The gold price began to rally as soon as trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Thursday evening -- and most of the gains that mattered in Far East and morning trading in London, were in by shortly before 9 a.m. China Standard Time on their Friday morning. By the COMEX open, gold was up only another few dollars from there. The price spiked up a bit at that point, but obviously wasn't allowed to get much higher -- and the high tick of the day came a few minutes after the afternoon gold fix in London. After that, the price didn't do much, or wasn't allowed to do much for the remainder of the Friday session in New York.
The low and high ticks in gold were reported by the CME Group as $1,328.90 and $1,350.40 in the April contract.
Gold was closed yesterday at $1,346.80 spot, up $18.20 from Thursday. Not surprisingly, net volume was very heavy at 297,000 contacts -- and considering that the April delivery month is coming up hard for gold, roll-over/switch volume was very heavy as well, at something under 138,000 contracts.
The silver price rallied quietly until around 11 a.m. CST on their Friday morning -- and then chopped mostly sideways until the COMEX open. There, it got the same treatment as gold until the high tick was placed a few minutes after 10 a.m. in New York. It was sold off that high by shortly before noon EDT -- and didn't do a lot after that.
The low and highs in the precious metal were recorded as $16.375 and $16.675 in the May contract.
Silver was closed on Friday afternoon in New York at $16.53 spot, up 18.5 cents from Thursday -- and kept carefully below both its 50 and 200-day moving averages throughout the entire New York trading session. Net volume was pretty heavy at around 84,500 contracts -- and roll-over/switch volume was about 12,800 contracts on top of that.
The platinum price chopped generally higher until around 8 a.m. CET in Zurich. It didn't do much until it popped in price by a few dollars at the COMEX open as well. But JPMorgan et al appeared at that juncture -- and sold the price lower until shortly after 1 p.m. EDT -- and it didn't do much after that. 'Da boyz' closed this precious metal at unchanged on the day...$947 spot...and back below its 200-day moving average for the fifth day in a row.
Palladium was up 5 dollars by 8 a.m. CET in Zurich, but it was sold lower by ten bucks going into the Zurich open an hour or so later. It chopped quietly higher until its tiny rally at 8:30 a.m. in New York was also capped --and it was sold quietly lower right into the 5:00 p.m. EDT close. Palladium finished the day at $970 spot, down 10 dollars from Thursday's close -- and on its low tick of the day.
The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 89.82 -- and dropped 15 basis points the moment that trading began at 6:00 p.m. EDT a few minutes later. It continued to chop quietly lower from there until a few minutes after 3 p.m. China Standard Time on their Friday afternoon. A sizzler of a 'rally' began at that point, which ran out of gas right at the London open less than an hour later -- and after trading mostly sideways for three hours or so after that, began to head lower. The 89.40 low tick was set around 2:45 p.m. EDT in New York -- and it chopped a bit higher into the close from there. The dollar index finished the Friday session at 89.48 -- and down 34 basis points from Thursday.
And here's the 5-year U.S. dollar index chart, so you can see just how far the index has yet to fall to get back to 'normal'. But I have the feeling that the new 'normal' will be far lower than that.
The gold shares gapped up about 3 percent at the open -- and proceeded to crawl higher from there until shortly before 2 p.m. EDT. They began to sag a bit, before getting kicked downstairs a bit more in the last fifteen minutes of trading in New York. The HUI closed higher by 3.04 percent.
The silver equities jumped up about 2 percent at the open -- and their respective highs came around 11:25 a.m. in New York trading. They didn't do much after that but, like their golden brethren, got sold off a bit in the last fifteen minutes of trading. Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed higher by 2.48 percent. Click to enlarge if necessary.
And here's Nick's 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart. Click to enlarge as well.
Here are the usual charts from Nick that show what's been happening for the week, month-to-date -- and year-to-date. The first one shows the changes in gold, silver, platinum and palladium for the past trading week, in both percent and dollar and cents terms, as of their Friday closes in New York - along with the changes in the HUI and the Silver 7 Index.
Here's the weekly chart -- and it's nice to see the precious metal equities close in positive territory. Click to enlarge.
And here's the month-to-date chart -- and the silver equities are definitely outperforming. Even the gold shares have held their own to a certain extent. Click to enlarge.
However, the year-to-date graph is somewhat uglier -- and the gold shares continue to underperform badly. But it's obvious that the silver equities are still under quiet accumulation. Click to enlarge as well.
As I said last week -- and the week before, we're much closer to the end of this engineered price decline than we are the beginning, with the only negative factor still being gold's 200-day moving average, which may no longer be a factor at the moment. But it's unwise to underestimate the treachery of the powers-that-be.
The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and only 1 silver contract was posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved gold depositories on Tuesday. ADM issued -- and JPMorgan stopped -- and both transactions involved their respective client accounts. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.
The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in March declined by 3 contracts, leaving 477 still open. Thursday's Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold contracts were actually posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 3 more gold contracts were removed from the March delivery month by mutual agreement between the short/issuers and long/stoppers involved. Silver o.i. in March fell by 30 contracts, leaving 80 still around, minus the 1 contract mentioned in the previous paragraph. Yesterday's Daily Delivery Report showed that 36 contracts were actually posted for delivery today, so that means that 36-30=6 more silver contracts just got added to March. The demand for physical metal is not going away, even as the delivery month winds down.
There are only three more days left in March for all of these remaining silver and gold contracts to get delivered -- and I'll be particularly interested in who the short/issuer is in gold. The prime suspect for me would be HSBC USA. But why they're waiting until almost the last day of the month, is still a mystery.
There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday, but an authorized participant took out 1,601,886 troy ounces of silver from SLV. And regardless of the reason for its withdrawal, it's a given that JPMorgan owns it all now.
There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.
Month-to-date the mint has sold 3,500 troy ounces of gold eagles -- zero 1-ounce 24K gold buffaloes -- and 630,000 silver eagles. There is no retail demand at the moment -- and there hasn't been since JPMorgan left the building well over a year ago.
For the third day in a row, there was no in/out movement in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast.
It was busier in silver, as 1,297,395 troy ounces were received -- and only 106,790 troy ounces were shipped out the door on Thursday. Of the amount received, there was 179,950 troy ounces left at Brink's, Inc. A small truck load...538,269 troy ounces was left at JPMorgan -- and a full truck...579,176 troy ounces...was dropped off at Scotiabank. In the 'out' category, there was 81,753 troy ounces shipped out of Scotiabank -- and the remaining 25,036 troy ounces was shipped out of Delaware. A link to this activity is here.
JPMorgan's silver stash is now at another new record high...139.12 million troy ounces.
It was also pretty busy over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday. They reported receiving 5,160 of them -- and shipped out another 6,200. As per usual, all of this activity was at Brink's, Inc. -- and another link to it is here.
Here are three charts that Nick passed around on Thursday evening that had to wait for today's column. The first shows total and net Swiss imports and exports updated with February's data. During that month they imported 79.62 tonnes -- and exported 128.26 tonnes. Click to enlarge.
These next two charts shows the countries of origin of all their imports -- and the second, the list of countries that received gold from Switzerland during February. Click to enlarge for both charts.
Lawrie Williams has a story about this in the Critical Reads section.
The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday was right on the money in gold as far as Ted estimates were concerned, but in silver the decline in the Commercial net short position exceeded even his most bullish expectations. Considering the very modest price decline in silver during the reporting week, I thought his "5,000 to 10,000 contract improvement" estimate to be wildly optimistic. How wrong I was!
In silver, the Commercial net short position dropped by an eye-watering 15,564 contracts, or 77.8 million troy ounces of paper silver. Wow!
They arrived at that number by increasing their long position by 8,718 contracts -- and they also covered 6,846 short positions. The sum of those two numbers is the change for the reporting week.
Ted said that the Big 4 traders, read JPMorgan, reduced their short position by around 4,000 contracts. It was probably more than that, because the large Managed Money trader that currently inhabits the Big 4 category, most likely increased their short position even more during the reporting week, so that fact masks the actual improvement by JPM. On the other hand, the '5 through 8' large traders actually increased their short position by about 1,800 contracts during the reporting week. The reason for that is pretty simple as well. The short positions of one or two of the other Managed Money traders are now so large, that they have now invaded the '5 through 8' category -- and that also masks the fact that the usual four Commercial traders that normally inhabit that space, decreased their short positions during the reporting week as well. But it was Ted's raptors, the 38-odd small Commercial traders other than the Big 8 that were the most active last week, as they added approximately 21,000 contracts to their long position, which is new record according to Ted.
Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was all Managed Money traders -- and much more, as they not only reduced their long position by 5,666 contracts, but added a knee-wobbling 13,752 contracts to their now-new-record short position. It's the sum of those two numbers...19,418 contracts...that was their change for the reporting week. The difference between that number -- and the Commercial net short position...19,418 minus 15,564 equals 3,854 contracts...was made up entirely by the traders in the 'Other Reportables' category, as the 'Nonreportable'/small traders did almost nothing during the reporting week just past.
Here's a snip from the Disaggregated COT Report, so you can see the changes in these three categories for yourself. Click to enlarge.
The Commercial net short position in silver is now down to an inconsequential 3,709 contracts, or 18.5 million troy ounces. I have never seen a Commercial net short position in silver this low...ever. Ted, as he usually does, gave the entire 4,000 contract improvement in the Big 4 category to JPMorgan, which brings their short position down to around the 21,000 contract mark -- and I would suspect that it's less than that -- and maybe a lot less than that, for the reason I've already stated. Plus they may have also improved their short position since the Tuesday cut-off as well -- and I know that Ted will have something to say about all this in his weekly commentary this afternoon.
Here's the 3-year COT chart for silver -- and it's certainly one for the record books. Click to enlarge.
I must admit that I have no superlatives left to describe how white-hot bullish the current set-up is in silver. I never thought I'd live to see numbers such as these. The fact that 'da boyz' have managed to keep silver below its 50 and 200-day moving averages since the Tuesday cut-off increases the likelihood that the Managed Money traders may be even more short now than this report indicates...according to Ted. However, if that turns out not to be the case, any deterioration since the cut-off would be minimal.
In gold, the commercial net short position declined by 21,540 contracts, or 2.15 million troy ounces of paper gold.
They arrived at that number by adding 11,703 contracts to their long positions -- and they also reduced their short position by 9,837 contracts. The sum of those two number is the change for the reporting week.
The surprise here was that the Big 4 traders only reduced their short position by approximately 800 contracts -- and the '5 through 8' large traders by only about 2,900 contracts. Once again it was Ted's super-aggressive raptors, the 43-odd small commercial traders other than the Big 8, that did all the 'work' during the reporting week, as they added a chunky 17,800 contracts to their long position. Ted is of the opinion that there are no Managed Money traders with a big enough short position to be included anywhere in the Big 8 category, as they are net long in the COMEX futures market in gold.
Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was almost all Managed Money traders, plus a bit more, as they reduced their long position by 14,185 contracts, plus they added 9,873 short contracts -- and the sum of those two numbers...24,058 contracts...was their change for the reporting week. The difference between that number -- and the commercial net short position...24,058 minus 21,540 equals 2,518 contracts...was made up entirely by the 'Other Reportables' category, as they went long, plus they reduced their short position as well. Surprisingly enough, the 'Nonreportable'/small traders followed the lead of the Managed Money traders...selling long positions, plus adding to their short position. The 'Other Reportables' gobbled up those contracts as well.
Here's the snip from the Disaggregated COT Report for gold, so you can see what I was describing in the previous paragraph. Click to enlarge.
The commercial net short position, as of Tuesday's cut-off, is down to the 16.72 million troy ounce mark -- and has deteriorated substantially since the Tuesday cut-off, as gold's 50-day moving average has been decisively penetrated to the upside since then. The 200-day moving average is now a long way down -- and it may turn out that it won't be a factor for a while. But, as Ted pointed out on the phone yesterday, you can never put anything past these crooks.
Here's the 3-year COT chart for gold -- and there is obvious improvement, but that has all vanished -- and then some since the Tuesday cut-off. Click to enlarge.
With silver beyond 'locked and loaded', I'm still wondering how this gold thingy is going to play out. 'Da boyz' had all kinds of opportunities in March to blast the gold price to the down side -- and below its 200-day moving average, but passed on every one. It's a real dichotomy -- and I'm not prepared to speculate how it will all turn out, because I just don't know.
Here's Nick Laird's "Days to Cover" chart updated with yesterday's COT data for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday. It shows the days of world production that it would take to cover the short positions of the Big 4 - and Big '5 through 8' traders in each physically traded commodity on the COMEX. These are the same Big 4 and '5 through 8' traders discussed in the COT Report above. Click to enlarge.
For the current reporting week, the Big 4 are short 116 days of world silver production-and the '5 through 8' large traders are short an additional 42 days of world silver production-for a total of 158 days, which is a bit over five months of world silver production, or about 383.9 million troy ounces of paper silver held short by the Big 8. [In the COT Report last week, the Big 8 were short 163 days of world silver production.]
In the COT Report above, the Commercial net short position in silver was reported as 18.5 million troy ounces. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the short position of the Big 8 traders is 383.9 million troy ounces. The short position of the Big 8 traders is larger than the total Commercial net short position by a chunky 383.9 minus 18.5 = 365.4 million troy ounces. The reason for the difference in those numbers is that Ted's raptors, the 38-odd small commercial traders other than the Big 8, are long that amount, which is bloody ridiculous.
As I also stated in the above COT Report analysis, Ted pegs JPMorgan's short position at about 21,000 contracts, which is down 4,000 contacts from the prior reporting week, or around 105 million troy ounces, down 20 million ounces from what they were short in last week's COT Report. 105 million ounces works out to around 43 days of world silver production that JPMorgan is short. That's compared to the 158 days that the Big 8 are short in total. JPM holds about 27 percent of the entire short position held by the Big 8 traders.
And as I mentioned in my discussion on silver in the above COT Report, it's highly likely that JPMorgan's short position is actually less than this -- and possibly by a material amount.
With Scotiabank now publicly admitting that they couldn't find a sucker to buy ScotiaMocatta, I would suspect that they will continue to exit their short positions in both gold and silver as quickly as they can -- and if they can. It certainly doesn't appear that they've been doing much in that regard lately, except maybe pick away at it quietly. Any major move by them to cover, would show up in the price immediately -- and Jamie Dimon would not be amused.
As I say every week in this spot, JPMorgan has been forced by circumstance to pick up Scotiabank's trading/price management duties in silver and gold. So JPMorgan is by far the No. 1 silver short on Planet Earth -- and will obviously remain in that position until this price management scheme is brought to an end. Of course they have about 700 million troy ounces of physical silver stashed away to cover that, so they are in no danger. That can't be said of the remaining Big 7, unless JPMorgan plans to bail out some, or all of them.
With JPMorgan short about 43 days of world silver production, that leaves the other three traders in the Big 4 category short 116-43=73 days of world silver production divided up between them...a bit over 24 days of world silver production each. That's only down one day from last week's COT Report [And not to be forgotten, is that one of those traders is the big Managed Money short that's still 'just visiting' in this category.] And it's a given that those 73 days aren't divided up equally between the remaining Big 3.
The four traders in the '5 through 8' category are short 42 days of world silver production in total, about 10.5 days of world silver production each, which is up one full day from what each was short in last week's COT Report. That's entirely due to the fact that one or two Managed Money traders now have a big enough short position to have invaded the spot[s] normally held by the Commercial traders. If you remember, the 4 large traders in the '5 through 8' traders in silver added about 1,900 contracts to their short position during the reporting week. That's 9.50 million troy ounces, or 3.91 days of world silver production...about one full day each.
I would suspect, based on these numbers, that Scotiabank is still a member of the Big 4 Commercial shorts, but in third of fourth spot at the moment.
The Big 8 commercial traders are short 35.6 percent of the entire open interest in silver in the COMEX futures market, which is down a very decent amount from the 39.5 percent they were short in last week's COT Report. Once whatever market-neutral spread trades are subtracted out, that percentage would be something over 40 percent. In gold, it's now 42.0 percent of the total COMEX open interest that the Big 8 are short, down a bit from the 44.2 percent they were short in last week's report -- and a bit over 45 percent once the market-neutral spread trades are subtracted out.
In gold, the Big 4 are short 62 days of world gold production, which is down 1 day from what they were short last week -- and the '5 through 8' are short another 20 days of world production, which is unchanged from what they were short the prior week, for a total of 82 days of world gold production held short by the Big 8 -- which is down 1 day from the 83 days they were short in last week's report. Based on these numbers, the Big 4 in gold hold about 75 percent of the total short position held by the Big 8...which is down 1 percent point from last week's COT Report.
The "concentrated short position within a concentrated short position" in silver, platinum and palladium held by the Big 4 commercial traders are 73, 74 and 80 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8. Silver is down 3 percent points from the previous week's COT Report, but platinum is up two percentage points from last week's COT Report -- and palladium is up 1 percentage point. Palladium is back at its record high once again.
I have an average number of stories for you today, including the newest Cohen/Batchelor interview.
After a surprise rebound in existing home sales (even as condo sales slumped), new home sales were expected to rebound in Feb from their 7.8% plunge in January, but grossly disappointed, dropping 0.6% MoM - the 3rd monthly drop in a row.
This is the first time new home sales declined for 3 straight months since Q1 2014.
New home sales are up just 0.5% YoY...
Bloomberg notes that steady hiring and elevated consumer confidence are expected to support demand for housing, but borrowing costs are picking up and property-price appreciation continues to outpace wage growth. That's crimping affordability, especially for younger residents and first-time buyers.
This rather brief 4-chart Zero Hedge news item put in an appearance on their Internet site at 10:09 a.m. on Friday morning EDT -- and I thank Brad Robertson for passing it along. Another link to it is here.
Jerome Powell faces an extraordinary challenge as Fed Chairman. If he does not move quickly and aggressively to flood the global financial system with liquidity upon the onset of financial crisis, history books will surely have him tarred and feathered. Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen hold responsibility for history's greatest Bubble. Yet it will be on Powell's watch when the Fed faces the harsh consequences. In the end, he'll be left with little alternative than more QE and zero rates - surely deemed too little too late in hindsight. Winless.
There's a general complacency deeply embedded in U.S. financial markets. No toxic securities Bubble at the brink. There is no Lehman vulnerable to a run and swift collapse. Interestingly, however, from the global financial markets Bubble perspective, there is Deutsche Bank and its double-digit stock decline this week. It seems to be the first place global players look when risk begins to be an issue, financial conditions start to tighten and risk premiums escalate. DB operates, after all, in the core of global derivatives markets and securities finance.
Derivatives lurk at the epicenter of global financial crisis risk. It's right here where global central bank policies have fomented the greatest distortions and associated fragilities. The perception - the implied guarantees - of liquid and continuous markets. And when DB's stock is sinking (down 13%) and its CDS is blowing out (33bps this week!), then the issue of counterparty risk and derivative market dislocation begins to creep into market psychology (and positioning).
Greed to Fear. "Risk On" shifting to "Risk Off." This week had the feel of de-risking/de-leveraging dynamics gathering important momentum. This was no VIX (24.87 close) accident. This was a general widening of Credit spreads, waning liquidity and overall market instability. Dollar weakness reemerged this week, which sparked a nice safe haven bid in gold and the precious metals.
This must read Credit Bubble Bulletinwas posted on Doug's website in the wee hours of Saturday morning EDT -- and another link to it is here.
"It is becoming more obvious with each passing day that the men and the movement that broke Lyndon Johnson's authority in 1968 are out to break Richard Nixon," wrote David Broder on Oct. 8, 1969.
"The likelihood is great that they will succeed again."
A columnist for The Washington Post, Broder was no fan of Nixon.
His prediction, however, proved wrong. Nixon, with his "Silent Majority" address rallied the nation and rocked the establishment. He went on to win a 49-state victory in 1972, after which his stumbles opened the door to the establishment's revenge.
Yet, Broder's analysis was spot on. And, today, another deep state conspiracy, to break another presidency, is underway.
This worthwhile commentary by Patrick showed up on his website on Thursday -- and I found it posted on the Zero Hedge website at 6:05 p.m EDT on Friday evening. Another link to it is here.
As I wrote, if Trump appoints John Bolton National Security Adviser, prepare to die. Diana Johnstone explains why in: Bolton: As Bad As It Gets
If Trump is good at firing, it is because he is so bad at hiring.
Donald Trump came to office having made noises favorable to normalizing relations with Russia and cutting back foreign military adventures. Despite his manifest personal and professional inadequacies, that vague promise offered a glimmer of hope to a number of congenital optimists.
But to turn around U.S. foreign policy so drastically, supposing he honestly wanted to do so, a President would need a team possessing the necessary knowledge, wisdom and courage to produce and impose a coherent alternative. Trump had no team at all. He did not seem to have any idea of where to find appropriate men and women to do the job. He has flailed about, using each choice to demonstrate that the previous one was a mistake, while meanwhile the Deep State connives to destroy him for all the wrong reasons.
Now Trump has chosen as his national security advisor a man who personifies exactly what candidate Trump hinted he didn't want: a man with the reputation of being the worst war hawk in Washington. John R. Bolton is not merely hostile to North Korea, or to Iran, or to Russia, but is exorbitantly hostile to them all. Bolton is the perfect national security advisor to get the United States into war against most of the world.
Trained as a lawyer, like just about everybody in Washington, Bolton has no particular scholarly background for messing around in foreign affairs. Rather, he is the perfect denizen of the galaxy of think tanks that have essentially seized policy-making away from academia and serious diplomacy in order to satisfy rich private donors, the military industrial complex and the Israel lobby.
A psychopath in a suit. This worthwhile commentary was posted on Paul's website yesterday sometime -- and it's another contribution from Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro ordered a re-denomination of the ailing bolivar currency on Thursday, by knocking three zeroes off amid hyperinflation and a crippling economic crisis.
The measure to divide the so-called bolivar fuerte - or "strong bolivar" - currency by 1,000 would take effect from June 4, the socialist leader said. It would not have any impact on the bolivar's value.
The move illustrates the collapse of the bolivar, which has fallen 99.99 percent against the U.S. dollar on the black market since Maduro came to power in April 2013. A $100 purchase of bolivars then would now be worth just a single U.S. cent.
Critics said the currency measure was no panacea for Venezuela's economic mess and just a psychological ploy to make Venezuelans forget the extent of the hyperinflation.
This Reuters story, filed from Caracas, showed up on their Internet site at 5:04 p.m. on Thursday afternoon EDT -- and I found it on the gata.org Internet site. Another link to it is here.
Former B.C. justice minister says the reality is more people in the province support Trans Mountain pipeline than oppose it...
Is the pipeline debate starting to resolve in favour of pipelines being built and in favour of Canadians receiving full value for our energy exports? I believe it is, in part due to the realization as to just how much of the anti-pipeline campaign is foreign funded. More about that funding in a moment, but there's a new reason for finding the blatant U.S.-based interference in Canadian energy policy particularly egregious.
The U.S. organization, 350.org, loves spouting opinions about Canadian energy. Its founder and most vocal spokesperson, Bill McKibben, seems to believe we need a lot of his help in deciding how we here in Canada should manage our affairs. He unsurprisingly celebrates Canadian pipeline opposition. But what should concern all Canadians is 350.org celebrating that it helps get Canadian young people arrested. Here's a boast from its 2016 annual report: "1,000 people were trained in civil disobedience practices, and 99 youths were arrested in Ottawa protesting the pipeline."
Arrest is no laughing matter. Perhaps few if any of the arrests led to charges, but there is no guarantee of that. Criminal convictions can carry lifelong consequences. As a parent, I would have been horrified to think that my teenage children were being encouraged by foreign organizations to get themselves arrested in support of foreign campaigns to suit foreign interests.
No surprises here. The U.S. has been meddling in Canadian affairs, both foreign and domestic, since the end of WW2. Every Canadian Prime Minister since Pierre Elliot Trudeau has been owned by the U.S. deep state in Washington -- and his progeny...Justin Trudeau...is now P.M. He's fully in their embrace. His father must be spinning in his grave. This article put in an appearance on the financialpost.com Internet site at 6:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday -- and was updated six hours later. I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention -- and another link to it is here.
The global funding market crisis is getting worse and its contagion is starting to show up in assets that 'mom and pop' care about. Bank stocks are being battered...
Following bank credit risk's spike...and European High Yield risk has exploded to one-year highs...
European stress is worse than U.S. for now, as Charlie Diebel, head of rates at Aviva Investors, notes:
"The longer it [LIBOR-OIS increase] goes on, the more pronounced the effects are going to be...it complicates the efforts of policymakers because in Europe we still have QE (quantitative easing), but we have some sort of tightening coming at the same time."
And Investment Grade credit risk is soaring to six-month wides in E.U. and U.S...
Simply put, LIBOR doesn't need to blow out any more for the pain to emerge...
This worthwhile multi-chart Zero Hedge article appeared on their website at 2:45 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon -- and it comes to us courtesy of Brad Robertson. Another link to it is here.
Part 1: Putin's massive election win is a main topic for the John Batchelor Show this week. Also in John Batchelor's introduction was mention of a U.N. Security Council condemnation about the use of poison gas in Syria, and the news that Russian diplomats were leaving the U.K. by order over the alleged poison gas attack there. Cohen elaborates on what this personally means to those diplomats on both sides, but more importantly added that Trump's congratulatory phone call apparently also included mention of American concerns over Russia's new nuclear delivery systems. The Americans are now apparently willing to talk. But first for Cohen's attention was Putin's landslide win as President. The Western propaganda position is that the elections were fraudulent, but Cohen discounts the arguments for this ably. One of these topics was the position of Russian youth, those between the ages of 18 and 25, where Cohen describes the firmest voter support was found; this is the group that had literally grown up with Putin, and their understanding of what Putin did for the country during the chaos years of the 1990s is very well understood. They understand how much Putin has changed their lives. This is not the view, however, of the American MSM and the public mindset that Washington wants for Putin. They want to portray Putin as "another Stalin" and leader of a totalitarian state. Ironically the professor's final arguments against this view list some of the democratic failings that Washington and Americans are currently suffering through themselves.
Part 2: John Batchelor next intro directs the discussion back to the potential topics for discussion between Donald Trump and Putin. These include nuclear arms, Ukraine, Syria and chemical weapons, and NATO presence along Russia's borders. The Skripal gas attack incident is also sensitive and has led to outrage in Russia. But first Cohen returns to the importance of the Putin election win in Russia. The election shows that Putin's popularity has gone up, not down. Communist Party votes were down, the next, the Russian Nationalist, Zhrinovsky, about half the former party's votes- also down from last time- and pro-western parties only got around a combined 4% of the vote. That latter number is the total support for westward leaning parties. Putin's strength, according to Cohen, comes from his history of saving Russians from the economic disasters of the Yeltsin times and only later from his diplomatic wins. And Batchelor segues this discussion into the Skripal crisis with the U.K. that is becoming a major diplomatic mess. Cohen compares the validity of Theresa May's accusations against Putin to Hillary Clinton's Russiagate accusations and he does this most succinctly.
It may be plain coincidence that the Skripal incident is happening concurrently with a supposedly new pending gas attack in Syria. There are reports from Russian intelligence in Syria of 40 tonnes of chlorine gas stores are being readied by American forces for a false flag attack, and U.S. naval units being readied for missile attacks against Damascus. In response the Russian military threatened to respond militarily against any U.S. sources of any attack on Damascus. The podcast did not mention these reports, but a British false flag (even without proof) involving even an accusation of poison a gas attack would help set off a useful hysteria reaction in the West and is the sort of crisis that can cause a war if that is the intention. The Theresa May accusations with ultimatum attached is so clearly preposterous and politically unsustainable that it is difficult to believe that her political popularity can be improved by it. It is also an insult to the intelligence of the electorate that this ploy was even tried. The prime minister must be desperate indeed if this gambit is what she hopes will see her still be a leader after the next election. And we should note the persistence of how dominantly WMD, including poison gas, has been used in the West in the M.E. for excuses to attack countries. It does not matter if it is a lie, the "threat" of this kind of WMD, is now a staple ploy by Washington for its war crimes. The weakness of these lies matters not.
This 2-part audio interview was posted on the audioboom.com Internet site on Tuesday. It comes complete with the usual excellent executive summary from Larry Galearis. The link to Part 1 is in the headline -- and here. The link to Part 2 is here. Each segment is about 20 minutes long.
So what is really going on here? Surely nobody seriously believes that the Brits really think that the Russians had any motive to try to kill Skripal or, for that matter, if they had a motive, that they would do it in such a stupid manner? And what's the deal with Syria anyway? Is the USA going to execute their false flag and bomb?
I think that at this point we should not get bogged down in the details of all this. There is a forest behind these trees. What matters most now, is that the most powerful factions of the AngloZionist Empire's ruling elites are making a concerted effort to create a unified anti-Russian coalition. In this regard it is quite telling that the U.S., France, and Germany issued a statement on March 15th without even bothering to consult with their so-called "allies" in NATO or the E.U. You can immediately tell "who is boss" in those crisis situations when the rest of the Euro-riffraff simply doesn't matter (poor East Europeans with their delusions about being appreciated or even respected by the West!). Furthermore, it is quite clear that in this case, the "Anglo" component of the AngloZionist Empire is far more involved than the Zionist one, at least insofar as the front of the stage is concerned (behind the scenes the Neocons are seething at Trump for calling Putin to congratulate him and offer negotiations). I think that a number of crucial developments forced the U.S. and the U.K. into trying to strong-arm the rest of the western nations to "circle the wagons" around the Empire.
What this all means is very simple: the Empire needs to either fold or double down and folding is just not something the imperial elites are willing to consider yet.
As to who will prevail, your guess is as good a mine. But the fact that today Trump replaced McMaster with a warmongering psychopath like John Bolton is a clear sign that the Neocons are in charge in the USA and that the Axis of Kindness is about to get a heck of a lot "kinder".
This longish, but very worthwhile commentary by the Saker appeared on thesaker.is Internet site on Friday sometime -- and it's yet another offering from Larry Galearis. Another link to it is here.
This morning the market has been on edge over, and traders are obsessed with just one question: how will China retaliate to Trump's trade war and tariffs... further. After all, the initial response of a modest 15-25% tariff on $3 billion in 128, mostly agricultural, products, seemed laughably small and appeared to be more of a warning shot than a real response to Trump's $50BN in Section 301 tariffs.
One answer was revealed moments ago when as we reported that China's ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai did not rule out the possibility of scaling back purchases of Treasuries in response to Trump's tariffs.
"We are looking at all options," he said, when asked whether China would consider reduced purchases of Treasuries. "That's why we believe any unilateral and protectionist move would hurt everybody, including the United States itself. It would certainly hurt the daily life of American middle-class people, and the American companies, and the financial markets."
But the more likely reaction is that China will simply escalate with a "brute force" tit-for-tat retaliation, and as Citi notes, the editor-in-chief of the state-controlled Chinese newspaper Global Times, Hu Xijin, confirmed precisely that when he tweeted: "I learned that Chinese government is determined to strike back."
More importantly, he explained the confusion over the "disproportionate" $3 billion response, noting that "Friday's plan to impose $3b tariffs is simply to retaliate to tariffs on steel and aluminum products", i.e. a response to the previous, Section 232 round of tariffs, and has nothing to do with the latest round of $50 billion in Section 301 tariffs.
Instead, Hu warns that "China's retaliation lists against the 301 investigation will target U.S. products worth $ tens of billions. It is in the making."
This news story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 12:31 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon -- and it's the final offering of the day from Brad Robertson -- and I thank him on your behalf. Another link to it is here.
Switzerland, with its plethora of specialist refineries converting gold dorť bullion, gold scrap and LBMA good delivery bars into the sizes and quality in demand in eastern markets, remains one of the best indicators of gold flows from Western to Eastern markets. As such its officially-published monthly gold bullion import and export figures are watched keenly by gold market analysts with exports tending to go primarily (+80%) to Asian and Middle Eastern recipients. In particular gold exports to Greater China (Mainland and Hong Kong) and India - the world's biggest consumers - are always watched particularly closely.
The small European nation, which most years exports a quantity of gold which comes to around 60% plus of global new mined gold output, has just published its gold import and export figures for February, and that month fully 87.7% of its gold exports were destined for South and East Asia and the Middle East.
As can be seen the biggest February recipient of these gold exports was Mainland China, taking 67.2 tonnes. With Hong Kong accounting for another 19.3 tonnes, Greater China alone accounted for around 58.3% of the Swiss gold exports. India, the world's other major gold consumer in its own right, acquired 28.2 tonnes of Swiss gold that month. Most of the remainder went to Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Singapore with 5.7 tonnes going to France, 3.2 tonnes re-exported to the UK, 2.5 tonnes to Austria and 2.1 tonnes to Italy making Europe the second largest area recipient, but hugely behind the eastern off-take.
This commentary from Lawrie, which includes one of the three Swiss gold chart that I posted just before my COT commentary in today's column, appeared on the Sharps Pixley website yesterday -- and another link to it is here.
The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES
It's officially spring here in Edmonton, but we got more very wet snow last night -- and I was out shoveling what was left of it off the walks early yesterday afternoon, when three Canada geese flew overhead. Open water of any kind at this time of year around here is nonexistent -- and more than a month away, so I wish them luck. This bird is today's featured 'critter' -- and they're almost a pest in every environment you find them now.
It's a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe. It has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands....[those fools! - Ed] Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory; it tends to be found on or close to fresh water.
Their success has led to them often being considered a pest species [No! Really?] because of their depredation of crops and issues with their noise, droppings, aggressive territorial behavior, and habit of begging for food (caused by human hand feeding), especially in their introduced range.
The first shot of a lesser Canada goose -- and they're fairly easy to tell apart from their larger cousins. They're much smaller for a start -- and have much shorter necks...at least the ones around here do. And after four years of observing them from birth to migration, I've also made the discovery that the two sub-species don't mingle much. But to most eyes, they all look the same, but they ain't. The other two photos are of your regular large-sized Canada goose. Click to enlarge.
"Day by day the money-masters of America become more aware of their danger, they draw together, they grow more class-conscious, more aggressive. American political corruption was the buying up of legislatures and assemblies to keep them from doing the people's will and protecting the people's interests; it was the exploiter entrenching himself in power, it was financial autocracy undermining and destroying political democracy." -- Upton Sinclair, The Brass Check, 1919
Today's 'blast from the past' is one I've posted before, but it's been a very long time, so it's time for a repeat. It dates from from the very late 1950s. It was the last of three big hits in a row for this guy, with many more to come -- and cast his career in stone from that time onwards. Unfortunately, I remember them all too well -- and the links are here, here and here.
Since the spring equinox was just a few days ago, I'll roll out Vivaldi's Concerto No. 2 in E major, Op.8 -- his "Spring" violin concerto. It certainly doesn't feel like it around here, as we've had long, cold and snowy winter. Itzhak Perlman plays and conducts the strings of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. It's a wonderful recording -- and the link is here.
Gold and silver had their day in sun yesterday, sort of. The tiny rallies at COMEX open -- and again shortly after the London p.m. gold fix, were quickly dealt with. Gold closed above its 50-day moving average -- and without doubt, the Managed Money traders were covering shorts and going long. What isn't know is who was selling to them...Ted's raptors, the small commercial traders other than the Big 8...or were the Big 4 involved as well? On the other hand, silver was kept well below its respective 50 and 200-day moving averages, so if there was Managed Money buying there, it wasn't much -- and as I said before further up, Ted figures that they could have actually increased their short position since the Tuesday cut-off. And as I've also said before -- and to Ted on the phone yesterday..."a king's ransom to have a quick look at the COT Report for silver as of the close of COMEX trading yesterday."
Silver is all set up for the moon shot that Ted has been expecting once again, but this time the COMEX futures market is pretty much the most wildly bullish it's been in history...far exceeding the set-ups we had in the past, including the one in mid-December 2017.
But I was certainly happy to see the positive price action -- and that's despite the fact their respective prices were being managed. I was even more happy that the precious metal equities were able to buck the trend and close in positive territory. It's a fact well worth noting.
So we wait some more.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities -- and you should note that copper was closed below its 200-day moving average yesterday, the first time it has been there since October 2016 -- and a few pennies below $3.00 a pound. The 'click to enlarge' feature helps a bit with the first four charts.
With the Dow closing down by another big 3-digit number yesterday, the stage is certainly set for a market crash of Biblical proportions. I suspect that the PPT was out and about in the equity markets, just like they were in the precious metals. How long they can keep this up remains to be seen. But this 48-year old house of cards that's been built since Nixon ripped the world off the gold standard back in 1971 now encompasses the entire world's financial system -- and is, as I've said many times in the past..."long past it's 'best before' use date".
And even though the Fed is trying to extricate themselves from the predicament that they put themselves -- and everyone else in...the climbing LIBOR interest rate is trumping their best efforts.
When the stock market goes bust, here in North America -- and world wide, the bond market may not prove to be much of a save haven -- and I expect the precious metals to come to the fore as this financial crisis deepens.
I'm particularly intrigued by this new benchmark price for crude oil, set in yuan -- and by extension gold, that will unfold on Monday. It seems to be more than a coincidence that this event is occurring just as the commercial net short position in silver vanishes to almost nothing.
What happens going forward is pretty much preordained, with only the timing the big unknown -- and it only remains to be seen what occurs in the Far East on their Monday. I'll certainly be sitting in front of the computer when New York opens at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday evening.
Fasten your seat belt dear reader, as it could get wild -- and ugly.
That's it for the day -- and the week -- and I'll see you here on Tuesday.
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