RP operations and $27.7 billion in two-week term repo ops, and as Curvature’s Scott Skyrm writes  “customer cash is filtering back into the market over the next few days, so most Fed ops going forward are more for convenience than to prevent a real liquidity shortage.”  Click to enlarge.

The bottom line: the repo market hurricane failed to make landfall on Dec 31, and all it cost was just over $410 billion in liquidity injections and debt monetizations.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Fed will now somehow have to withdraw some of this liquidity (not all, as NOT QE is here to stay until at least Q2, which is why last week Morgan Stanley wrote that it sees “Melt-Up Lasting Until April, After Which Markets Will “Confront World With No Fed Support“). Yet the Fed’s repo operations, which as of today amount to roughly $256 billion, will start getting unwound over the next few days and week, and absent another (JPMorgan catalyzed) crisis, may shrink back to zero by early/mid February even as liquidity from T-Bill monetizations slowly takes their place. The question is how will the market react as tens of billions in term repos mature in the next few weeks, and the liquidity is not rolled over.

One thing is certain: the Fed’s balance sheet explosion helped boost the stock market such that every week since the start of October, any time the Fed’s balance sheet rose, so did the S&P and vice versa, as we have shown repeatedly:   Click to enlarge.

Will the imminent contraction in the Fed’s balance sheet as repos start unwinding, be the catalyst that finally forces the melt up to break? We will find out in the next few weeks.

This chart-filled news item appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 3:53 p.m. on Thursday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is hereGregory Mannarino‘s daily market-closing rant for Thursday is linked here.

Helicopter Money is Here: How the Fed Monetized Billions in Debt Sold Just Days Earlier

The Fed’s charter prohibits its from directly purchasing bonds or bills issued by the U.S. Treasury: that process is also known as monetization and various Fed chairs have repeatedly testified under oath to Congress that the Fed does not do it. Of course, the alternative is what is known as “Helicopter Money”, when the central bank directly purchases bonds issued by the Treasury and forms the backbone of the MMT monetary cult.

But what if there is at a several day interval between Treasury issuance and subsequent purchase? Well, that’s perfectly legal, and it’s something the Fed has done not only during QE1, QE2 and QE3, but is continuing to do now as part of its “QE4/NOT QE.” So what is going on? Well, for all those saying the U.S. may soon unleash helicopter money, and/or MMT, we have some ‘news’: helicopter money is already here, and the Fed is now actively monetizing debt the Treasury sold just days earlier using Dealers as a conduit… a “conduit” which is generously rewarded by the Fed’s market desk with its marked up purchase price.

In other words, the Fed is already conducting Helicopter Money (and MMT) in all but name. As shown above, the Fed monetized T-Bills that were issued just three days earlier – and just because it is circumventing the one hurdle that prevents it from directly purchasing securities sold outright by the Treasury, the Fed is providing the Dealers that made this legal debt circle-jerk possible with millions in profits, even as the outcome is identical if merely offset by a few days.

Perhaps during Fed Chair Powell’s next Congressional hearings, someone actually has the guts to ask the only question that matters: why is the Fed now monetizing U.S. debt, and pretending it isn’t doing so just because it grants Dealers a 3-day “holding” period, for which it then rewards them generously?

This very interesting and worthwhile news item was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 1:31 p.m. on Thursday afternoon EST — and it’s the first contribution of the day from Brad Robertson.  Another link is here.

Why Is Wall Street the Only Industry in America With Access to the Fed’s Endless Money Machine?

Consumers represent two-thirds of GDP in the United States. And yet, when consumers run into trouble, they don’t get a handout from the Federal Reserve – they are forced to file bankruptcy. There are no Fed handouts to small business owners, farmers, or main street merchants either.

So why is it exactly that the trading houses on Wall Street, with a serial history of crimes and with the most overpaid and under-punished executives on the planet, are able to perpetually have secret communications with the New York Fed and magically turn on the flow of trillions of dollars of ridiculously cheap loans to bail out their hubris and corruption.

The obscene money spigot from the New York Fed to Wall Street’s trading houses didn’t start with the epic financial crisis of 2008, as most Americans believe. It started following the bust, which was fueled by fraudulent research from Wall Street’s trading houses. The money from the Fed to Wall Street simply flowed under the cover of the 9/11 crisis.

The emotional toll of 9/11 has caused a memory lapse among most Americans to the reality that the stock market and Wall Street were in free fall before 9/11 occurred. The NASDAQ stock market had closed at 1695 on the day before September 11, 2001 – a stunning 66 percent drop from its peak in March of 2000. The bust had led to one of the largest destructions of U.S. wealth in stock market history. The New York Times’ Ron Chernow wrote about the dire conditions on Wall Street six months before 9/11, penning this: “Let us be clear about the magnitude of the NASDAQ collapse. The tumble has been so steep and so bloody — close to $4 trillion in market value erased in one year — that it amounts to nearly four times the carnage recorded in the October 1987 crash.”

This commentary from the Internet site on Thursday was something I borrowed from a GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is here.

New Rules for the New Decade — Bill Bonner

As longtime Diary sufferers know already, we think the U.S. empire peaked out in the late ’90s. Then, two colossal, but predictable, knucklehead mistakes – one in 2001, the other in 2008 – sealed the deal and sped the slippage.

And in the elections of 2016, Americans faced a critical choice: stay the course… or try something new. For better or for worse, with the help of the Electoral College system, they took the riskier choice.

But while the new president made the fur fly, he did not change the direction of the country. Instead of turning around or even slowing down, he stepped on the gas.

And now, thanks to demographics, entitlements, fake money, the Federal Reserve, and Deep State politics, the decline and fall is unstoppable.

Bill Bonner’s latest commentary was posted on his website on Thursday morning EST sometime — and another link to it is here.

Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the 2020s

The task is to make some predictions (although “forecasts” sounds more legitimate) about the Big Picture. OK, I’m game. Let’s write some plausible science fiction, with a tinge of horror story.

#1 Demographics

First, it’s good to remember that demographics have a life of their own. That’s not good from the point of view of those of us of European descent. We’re only 10% of world population and falling rapidly. Worse, it seems we’re responsible for all the world’s problems and therefore aren’t very popular.

In Europe, I expect the ’20s will have a lot of mass migration, the largest in scale since the barbarian invasions of the fifth century. This time there will be millions, then tens of millions, of Africans coming across the Mediterranean, looking for a higher standard of living—like all migrants.

#2 The Greater Depression

The consequence of scores of trillions of new currency units being printed around the world in response to the crisis that began in 2007 will be a catastrophic Greater Depression. Made worse by negative interest rates. Expect massive unemployment, high retail inflation, a collapse of the bond market, and a much lower stock market. Most important, expect a lower standard of living for the average American.

#4 China Implodes

China is on its way to dominating the world this century. The changes in China over the last 30 years are both real and unparalleled in world history. But in the meantime, its financial system—starting with its banks—will implode. Mrs. Wong will be very, very unhappy to find that 50% of her savings has disappeared.

#5 The United States Starts a Major War

The U.S. is likely to provoke a major war, partly in an attempt to unite a culturally divided country. But not just a sport war such as we’ve had in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Probably with China, possibly Russia or Iran. Perhaps with all three. The U.S. won’t do well, since it will find that its aircraft carriers, F-35s, and the like are equivalent to cavalry before WW1 and battleships before WW2.

This interesting commentary from Doug was posted on the Internet site on January 2 — and another link to it is here.

“Dire” European Manufacturing Downturn Deepens in December

The manufacturing downturn across Europe deepened in the last month of 2019 according to the latest survey data released on Thursday.  Click to enlarge.

IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI lost momentum last month, printing at 46.3, down from 46.9 in November, if modestly above the 45.9 expected. The PMI averaged 46.4 in 4Q, a seven-year low. The slowdown was due to “underperformance” in the investment goods sector. There was marginal growth in consumer goods for the first time since August.

Commenting on European Manufacturing PMI data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, said that “Eurozone manufacturers reported a dire end to 2019, with output falling at a rate not exceeded since 2012. The survey is indicative of production falling by 1.5% in the fourth quarter, acting as a severe drag on the wider economy“, and confirmation that the manufacturing recession is still in full force.

And while “firms grew somewhat more optimistic about the year ahead, a return to growth remains a long way off given that new order inflows continued to fall at one of the fastest rates seen over the past seven years” Williamson noted.

Firms sought to reduce inventory levels and cut headcounts as a result, focusing on slashing capacity and lowering costs. Such cost-cutting was again also evident in further steep falls in demand for machinery, equipment and production-line inputs.”

In conclusion, “only households provided any source of improved demand in December, underscoring how the consumer sector has helped keep the economy out of recession in recent months. The ability of the wider economy to avoid sliding into a downturn in the face of such a steep manufacturing contraction remains a key challenge for the eurozone as we head into 2020.”

This rather short 4-chart Zero Hedge article showed up on their Internet site at 7:29 a.m. EST on Thursday morning — and I thank Brad Robertson for this one.  Another link to it is here.

Putin Reminds The West: Those Who Ignore History Are Doomed to Repeat it

President Putin recently stirred up a hornets nest by reminding the western nations of their own complicity in supporting the rise of Nazism long before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed on August 23, 1939.

Between December 19 and 24, Putin responded on several occasions to the dangerous revival of fascism sweeping across Europe by calling out the Polish Ambassador to Germany Józef Lipski (1934-1939) as “scum and an anti-Semitic pig, there is no other way of describing him… He shared Hitler’s anti-Semitic sentiment and moreover, he promised to erect a monument in Warsaw for the persecution of the Jewish people.”

Putin spoke these words largely to point out a major hypocrisy which has taken the form of a European Parliament Resolution which was introduced on September 17 calling for European states to officially recognize that the 1939 Russian-German non-aggression treaty (called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) was the singular cause of World War II! The current Polish government has proven to be one of the loudest supporters of this bill which is especially dangerous as it is also one of the most strategically-located NATO members hosting the anti ballistic missile (ABM) shield in its territory as part of the military doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance” under the Military Industrial utopians of NATO and the American deep state.

Putin reminded his listeners that true blame for the war should be found in those European powers that had already created non-aggression pacts with Hitler long before Russia, beginning with the 1938 Munich Agreement between France, England and Germany permitting the later to carve up Czechoslovakia. To this point, Putin said: “Let them read historical documents so that they can see that the Munich Agreement was signed in 1938: the leaders of key European countries – France and the United Kingdom – signed an agreement with Hitler to divide Czechoslovakia.”

This article, from the Strategic Culture Foundation website, was picked up by Zero Hedge at 2:00 a.m. EST on Thursday morning — and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us.  Another link to it is here.

Russia and the USA both finish the year with a “Grand Finale” of sorts

The end of the year is often a time of relative calm when the various parties to a conflict take a moment off, even when they declare nothing of the sort publicly (there are, of course, exceptions to this rule of thumb, such as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979). This year, both the Russians and the USA ended the year in a climax of sorts which we shall look into.

Another rule of thumb says that, “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior”, and this turned out to be very true in both cases: the Russians did more of what they have done all year long, as did the Americans. Specifically:

• Uncle Shmuel decided to bomb five bases of the group Kata’ib Hizbullah in Iraq in retaliation for an attack on the K1 U.S. base in Iraq

• Defense Minister Shoigu announced that the first regiment of Avangard equipped ICBMs was fully operational and on combat alert.

Let’s take a look at the implications and consequences of these two events.

This longish, but very interesting commentary from the Saker, put in an appearance on his Internet site on Wednesday sometime — and it comes to us courtesy of Larry Galearis.  Another link to it is here.

Iran’s Top Military Commander, Qasem Suleimani, Assassinated in U.S. Airstrike

The Pentagon has confirmed that Soleimani was killed at the direction of President Trump in what it termed a “defensive action” as per the following statement:  Click to enlarge.

This is the spark that could set the whole region on fire, given Suleimani is Iran’s most important, visible and powerful military leader.

This assassination is basically the start of an undeclared war on Iran, so hang onto your hats.  This Zero Hedge news item showed up on their website at 8:17 a.m. EST on Thursday evening — and another link to it is here.  And this just in from Roy Stephens…”U.S. Assassination of Top Iranian Military Official May Ignite World War“.  It appeared on the Internet site just after midnight EST this morning — and it’s worth reading.

I didn’t find any precious metal stories that I thought worth posting.


With the sun almost down on August 3 we drove a few blocks to Shuswap Lake at the edge of downtown Salmon Arm.  It’s a lovely park area — and we came across an adult western grebe and his/her young one.  It’s the first time that I’d ever laid eyes on one of these birds.  The “golden hour” was very long in the tooth at that point — and although a little further away than I would have liked, I managed to salvage these two shots.  Click to enlarge.


The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” — Ernest Hemingway

There should be no doubt in your mind from the price action on Thursday that JPMorgan et al. were still out and about, as they left their calling cards in all the precious metals yesterday.  The rest of the PPT was supporting the dollar index — and ensuring that the U.S. stock markets continued to behave properly.  They were successful on all counts — and I’m still puzzling over why the precious metal equities did so poorly.

Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities once again.  Gold is well into overbought territory — and silver, along with platinum, are knocking on the door at that level as well.  Palladium has a ways to go.  Both copper and WTIC closed up tiny amounts.  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 stair-stepped its way higher until it ran into ‘something’ around 2:45 p.m. China Standard Time on their Friday afternoon.  It has been sold a bit lower since, but rallied a bit going into the London open — and is currently up $14.50 the ounce.  The silver price was managed in similar fashion, complete with the pre-London open tick higher — and it’s up 23 cents currently, but well off its current Kitco-recorded $16.35 spot high tick of the day.  The platinum price has been wandering unevenly and quietly above the unchanged mark since trading began at 6:00 p.m. in New York on Thursday evening — and it’s up 5 bucks at the moment.  The palladium price edged equally quietly and unevenly higher until around 11 a.m. CST — and hasn’t done much since — and is up 6 dollars as Zurich opens.

Net HFT gold volume is sky high already at around 100,000 contracts — and there’s 3,300 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.  Net HFT silver volume is very hefty as well at a bit over 28,000 contracts — and there’s around 3,500 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.

It’s more than obvious that JPMorgan et al. have been the short sellers of last resort during these rallies in Far East trading.

The dollar index opened down about 6 basis points at 96.79 once trading commenced around 7:45 p.m. EST in New York on Thursday evening, which was 8:45 a.m. China Standard time on their Friday morning.  Its current low tick was set at 10:30 a.m. in Shanghai — and it has been chopping quietly higher since — and is now up 2 basis point as of 7:45 a.m. GMT in London/8:45 a.m. CET in Zurich.

According to an e-mail that I received from Brad Robertson late yesterday evening, there will be no jobs report today, but there’s lot of other economic news coming out in lieu of that.

Of course the big news is the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top military commander as ordered by Donald Trump — and the Pentagon.  As you are already well aware, the U.S. deep state and their ‘friends’ in the Middle East have been itching to start a war over there for a while now — and we may have just heard the first shot fired in that conflict.  Let’s hope that it will be contained to that unfortunate war-torn area of the world…but one should never underestimate the twisted and psychopathic minds that run the U.S. deep state at the moment.

Because of the New Year’s holiday, there won’t be a COT Report today.  That will come out on Monday, so Saturday’s column will be the standard fare.

And as I post today’s missive on the website at 4:02 a.m. EST, I see that gold and silver prices got tapped a bit lower at the London open. But gold is still up $15.40…however silver is up only 16 cents as the first hour of London trading ends. Platinum and palladium aren’t doing much…with both of them up 7 dollars as the first hour of trading in Zurich draws to a close.

Gross gold volume continues to climb — and is now up to 128,000 contracts. Minus current roll-over/switch volume, net HFT gold volume is a bit over 120,000 contracts. Net HFT silver volume is way up there as well at a bit under 33,000 contracts — and there’s about 3,550 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume in this precious metal.

‘Da boyz’ are certainly hard at work.

The dollar index hasn’t done much over the last hour — and is up 3 basis point as of 8:45 a.m. in London/9:45 a.m. in Zurich.

That’s it for another day — and with the events in the Middle East now in a state of high drama, it could be a wild one in New York when the markets open.

Have a good weekend — and I’ll see you here tomorrow.