05 December 2015 — Saturday
YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM
The gold price didn’t do a whole heck of a lot in Far East and morning trading in London on their respective Fridays, but starting around ten minutes before the COMEX open, the gold price spiked up over ten bucks—and was promptly capped the moment trading began in New York. It began to sell off from there—aided and abetted by the release of the job numbers at 8:30 a.m. EST. But that effect didn’t last long—and within a few minutes of the news, the gold price took off to the upside. The high tick came around 10:20 a.m. in New York—and after that it wandered sideways for the remainder of the Friday session.
The low and high tick were recorded by the CME Group as $1,057.20 and $1,088.30 in the February contract.
Gold closed in New York yesterday at $1,086.30 spot, up $24.70 from Thursday’s close. It would have closed materially higher than this, but the rally met with very aggressive selling from the Commercial traders. The net volume was sky high at 192,500 contracts—and I’ll have more about all of this in The Wrap.
Here’s the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart—and if you examine the rally closely, you’ll see that it did so in stair-step fashion, which is a sure sign that it was running into resistance, because the moment that the price showed the slightest hint that it was running away to the upside, big selling showed up.
And here’s the 5-minute tick gold chart, with the first decent volume spike coming at the 6:15 a.m. Denver time on this chart—and once the COMEX close was in at 11:30 a.m. MST, volume vanished. The vertical gray line is midnight in New York, add two hours for EST—and don’t forget the ‘click to enlarge‘ feature.
The price pattern in silver yesterday was very similar to what happened in gold, so I shall dispense with the play-by-play on this precious metal.
The low and high tick for silver yesterday were recorded as $14.02 and $14.61 in the March contract.
Silver finished the Friday session at $14.545 spot, up 47.5 cents the ounce and, like gold, the rally in this precious metal met with resistance as well. Net volume was very chunky at just over 54,600 contracts.
There was a little more price action in platinum before the job numbers were released, but once that metal began to rally, it headed north with a vengeance until a not-for-profit seller showed up about twenty minutes after 10 a.m. in New York. Then, like gold and silver, the price chopped sideways into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading. Platinum ended the day at $877.00 spot, up 32 dollars from Thursday’s close, but well off its high tick.
Palladium was a bit of an outlier yesterday, just like it was on Thursday. It rallied a bit during the European session yesterday morning, barely reacted to the job numbers—and the began to rally [complete with the usual price resistance] starting shortly after the equity markets opened in New York. It managed to make it just above the $570 mark around 3 p.m. in electronic trading, but then got sold down into the close. Palladium finished the trading session in New York yesterday at $564 spot, up 29 bucks on the day but, like platinum, it was closed well off its high tick.
The dollar index closed late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 97.92—and didn’t do a lot until a rally of sorts developed a minute or so before London opened yesterday. It tacked on about 30 basis points in the next hour—and then chopped sideways in a 60 basis point trading range for the remainder of the day. The index finished the Friday session at 98.32—up 40 basis points from Thursday’s close.
Just as a point of interest, the dollar index closed down 212 basis points on the Thursday—and gold closed higher by just $8.40. Yesterday the dollar index closed higher by 40 basis points—and the gold price closed up $24.70 spot. As Ted Butler has been pointing out for years now, it’s not what’s happening with the dollar that’s driving gold, it’s the positioning of the Commercial traders vs. the Managed Money in the COMEX futures market that sets precious metal prices. If you look at any dollar/gold chart going back for twenty or thirty years, you’ll see that the correlation is mostly in people’s minds.
And here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar chart so you can keep with what’s happening in the medium term.
The gold stocks opened higher, but not by a lot. Most of their gains were in by the 10:20 a.m. EST high tick in gold—and after that the shares chopped sideways, but began to crawl higher starting shortly before 2 p.m. in New York trading—and the HUI closed on it’s absolute high tick, up 6.23 percent.
It was more or less the same chart pattern for the silver equities, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed on its high tick as well, up 4.80 percent.
For the week, the HUI closed up 12.99 percent—and Nick’s ISSI finished higher to the tune of 8.58 percent.
The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 6 of the December delivery month showed that 47 gold and 6 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday. In gold, Canada’s Scotiabank was the sole short/issuer—and the largest long/stopper was, drum roll please—JPMorgan with 43 contracts for its own account. And of the 6 silver contracts issued, JPMorgan stopped 3 of them for its own account as well. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that December gold open interest took another dip, this time falling by 224 contracts—and that leaves 2,769 still open—minus the 47 contracts mentioned in the previous paragraph. In silver, December o.i. declined by 47 contracts, leaving 433 still around, minus the 6 posted for delivery in the previous paragraph.
I’m still wondering why there have been no significant deliveries in gold so far this month. Ted says that things look tight for gold deliveries in December, just like they were in November.
There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday, but I was astonished to see that an eye-watering 2,287,541 troy ounces were deposited in SLV—and that certainly had nothing to do with Friday’s price action, as it takes days for deposits to catch up to SLV share purchases. I would presume that this may have been deposited to cover an existing short position and, of course, JPMorgan comes to mind. I’m sure that Ted Butler will have something to say about this in his weekly review to his paying subscribers later today—and I’ll steal what I can for next week.
Just as a point of interest here, since November 3—there has been 1,527,416 troy ounces of gold withdrawn from GLD during this engineered price decline by JPMorgan et al. During the same period of time there has been 7,826,878 troy ounces of silver deposited into SLV—and Ted is still looking for someone other than himself to explain this dichotomy, or even mention it. But none of the so-called precious metal ‘analysts’ out there will touch this issue with the proverbial 20-foot barge pole. “Why not?” is the question I keep asking myself—and so does he.
For the third day in row there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint—and I must admit that I find this somewhat odd considering the big sales month in November.
There was no in/out activity in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on their Thursday—and not much activity in silver either. Nothing was reported received—and only 31,748 troy ounces were shipped out—with all of it except one good delivery bar coming out of Scotiabank’s vault.
There was very decent in/out movement once again over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday. They reported receiving 3,014 kilobars—and shipped out a chunky 11,163 of them. All of the activity was at the Brink’s, Inc. depository once again—and the link to that, in troy ounces, is here.
The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday showed a minor deterioration in silver—and a very decent improvement in gold.
In silver, the Commercial net short position increased by a rather immaterial 1,096 contracts, or 5.5 million troy ounces—and was a number that caused Ted Butler no concern. The Commercial net short position is still pretty high from a historic perspective at 149.1 million ounces, but there are good reasons why that is case—and none of them are negative.
The Big 4 traders covered about 1,000 of their short contracts, the ‘5 through 8’ big traders covered an additional 1,300 of their short contracts—and the Commercial traders other than the Big 8, sold 3,400 long contract. That’s the first time I can remember when the raptors were selling longs as the Commercials were covering shorts—and Ted may have more to say about that in his column today. Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position somewhere around 14,500 contracts.
Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the Managed Money traders only increased their collective short positions by 70 contracts, so they’re ‘all-in’ on the downside. The unblinking non-technical funds in the Managed Money category added another 1,652 contracts to their already monstrous long positions, bringing that position up to 54,282 contracts.
I’m not sure who they are, but I’d guess that a few of them are ‘butt buddies’ of JPMorgan et al—and being the crooks that they are, there’s a possibility that a trader or two in this unblinking non-technical fund long category has the balance of JPMorgan’s short side position covered, but at arm’s length. Could they be the same trader[s] that issues the 2,746 silver contracts on First Day Notice last Friday? Questions with no answers.
In gold, the Commercial net short position dropped by an impressive 9,072 contracts, or 907,200 troy ounces. That reduced the Commercial net short position down to an insignificant 291,100 troy ounces, which is the lowest number that I can remember. Ted says it’s certainly the lowest number he can remember in modern times.
The 9,072 contract improvement came about as the Big 4 traders covered 3,900 of their short contracts—and the ‘5 through 8’ largest traders covered 500 contracts as well. The Commercial traders other than the Big 8, Ted’s raptors, added about 4,700 long contracts.
Under the hood in Disaggregated COT Report, the Managed Money traders added 2,825 contracts to their already gargantuan short positions—and the non-technical traders in the Managed Money category sold 1,077 long contracts. The rest of the activity was in the “Other Reportable” and “Nonreportable”/small trader category.
This COT Report is an excellent snapshot of the “bottom of the barrel” from a COT perspective—and since the cut-off, everything has changed, especially after Friday’s price action. So, as it happens from time to time, the data in this report, although very interesting, is already “yesterday’s news”.
Here’s Nick Laird’s most excellent “Days to Cover” chart showing the days of world production needed to cover the short positions of the Big 4 and Big 8 traders discussed above in gold and silver—plus all the other physically-traded commodities on the COMEX. As you can see, silver, platinum and palladium are in their usual spots—and when gold is this sold out, cocoa always takes over the #4 spot on the right-hand side of this chart. The ‘click to enlarge’ feature works wonders here.
The 14,500 contracts that Ted says JPMorgan’s short position currently sits at, works out to 34 days of world silver production on this chart—and I would estimate Scotiabank’s COMEX short position in silver to be about the same amount. I would be prepared to bet serious money that these two banks have been the two biggest silver shorts on Planet Earth since 2008 when JPMorgan took over the Bear Stearns short position in that metal.
Along with yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report, came the companion Bank Participation Report [BPR] for December. This is data extracted directly from the above COT Report, which shows the COMEX futures contracts, both long and short, that are held by the U.S. and non-U.S. banks as of Tuesday’s cut-off. For this one day a month we get to see what the world’s banks are up to in the COMEX futures market, especially in the precious metals—and they’re usually up to quite a bit.
In gold, 4 U.S. banks are net short 33,253 COMEX gold contracts. In November’s Bank Participation Report [BPR], that number was 56,174 contracts, so they’ve deceased their collective short positions by just under 23,000 contracts in the last month on the engineered price decline that they themselves initiated. Three of those four banks would include JPMorgan, Citigroup—and HSBC USA. As for who the fourth bank might be—I haven’t a clue, although Goldman Sachs comes to mind.
Also in gold, 19 non-U.S. banks are now net long 2,496 COMEX contracts in gold, which is a whopping change from November’s BPR which showed a net short position of 42,945 contracts for these same banks. As I’ve stated for years, it’s reasonable to assume that a goodly chunk of the gross short position in gold is owned by Canada’s Scotiabank, but it’s now obvious that most of these non-U.S. banks are now net long the COMEX futures market in gold. That’s amazing!
Here’s Nick’s chart of the Bank Participation Report for gold going back to 2000. Charts #4 and #5 are the key ones here. Note the blow-out in the short positions of the non-U.S. banks [the blue bars in chart #4] when Scotiabank’s COMEX gold positions [both long and short] were outed in October of 2012. The ‘click to enlarge’ feature is a must with these charts.
In silver, 4 U.S. banks are net short 16,743 COMEX silver contracts—and it’s Ted’s back-of-the-envelope calculation that JPMorgan holds about 14,500 contracts of that short position all by itself, so it’s a given from these numbers that one or more of the other U.S banks are also net short the silver market. My money is on HSBC USA. The short position of these 4 U.S. banks was 26,083 contracts in the November BPR, so there’s been a decent decrease month-over-month as JPMorgan et al worked their magic.
Also in silver, 13 non-U.S. banks are net short 14,427 COMEX contracts—and that’s a huge decrease from the 30,094 contracts that these same banks held in the November BPR. I’d be prepared to bet big money that Canada’s Scotiabank is the proud owner of this entire short position, plus a bit more. That means that virtually all of the other 12 non-U.S. banks are net long the COMEX silver market.
Here’s the BPR chart for silver. Note in Chart #4 the blow-out in the non-U.S. bank short position [blue bars] in October of 2012 when Scotiabank was brought in from the cold. Also note August 2008 when JPMorgan took over the silver short position of Bear Stearns—the red bars. It’s very noticeable in Chart #4—and really stands out like the proverbial sore thumb it is in chart #5.
In platinum, 4 U.S. banks are net short 6,885 COMEX contracts—but their long position [in total] is a laughable 30 contracts! So except for those 30 long contracts—their positions are held entirely on the short side. In the November BPR, these same banks were short 9,496 COMEX platinum contracts, so they’ve decreased their short position by quite a bit during the last month. This is the smallest net short position that the U.S. banks have had in platinum since the BPR back in April of this year.
I’d guess that JPMorgan holds the lion’s share of that 6,885 contract net short position.
Also in platinum, 16 non-U.S. banks are net short 5,889 COMEX contracts, a monstrous decrease from the 10,985 contracts they were net short in the October BPR. I have records going back eighteen months, and this is the smallest net short position in platinum that the non-U.S. banks have held since November 2014.
If there is a large player in platinum amongst the non-U.S. banks, I wouldn’t know which one it is. However I’m sure there’s at least one big one in this group. The reason I say that is because before mid-2009 when the U.S. banks showed up, the non-U.S. banks were always net long the platinum market by a bit—see the chart below—and now they’re net short. The remaining 15 non-U.S. banks divided into whatever is left, isn’t a lot, unless they’re all operating in collusion—which I doubt. But from the numbers it’s easy to see that the platinum price management scheme is an American show as well, with one big non-U.S. bank involved. Scotiabank perhaps?
Here’s the BPR chart for platinum—and please note that the U.S. banks were never a factor in platinum until mid 2009. Now look at them! If you want to know why the platinum price isn’t going anywhere, despite the supply/demand fundamentals, look at the total long positions the U.S. banks have vs. their collective short positions. Palladium too! That tells you all you need to know. But in all “fairness” to these 20 banks that are net short platinum, they’ve cut their presence in the COMEX platinum market in half during the last month of engineered price declines that some of them had a hand in doing. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
In palladium, 4 U.S. banks were net short 3,239 COMEX contracts in the December BPR, which is a decline from the 4,635 contracts they held short in the November BPR.
Also in palladium, 16 non-U.S. banks are net short 1,763 palladium contracts—which is a big decline from the 3,775 contacts they held net short in November’s BPR.
Here’s the BPR chart for palladium. Like platinum above, just look at the long positions vs. the short positions held by the U.S. banks in Chart #5. You should also note that the U.S. banks were almost nowhere to be seen in the COMEX futures market in this metal until the middle of 2007—and they became the predominant and controlling factor by the end of Q1 of 2013, where they remain today. I would bet that, like platinum, JPMorgan holds the vast majority of the U.S. banks’ short position in this precious metal as well.
As I say every month at this time, the three U.S. banks—JPMorgan, Citigroup, HSBC USA—along with Canada’s Scotiabank— are the tallest hogs at the price management trough. Until they decide, or are instructed to stand back, the prices of all four precious metals are going nowhere—supply and demand fundamentals be damned!
And that goes for copper and crude oil as well.
But despite how ugly the above four charts appear to be, we are bullishly configured to the extreme—and one can only hope that Friday’s price action is the beginning of the end of this price management scheme.
Here are two charts that Nick Laird passed around yesterday evening. They show the official gold and silver import numbers into India for September—55.51 tonnes of gold—and 1,019 tonnes of silver.
And, as always, here’s Nick’s weekly chart showing the withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange for the week ending on Friday, November 27—and the magic number is 48.862 tonnes. The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature really helps here.
I have a decent number of stories for you today, including several that for length of content reasons, had to wait for my Saturday column.
U.S. employment increased at a healthy pace in November, in another sign of the economy’s resilience, and will most likely be followed by the first Federal Reserve interest rate rise in a decade later this month.
Non farm payrolls rose 211,000 last month, the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday. September and October data was revised to show 35,000 more jobs than previously reported.
The unemployment rate held at a 7-1/2-year low of 5.0 percent, as people returned to the labor force in a sign of confidence in the jobs market. The jobless rate is in a range many Fed officials see as consistent with full employment and has dropped seven-tenths of a percentage point this year.
“The employment report should remove the final doubts about a rate hike at the December meeting. The clear message from the labor market to the Fed is: ‘Just do it!’” said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Research in New York.
This Reuters story, filed from Washington, put in an appearance on their Internet site at 4:36 p.m. EST on Friday afternoon—and I thank Patricia Caulfield for today’s first news item.
Here is one of the reasons why the Fed is confident the US economy is strong and resilient enough to sustain a rate hike: since January, the US has added 293,900 waiter & bartender positions and zero manufacturing workers.
Unless one is an economist, no further commentary is needed.
If one is an economist, we eagerly look forward to an extended discussion why one should focus only on the blue line and ignore the red one, debate the adverse impacts of the weather (both hot and cold) on manufacturing, listen to how the collapse of high-paying jobs is actually a good thing for low-paid food servers, and how this is merely a confirmation of the bullish split of the US economy into a growing services and a “slightly softer” manufacturing sector.
This tiny 2-chart Zero Hedge piece, appeared on their website at 11:17 a.m. yesterday morning EST—and I thank David Caron for passing it around. The charts are certainly worth a quick peek.
The 400 richest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the population, a report released on Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals. According to “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” just the twenty individuals at the top of the pile—a group that could fit into a Gulfstream G650 luxury jet, according to the study’s authors—now control more wealth than the bottom half of the population. That’s 152 million people living in 57 million households.
And there’s a stark racial divide at the top. The 100 richest households own more assets than the entire African-American community (there are just two black people on the Forbes 400 list, one of whom is Oprah Winfrey). And just 182 individuals on the Forbes list have more assets than America’s entire Hispanic population.
But Chuck Collins, director of IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good and a co-author of the report, tells The Nation that their study likely underestimates the scope of the problem. “Our wealth data is a tip of the iceberg,” he says. “So much wealth among the über-rich is hidden, either in offshore tax havens or in these loophole trusts where money is shuffled around into private corporate accounts or between different family members, and it disappears from taxation or any sort of oversight or accountability. So there’s a huge amount of escaped wealth that isn’t even factored into these statistics.”
And Collins says it’s only getting worse. “These inequalities really undermine our quality of life,” he says. “We need to explain to people who say ‘So what, I don’t care how much the Forbes 400 has’ that it really does touch on all of our lives, deeply and profoundly.”
This article showed up on thenation.com Internet site on Thursday at 12:21 p.m. EST—and it’s the second offering of the day from Patricia Caulfield.
Earlier today we reported that the primary catalyst for today’s surge in stocks was Mario Draghi’s speech in NY attempt to cover up the ECB’s latest policy error as virtually every sellside analyst called Draghi’s ‘disappointing” decision to jawbone expectations from the ECB to the stratosphere only to fall woefully short and lead to a 500 point plunge in the DAX and the biggest surge in the EURUSD since the announcement of QE1).
But nothing was a bigger catalyst in setting the market’s euphoric mood than the following exchange between Mervyn King, in which the former BOE chief asked “was today’s speech deliberately designed to try offset some of the reaction yesterday?” to which Draghi had a response that shocked every central bank watcher in its brutal honesty that all that matters to the ECB at this point is the market:
“Not really… well, of course.”
Bottom line, it was, is, and always will be about manipulating markets higher and the former Goldman Sachs banker no longer even bother not admitting it!
This is another brief story from the Zero Hedge website. This one showed up there at 4:48 p.m. yesterday afternoon EST—and if you want to hear Draghi say the words with your own ears, the video clip is embedded. I thank Richard Saler for this news item.
U.S. stocks gained 2 percent Friday on increased certainty of divergent central bank policy, with a strong jobs report supporting a Fed hike in December and ECB President Mario Draghi maintaining a dovish stance in a speech.
The jobs data “removes a lot of uncertainty. There’s just a relief of having more certainty. It’s sort of a converse to how stocks sold off in September (when the Fed didn’t raise rates). … The uncertainty now is going to come into play regarding what’s next, after Dec. 16. You might have a lot of debate around what they’ll do in January or March,” said Bryce Doty, senior fixed income manager with Sit Investment Associates.
With Friday’s gains, the major averages managed to close the week slightly higher. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of about 0.08 percent for the week, while the Dow Jones industrial average closed the week up nearly 0.3 percent.
The Dow closed up almost 370 points, slightly off session highs of a 388.80 point-gain. The index ended in positive territory for 2015, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most to gains.
This CNBC piece was picked up by the finance.yahoo.com Internet site late on Friday afternoon—and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it along.
Jim Rickards, Chief Global Strategist at West Shore Funds and author of New York Times bestseller “The Death of Money” joins Bloomberg Canada‘s Pamela Ritchie for a look at why he believes the Fed is muddling its message with less transparent messages to the market and investors. Part 1 runs for 5:23 minutes—and the fate of the Canadian dollar is what opens the discussion, but that doesn’t last long, as the ECB and the Fed quickly come to the fore. Part 2 is headlined “Why Jim Rickards has September 2016 marked on his calendar for China’s Yuan“—and it runs for 3:59 minutes. It’s linked here—and I thank Harold Jacobsen for bringing them to our attention.
The massive Canadian contingent at the U.N. climate-change conference in Paris was originally estimated at 350 people, but it appears the trans-Atlantic road trip has expanded.
The “provisional list of participants” just released by the U.N. has an amazing 383 names from Canada, ranking us among the largest entourages in the entire confab.
Don’t nitpick over the newly bloated number, as it’s understandable some jet-setting bureaucrats may have been initially overlooked during such a busy travel period.
If you’ve ever seen the classic Christmas film “Home Alone” you’ll know how easy it is to get the head count wrong during a mad dash to Paris.
“Canada is back, my good friends,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the conference, and he wasn’t just blowing greenhouse gases.
This short story appeared on theprovince.com Internet site on Thursday—and was obviously something that had to wait for today’s column. I thank Roy Stephens for finding it.
His name was Maurice Strong, Canadian billionaire, diplomat and U.N. apparatchik, and though you may not have heard of him, he probably did more to make your world a more expensive, inconvenient, overregulated, hectored, bullied, lied-to, sclerotic, undemocratic place than anyone post Hitler, Stalin and (his personal friend) Mao.
He’s the reason, for example, that most of the world’s leaders, 40,000 delegates and their attendant carbon mega-footprint descended here on Paris yesterday in order to talk about magical fairy dust for two weeks and then charge you $1.5 trillion (that’s per year, by the way) for the privilege.
He’s the reason that “climate change” is now so heavily embedded within our system of global governance that it is now almost literally impossible for any politician or anyone else whose career depends on the state to admit that’s it not a problem and to argue that there are more important issues in the world, like maybe the terrorism that killed over 130 innocent people just the other week now, where was it?- oh yeah, here in Paris where for some bizarre reason all the delegates are talking about carbon emissions instead…
He was the father of the mother of all climate summits: the one in Rio in 1992 that spawned a million and one bastard offspring, like the one in Paris now.
This very interesting article showed up on the breitbart.com Internet site—and it’s worth reading. I knew long before reading this article, that Strong was a card-carrying member of the New World Order crowd. I thank Dr. Dave Janda for pass it around on Tuesday.
French unemployment rose to near a record high in the third quarter, the latest sign that President Francois Hollande is struggling to meet a pledge to create jobs.
Unemployment climbed to 10.6 percent in the three months through September from 10.4 percent the previous quarter, national statistics office Insee said in an e-mailed statement. That’s in contrast to Germany, where the jobless rate fell to a record-low 6.3 percent in November.
While jobless claims have been steadily climbing for the past four years to reach a record 3.6 million in October, Hollande has been able to point to France’s growing population as part of the reason. The unemployment rate, by contrast, has stayed below the all-time high reached in 1997.
The third-quarter increase now leaves unemployment at its highest in 18 years and just shy of the the 10.7 percent record. While the economy is showing some signs of sustained growth for the first time since Hollande took power in May 2012, the labor-market numbers represent a political defeat for the Socialist president, who has said that job creation is a condition for his own re-election in 2017.
This short Bloomberg story put in an appearance on their Internet site at 1:23 a.m. MST on Thursday morning—and it’s something I found in yesterday’s edition of the King Report.
The Swedish government is preparing a proposal that would make it possible on security grounds to halt road traffic across the Öresund bridge to Denmark, as the country struggles to come to grips with record arrivals of refugees.
The proposal, not yet finalised, would be part of legislation requiring identity checks on all public transportation to Sweden in an effort to reduce the number of asylum seekers, a spokeswoman for the infrastructure minister said.
The plan would include giving the government the option of temporarily closing road traffic over the bridge (although still allowing trains) and on other roads into Sweden, said the spokeswoman.
The Öresund bridge, linking Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, with Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, is extensively used by commuters as well as by freight traffic. About 20,000 motor vehicles cross it daily.
This is the second story in a row that I ‘borrowed’ from yesterday’s edition of the King Report. It was posted on theguardian.com Internet site at 4:43 p.m. GMT on their Thursday afternoon, which was 1:43 p.m. EST in New York.
Switzerland threatened on Friday to impose unilateral curbs on immigration should it fail to agree with the European Union on limiting the influx into a country where nearly a quarter of the population is foreign.
After months of tough negotiations, Berne and Brussels are still gridlocked over how to implement a 2014 Swiss referendum for immigration quotas that would violate a bilateral pact guaranteeing freedom of movement for E.U. workers.
The bid to seal an agreement has been stalled by E.U. member Britain’s similar demand to limit immigration from within the EU, making it hard for the E.U. to offer a preferential deal for Switzerland before it has settled matters with Britain.
With just over a year left before the quotas must come into effect, Swiss leaders have now taken the most dramatic move yet in the negotiations.
This Reuters news item, filed from Zurich, showed up on their Internet site at 2:42 p.m. on Friday afternoon EST—and it’s another contribution from Patricia Caulfield.
The world has now two very dangerous flash points to WW3, Ukraine and Syria, and the two pundits discuss how all the major players are responding to them. Ukraine is blockading the Crimea of freight and energy, and worse the latest independently verified reports are that Kiev is moving major armour and artillery to the Donbass border. Shelling there is commencing. Cohen confirms that this was his worry mentioned some weeks ago, and now in addition fears that Odessa governor, Mikheil Saakashvili, a Washington plant, may be its choice for the next president of Ukraine. If this happens Saakashvili will likely get along very well with Right Sector elements that should be increasingly in control of the Kiev government.
It is now clear to the E.U. that Obama’s insistence on an American led coalition against ISIS and that Assad must go, is a non starter, as the Coalition members know how vital the Syrian army is to defeating ISIS. Some of this is even perceived in the U.S. political arena as a few of the GOP candidates are showing some support for Putin’s Coalition in Syria; others, too many, would have the U.S. immediately at war with Russia – supported by most of the MSM with anti-Russian editorials. The failings of NATO are now verified with Turkey’s shooting down of the Russian jet, and NATO is now subsequently weakened with Putin’s position correspondingly strengthened. Cohen is now encouraged that the E.U. sanctions against Russia may not long continue.
There have been many changes this week. One can now see that NATO is verified as an unreliable “security” force for Europe (and further isolating Washington); the Coalition in Syria has been tested (by Turkey) and is firmly behind Putin; the military forces have been augmented both by Putin and the E.U. partners, and there is a growing appreciation that Russian technology is equal to, if not superior in some areas to that of the West. As always here is much more to hear in the broadcast concerning all of these events.
This 40 minute audio interview falls into the absolute must listen category for any serious student of the New Great Game. I thank Ken Hurt for sending me the link on Wednesday, but special thanks goes out to Larry Galearis for providing the above executive summary.
You know the country has really gone to the dogs when Washington’s main allies in its war on Syria are the two biggest terrorist incubators on the planet. I’m talking about Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both of which are run by fanatical Islamic zealots devoted to spreading violent jihad to the four corners of the earth. Not that the US doesn’t have blood on its hands too. It does, but that’s beside the point.
The point is that if you’re trying to sell your fake war on terror to the public, then you might want to think twice about lining up with Grand Sultan Erdogan and King Chop-Chop of Riyadh. The optics alone should have sent the White House PR team running for cover. I mean, couldn’t they have hired squeaky-clean Iceland to join the fray just to persuade the public that the ongoing proxy war wasn’t a complete sham. Which it is.
It all goes to show that no one in the administration really gives a rip about appearances anymore. Obama is going to do what he wants to do, and if you don’t like it: Tough!
Isn’t that the message?
This commentary by Mike Whitney appeared on the counterpunch.org Internet site on Thursday—and for length and content reasons, had to wait for today’s missive. It’s courtesy of Patricia C. as well—and worth reading if you’re a serious student of the New Great Game.
“We have received additional information confirming that the oil controlled by Islamic State militants (ISIS) enters Turkish territory on an industrial scale. We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure the security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin, Paris, 11-30-15
On Monday, the remains of Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov were flown to Moscow where he was met by the Russian Minister of Defense, the Head of the Russian Airforce, family members and a full military drill team. Peshkov will be buried with honors and receive the Russian Federation’s highest award, the Medal of Valor, for his service in fighting US-backed terrorist groups in Syria. Peshkov’s Su-24 was ambushed last Tuesday by a Turkish F-16 when he allegedly drifted into Turkish airspace for 17 seconds.
The surprise attack, which was not preceded by any warning, forced the pilot to eject after which he was he was shot and killed while descending in his parachute. The anti-regime militant who claims to have killed Peshkov, is a Turkish ultra-nationalist named, Alparslan Celik, who is a leader in The Grey Wolves, a terrorist organization that has “carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.” Celik’s group of “moderate” jihadis is one of many disparate militias that are supported by both the US and Turkey in their effort to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad and splinter the country into smaller parts.
This is another commentary from Mike Whitney. This one appeared on the counterpunch.org website on Tuesday—and it’s worth reading as well. I thank Roy Stephens for this one.
Russia’s air force flew 431 sorties and hit 1,458 “terrorist targets” in Syria in the week of Nov. 26 – Dec. 4, Russian news agencies quoted the Russian Defence Ministry as saying on Friday.
Russian jets hit targets in Syria’s Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor provinces, the ministry said, according to the agencies.
This tiny 2-paragraph Reuters article was filed from Moscow—and was posted on their website at 11:15 a.m. EST yesterday morning. I thank Patricia for another offering in today’s column.
OPEC members failed to agree an oil production ceiling on Friday at a meeting that ended in acrimony, after Iran said it would not consider any production curbs until it restores output scaled back for years under Western sanctions.
Friday’s developments set up the fractious cartel for more price wars in an already heavily oversupplied market.
Oil prices have more than halved over the past 18 months to a fraction of what most OPEC members need to balance their budgets. Brent oil futures fell by 1 percent on Friday to trade around $43, only a few dollars off a six year low.
Banks such as Goldman Sachs predict they could fall further to as low as $20 per barrel as the world produces more oil than it consumes and runs out of capacity to store the excess.
This Reuters article, filed from Vienna, appeared on their Internet site at 9:27 p.m. on Friday evening EST—and it has obviously been revised since it was first posted, because Patricia Caulfield e-mailed it to me at 2:42 p.m. EST yesterday afternoon.
The U.S. is transfixed by its multibillion-dollar electoral circus. The European Union is paralyzed by austerity, fear of refugees, and now all-out jihad in the streets of Paris. So the West might be excused if it’s barely caught the echoes of a Chinese version of Roy Orbison’s “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” And that new Chinese dream even comes with a road map.
The crooner is President Xi Jinping and that road map is the ambitious, recently unveiled 13th Five-Year-Plan, or in the pop-video version, the Shisanwu. After years of explosive economic expansion, it sanctifies the country’s lower “new normal” gross domestic product growth rate of 6.5% a year through at least 2020.
It also sanctifies an updated economic formula for the country: out with a model based on low-wage manufacturing of export goods and in with the shock of the new, namely, a Chinese version of the third industrial revolution. And while China’s leadership is focused on creating a middle-class future powered by a consumer economy, its president is telling whoever is willing to listen that, despite the fears of the Obama administration and of some of the country’s neighbors, there’s no reason for war ever to be on the agenda for the U.S. and China.
Given the alarm in Washington about what is touted as a Beijing quietly pursuing expansionism in the South China Sea, Xi has been remarkably blunt on the subject of late. Neither Beijing nor Washington, he insists, should be caught in the Thucydides trap, the belief that a rising power and the ruling imperial power of the planet are condemned to go to war with each other sooner or later.
This longish commentary by Pepe showed up on thesaker.is website last Sunday—and for obvious content and length reasons, had to await as spot in my Saturday column. I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out.
Never before in history have all the governments of the world laid down the foundation for the perfect economic storm. And in this just-released presentation from Mike Maloney, you’ll discover why we can not avoid it. It was recorded LIVE at the 2015 Silver Summit. And it’s loaded with new research that proves a financial crisis of epic proportions is headed straight toward us.
As you would expect from Mike, it’s all laid out in eye-opening charts everyone can understand. This talk comes on the 10-year anniversary of Mike’s uncanny 2005 Silver Summit appearance where he made several stunningly accurate predictions. They were unpopular at the time but many have already come to pass. Back then, he said the real estate bubble would burst. And it would cause a tsunami of foreclosures transmitting a crisis around the world instantly through derivatives. This was two years BEFORE Ben Bernanke even admitted there was any kind of housing bubble. And it happened.
Mike also said stocks would crash. They did 3 years later. And he said that these events would trigger deflation. But that Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve at the time, would do everything in his power to prevent that. He said Bernanke would re-inflate stocks, bonds, and real estate with an unprecedented amount of money printing. This also happened. Now, Mike reveals what’s coming next. And it could catch 99% of all investors off guard.
This 43:30 minute youtube.com video presentation was something I sat through live at the Silver Summit in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago—and it’s definitely worth watching. I got it from my good friend Dan Rubock, Mike’s right-hand guy on Tuesday. But for obvious reasons it had to wait for today’s column.
A headline from Friday’s Wall Street Journal: “Crowded Trades Collapse: U.S. stocks, bonds and the dollar all tumble as popular trading positions are hit by the ECB.” And Friday evening from the WSJ: “Macro Hedge Funds Caught Off Guard by ECB’s Move.”
I’m sticking with the view that unstable markets will continue to pressure de-risking and de-leveraging. With currencies moving 3% in a session and the bond market succumbing as well to wild volatility, it seems obvious that players will have to respond by ratcheting down risk and leverage. It remains a self-destructive backdrop with way too much “money” chasing limited securities market opportunities. Popular trades now come with unfavorable risk versus reward.
I believe global markets are back in high-risk territory, and fragilities wouldn’t be as extreme if global policymakers had allowed an overdue market adjustment to run its course back in August. Markets rallied on notions of QE forever, while the fundamental backdrop continued to deteriorate. The commodities rout has worsened. Brazil has taken a turn for the worse. Meanwhile, fragilities continue to fester in China. Efforts to stabilize a faltering Chinese stock market Bubble have stoked even greater bond market excess. Authorities are cracking down hard on the securities industry with troubling ramifications for faltering financial and economic Bubbles. Here at home, an acutely imbalanced economy beckons for (an inauspicious) “lift off.” The geopolitical backdrop turns more alarming by the week. And now, with only about four weeks left in the year, inflated confidence in global central bankers has sprung a leak.
This week’s Credit Bubble Bulletin certainly falls into the must read category, at least for me—and I found it on his website just before midnight Denver time last night.
One of the buzz words going around at the moment re. Janet ‘will-she-won’t- she’ Yellen and the FOMC voting to start raising Fed interest rates is ‘normalization’. But whatever the Fed does it is no way going to be ‘normalization’ in any realistic sense of the word relative to past ‘normal’ interest rate patterns. The general consensus at the Mines & Money conference in London this past week was that rate rises would almost certainly begin this month as Yellen and the FOMC have talked themselves into a position where not to do so would destroy any remaining credibility that the Fed may actually have brought things under control – but ‘normalization’ – perhaps not..
Let’s face it, interest rate normalization is not raising rates by 25 basis points but more like instigating the start of a raising program which will see them rise to 2.5% or higher and there looks to be no way the U.S. economy is strong enough to handle this even over a couple of years. Indeed another one of the prevailing thoughts at the Mines & Money conference from some very savvy analysts and commentators was that even if the Fed does raise rates by as little as 25 basis points now, it will likely have to backtrack and bring them down again within the next six months AND then instigate a QE4 on top of that. The stock markets are weak and potentially on a hair trigger for a massive collapse. Q3 earnings figures from major companies were mostly pretty dire and the strong dollar is eating into exports, while making imports ever less costly. Government CPI and unemployment stats are largely a farce. The market is being held up by sentiment alone – certainly not by fundamentals. And sentiment can change overnight, sometimes on a seemingly innocuous piece of news.
The gold price performance today, and that of the general equity markets, ahead of any Fed announcement has been perhaps enlightening. At the time of writing gold has risen about $30 above its recent lows. Suddenly what had seemed a foregone conclusion that the Fed would start raising rates this month has perhaps run into doubt. While we await the decision we still feel the Fed is too far down the line not to raise, although we would see the possibility of a smaller rise being implemented. In some ways the Fed could be damned if it does raise rates, but perhaps even more damned if it doesn’t. A 10 basis point increase would be an uneasy compromise, but has to be a possibility. However it would be seen as a sign of weakness.
This commentary by Lawrie put in an appearance on his own website—lawrieongold.com—and I thank Patricia Caulfield for her final contribution to today’s column. It’s worth reading.
China’s Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals continue strong with another 49 tonnes taken out in the week ended November 27th bringing the year to date total to just over 2,362 tonnes. For comparison the previous full year record total achieved in 2013 has already been exceeded by around 180 tonnes, with just over a month to go until this year end. We are downgrading our full year forecast to 2,580 tonnes from the previous 2,600 tonnes plus, but this would still be 18% higher than the previous record – and around 23% higher than last year’s total withdrawal figure.
Much is made in the West of the downturn in the Chinese economy – but this is a reduction in percentage growth – not a recession. Sometimes the two seem to be confused by the media. The Chinese middle classes are continuing to grow and employment is being pushed in the government’s economic reboot to the services and domestic consumption sectors which tend to pay higher wages than manufacturing and thus the disposable wealth within this ever growing population segment is growing rather than diminishing.
As one of the speakers at this week’s Mines & Money conference in London pointed out, for thousands of years China and India were the world’s richest countries – a position they mostly lost in the 19th and 20th centuries. They are becoming so again – a return to the status quo ante perhaps – and with their huge inherent disposition to accumulate gold (which has served their people well over the centuries as a store of wealth and protector against economic downturns and inflation) we can only see the gold acquisition trend continuing to build.
Here’s another commentary by Lawrie. This one appeared on the Sharps Pixley website yesterday sometime. It’s worth reading if you have the time.
The Chinese Central Bank is also reportedly buying gold at a rate of around 14-16 tonnes a month. According to Jansen this gold does not come from SGE vaults so if all these figures are correct (and if anything we believe China more likely understates its gold data than overstate it), China is actually importing around 1,700 tonnes of gold for domestic supply, financial transactions and into central bank reserves. This compares with global new mined gold supply of around 2,700 tonnes if one excludes the Chinese gold output which is already in the country. So China and India (which some reports say will import 1,000 tonnes this year (not including smuggled gold which could be substantial too) between them could well be tying up the world’s total new mined gold supply leaving nothing for anyone else. Failing a big gold price increase, new mined gold output looks to be beginning to turn down too, thus exacerbating the position.
Thus it shouldn’t be too surprising that the tonnages of eligible gold stocks on COMEX and non-attributable physical gold in London’s gold vaults – as pointed out by a couple of speakers at the Mines & Money conference this week – is declining rapidly and at the current rate could be extremely low (close to zero) by the end of 2016. If China’s rate of take-up continues to rise and India keeps importing gold at the current rate the crunch day for physical gold availability is approaching rapidly. Failing a return to central bank sales (and at the moment the reverse is happening) where do we go from there? The implications for the price are enormous. 2016 could thus well be the inflection year when physical gold availability from all sources and demand converge, and cross over, with enormous implications for the gold price. Now maybe we are out with our timing, but the ‘trend should be your friend’ and the available supply trend looks to be declining while the demand trend is rising.
This is another commentary from Lawrie that was posted on the Sharps Pixley website yesterday—and this one certainly falls into the must read category.
The richest temple in the world could soon come to the rescue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to recycle tonnes of idle gold and cut economy-hurting imports.
The gold monetisation scheme, aimed at persuading individuals, institutions and rich temples to deposit some of their gold stash with banks to recycle, has only attracted about one kg in a month out of a total hoard of over 20,000 tonnes.
But the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, popularly known as the Tirupati Temp ..
This Reuters article, filed from New Delhi, was picked up by the Economic Times of India at 9:05 p.m. IST on their Friday evening—and I thank Kathmandu reader Nitin Agrawal for passing it around late last night.
It is an artifact which traditionally denotes the weighty responsibility of office and the recognition bestowed upon its holder by a town’s citizens.
But somebody appears to have shown less than due respect for one particular mayoral chain of office.
The historic gold chain worn by generations of mayors in the Kent town of Gillingham is thought to have shrunk to half its original size as a result of suspected pilfering.
Several valuable links from the gold chain have gone missing, as well as six of the 11 gold shields bearing the names of town’s former mayors. The letters ‘A’ and ‘M’ from Gillingham, each of which is worth thousands of pounds, have also vanished.
This very interesting gold-related news item was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 5:28 p.m. GMT on their Friday afternoon—and I found it in a GATA release yesterday evening.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
Here are four more photos from around San Francisco when I was at the Silver Summit two weeks ago. The first two are photos of a juvenile California gull that I took on Fisherman’s Wharf. They have little fear of humans—and I was less than four meters away when I took the first shot. The second is a juvenile as it flew overhead. Because of the bright background, it looked totally black on the screen on the back of my camera, but because I shoot in the RAW format, I was able to ‘retake’ the photo once I downloaded it into Canon’s Digital Picture Processor on my home computer. I opened up the picture by two ‘f’ stops—and the opaque became the translucent right before my eyes. I was amazed at the result. The ‘double-click to enlarge‘ feature brings this shots up to full-screen size—and they’re worth it.
These two 24K gold figurines were sitting in the window of a jewellery shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown—and I just took the photos through the glass. The sitting Buddha is just under 6″/15cm tall—and sheep is 3 and half inches long by 2 inches and change high—8.75 cm x 7.30 cm. I cropped the weight information out of the Buddha, which was a 31.5 grams, a hair over 1 troy ounce—but left it in for the sheep. You can see that despite its size, it doesn’t weight much—0.369 tael. The weight in grams on the tag says 13.811—a considerable bit under half a troy ounce. So although it sure looks pretty, it’s basically a bit more than paper thick—and I presume that’s why it comes in a sealed case. The same goes for the Buddha. The ‘click to enlarge‘ feature works wonders here as well.
We are all captive to our own life experiences. I admit to being captive to what I’ve learned in studying the data from the COMEX silver market compiled by the federal regulator, the CFTC. I know most peoples’ eyes glaze over when confronted with the statistics in the Commitments of Traders Report; but having studied this report for more than 30 years, the data explains past and prospective price movements to me. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t continue to rely on it.
Recent actual and predicted changes in this report tells me we are likely to witness an impressive rally in silver that could easily turn into the big rally I have long expected. These changes are directly related to the recent decline in silver for more than a month has only occurred because the key commercial traders in COMEX silver, especially JPMorgan, have rigged prices lower to get other traders to sell so that the commercials could buy. While this has occurred regularly over the years and has always resulted in silver price rallies; there are aspects about this most recent decline that are special, like the persistent day after day price declines. It tells me that the rally this time may be much more dramatic that previous setups.
My conclusion is that not only is silver undervalued on a fundamental basis, recent trading activity on the COMEX points to it being at a market bottom as well. The current price of silver is wrong and will only be made right at some much higher price level. I know I have thrown caution to the wind and now own more silver than I ever have and would suggest you study the matter and consider doing the same. — Silver analyst Ted Butler: 02 December 2015
Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ comes from an American rock band that had their heyday in the 1970s, but they’re still around even today—and of course their greatest hits will live forever—and there’s one linked here.
Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is a wonderful work for string orchestra—and I never tire of it. Norway’s Edvard Grieg is one of my favourite classical composers—and right up there with his world famous piano concerto and the incidental music from Peer Gynt—is his Holberg Suite, Op. 40 which he composed in 1884. It was originally written for piano, but a year later it was adapted for string orchestra. Good recordings of the entire work are pretty scarce on youtube.com, but I managed to find one—and it’s linked here.
All four precious metals blasted through their respective 20-day moving averages yesterday—and on monstrous volume as well. They would have all kept right on going in a short-covering rally of biblical proportions if allowed to run free, but the HFT boyz and their algorithms were there to make sure that things didn’t get out hand.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities—and I’ve replaced the 200-day moving averages with their respective 20-day moving averages, so you can see it for yourself.
In our daily chat on the phone, Ted was hoping—as was I—that the short covering rally did not involve the Big 4 traders going short—and that it was the raptors [the Commercial traders other than the Big 8] that were selling part of their gargantuan long position for fun, big profits—and price management purposes. Ted has always said that the big banks don’t normally show up to cap prices until the end of the rally when the raptors can no longer keep a lid on prices by their long-selling alone. He’s always been right about this—and I’m sure hoping he’s right about it this time as well.
However, we won’t know for sure until next Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report—and with the Tuesday cut-off for that report still two business days away, anything can happen between now and then—and probably will.
So, is the start of the ‘big one’—especially in silver? I don’t know for sure, but as I’ve been saying all week, the table is certainly set for it—and yesterday’s COT Report and companion Bank Participation Report adds to that belief. But we’ve been this far before—but not quite this far before—and been disappointed in the past, so I’ll reserve judgement until later.
But, having said all that, I could certainly put with a couple of more trading months that are full of days like we had on Friday.
I’ve always been of the belief that when the big rally starts, it won’t happen in a news vacuum, as the powers-that-be that control such things will want to be able to point to a world event [or events] of some sort that caused it all, because the last thing they’ll want is the bright light shining on them, as the Big 6 commodities in general—and the four precious metals in particular—blast skyward.
There are certainly enough black swans out there on the political and military stages in both the Middle East—and now in the Ukraine—to set it off. If or when it does occur, I doubt very much that it will be accidental.
I said in my column last Saturday that, “mentally I have my fingers in my ears“—and I still feel that way this Saturday.
I’m done for the day—and the week—and I’ll see you here on Tuesday.