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May 9, 2020 | A Very Constructive COT Report

"Ed wrote the daily precious metal commentary for Casey Research starting in 2008. His stand-alone column became their most highly-rated blog [either free or paid] almost from the outset—and remained that way until he started his own subscription-based website in June of 2015."

 09 May 2020 — Saturday

YESTERDAY in GOLD, SILVER, PLATINUM and PALLADIUM

The gold price traded unevenly sideways to a bit lower until shortly before 1 p.m. China Standard Time on their Friday afternoon.  It crept a bit higher from there until the high tick of the day was set at, or just before, the 10:30 a.m. BST morning gold fix in London.  It was sold back to about the unchanged mark by the COMEX open in New York — and it then had a down/up move between then and around 10:35 a.m. EDT.  It was quietly down hill from there — and gold was closed close to its low tick of the day.

 

The high and low ticks were reported as $1,735.50 and $1,703.10 in the June contract.  The May/June spread differential was 4 dollars — and June/August was a bit under 13 bucks.

 

Gold was closed in New York on Friday afternoon at $1,702.90 spot, down $15.10 from Thursday — and about 24 dollars off its Kitco-recorded high of the day.  Net HFT gold volume was pretty light [but heavier than usual] at 173,000 contracts — and there was a bit over 71,000 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume out of June and into future months in this precious metal.

 

 

The silver price had a bit of a down/up move starting 6:00 p.m. EDT in New York on Thursday evening — and from around 9:15 a.m. China Standard Time on their Friday morning, it really didn’t do much of anything until it ticked higher about 1 p.m. BST in London, which was twenty minutes before the COMEX open.  It was sold lower even before the COMEX open — and the low tick was set around 8:50 a.m. in New York trading.  It rallied a decent amount over the next two hours, but ‘da boyz’ showed up to cap the price and turn it lower at 10:50 a.m. EDT.  It was sold lower until 12:15 p.m. EDT — and it crept a few pennies higher until trading ended at 5:00 p.m.

 

The low and high ticks in silver were recorded by the CME Group as $15.98 and $15.505 in the July contract.  The May/July spread differential was a tad under 4 cents — and July/September was a hair under 6 cents.

 

Silver was closed in New York on Friday afternoon at $15.475 spot, up 11.5 cents on the day — and 32.5 cents off its Kitco-recorded high tick of the day.  Net volume was nothing special, but higher than ‘normal’ at a hair over 54,000 contracts — and there was about 5,500 contracts worth of roll-over/switch volume on top of that.

 

 

The platinum price struggled higher until minutes before 12 o’clock noon in Zurich — and was then sold lower until 9 a.m. in New York. The ensuing rally was capped and turned lower around 10:25 a.m. EST — and it was all down hill until shortly after the COMEX close.  It added a few dollars in after-hours trading.  Platinum finished the Friday session in New York at $767 spot, up 6 bucks from its close on Thursday — and 14 dollars off its high tick of the day.

 

 

Palladium wandered very unevenly higher until the 2:15 p.m. afternoon gold fix in Shanghai on their Friday afternoon.  It was sold lower until shortly before 1 p.m. in New York, but from there it wandered quietly higher until the market closed at 5:15 p.m. EDT.  Palladium finished the day at exactly $1,800 spot, up 9 dollars from its Thursday close.

 

 

Based on the Kitco closing prices for gold and silver posted above, the gold/silver ratio worked out to 110 to 1.

 


 

The dollar index closed very late on Thursday afternoon in New York at 99.89 — and opened down about 5 basis points once trading commenced around 7:45 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening, which was 7:45 a.m. China Standard Time on their Friday morning.  It was sold a bit lower until around 10:40 a.m. CST — and then had a bit of an up/down move between then and 8:30 a.m. in New York.  It jumped higher at that point — and the 99.94 high tick was set about 10:05 a.m. EDT.  It headed sharply lower from there — and the 99.10 low tick was set about five minutes before the 11 a.m. EDT London close.  Another ‘rally’ began at that point, which lasted until around 3:25 p.m. — and it was sold off a bit into the 5:30 p.m. close.

 

Bloomberg shows the Friday close as 99.42…but it was marked-to-close at 99.73…down 16 basis points from Thursday.

 

That precipitous decline in the dollar index between 10:05 and 10:55 a.m. in New York appeared to have no impact on the prices of either silver or gold.

 

Here’s the DXY chart for Friday, courtesy of BloombergClick to enlarge.

 

 

Here’s the 5-year U.S. dollar index chart, courtesy of the good folks over at the stockcharts.com Internet site.  The delta between its close…99.77…and the close on the DXY spot chart above, was 4 basis points higher than the spot close.  Click to enlarge as well.

 

 

The gold stocks rallied unevenly higher until around 10:35 a.m. in New York trading — and from there it was long, slow decline until around 3:15 p.m. EDT.  From that juncture, they edged a bit higher until trading ended at 4:00 p.m.  The HUI closed down 0.46 percent.

 

 

In most ways that mattered, the silver equities followed an almost identical price path as their golden cousins…except their declines off their highs were somewhat more erratic.  They also ticked a bit higher into the 4:00 p.m. close.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index closed up 0.96 percent.  Click to enlarge if necessary.

 

 

I computed this index manually once again — and my calculations agreed exactly with that number.

 

Here’s Nick’s 1-year Silver Sentiment/Silver 7 Index chart, updated with Friday’s doji.  Click to enlarge as well.

 

 

The star of the day was Hecla Mining, up 5.98 percent…and in second spot was Coeur Mining, up 2.71 percent.  The other 5 were either fractionally lower or higher.

 


 

Here are the usual three charts that show up in my Saturday missive.  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 silver outperformed gold by quite a bit during the last week.  However, that outperformance didn’t help their associated equities. Palladium continues to get hammered.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

The month-to-date chart is only one business day longer than the weekly chart, so there’s not a lot of difference between the two.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

And here’s the year-to-date chart — and the stand-out feature is the continuing underperformance of silver and its associated equities.  That’s not entirely surprising when one considers the fact that gold is trading well above its 200-day moving average — and has been for a while.  Silver was only allowed to break above its 50-day moving average on Thursday, so it’s got a lot of catching up to do.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

As per the COT and Days to Cover discussion a bit further down, the Big 8 traders are still mega short both gold and silver in the COMEX futures market…particularly in silver.  JPMorgan is out of its short positions in both — and is actually long the COMEX futures market in silver by 3,000+ contracts according to Ted.

 


 

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 104 gold and 1,479 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.

 

In gold, there were four short/issuers — and the biggest three were JPMorgan, Advantage and Marex Spectron, with 66, 23 and 13 contracts — and all out of their respective client accounts.  There were fourteen long/stoppers — and the three largest in that category were JPMorgan and Dutch bank ABN Amro with 39 and 19 contracts…all for their respective client accounts — and Australia’s Macquarie Futures picked up 15 contracts — and all for their own account.

 

In silver, there were four short issuers in total — and the only one that mattered was JPMorgan issuing 1,450 contracts out of their in-house proprietary trading account, plus 4 more out of its client account.  Of the thirteen long/stoppers in total, the only two that mattered were HSBC and JPMorgan.  HSBC stopped 982 contracts in total…549 for its client account, plus 433 contracts for its own account.  JPMorgan picked up 280 contracts for its client account.

 

The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

 

Month-to-date there have been an astonishing 6,281 gold contracts issued/reissued and stopped…which is amazing considering that this is not a regular delivery month for gold.  There have been 8,569 silver contracts issued/reissued and stopped so far this month as well.

 

The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in May fell by 994 contracts, leaving 2,383 contracts still open, minus the 104 mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 1,141 gold contracts were actually posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 1,141-994=147 more gold contracts were just added to the May delivery month.  Silver o.i. in May dropped by 4 contracts, leaving 1,992 still around, minus the 1,479 contracts mentioned a few paragraphs ago.  Thursday’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 8 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday, so that means that 8-4=4 more silver contracts were added to May.

 


 

There was a deposit into GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant added 188,061 troy ounces.  There was a monster deposit into SLV, as an a.p. deposited 4,661,300 troy ounces.   Ted may have a word or two about these ETFs in his column later today.

 

In other gold and silver ETFs and mutual funds on Planet Earth on Friday, net of any activity in COMEX, or SLV & GLD, there was only a net 27,006 troy ounces of gold added, but a net 2,020,326 troy ounces of silver was added as well.

 

There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Friday.

 

Month-to-date the mint has sold 7,000 troy ounces of gold eagles — and that is all.

 


 

There was a whole bunch more gold activity over at the COMEX-approved depositories on the U.S. east coast on Thursday.  They reported receiving 211,518 troy ounces — and shipped out 12,892 troy ounces.  In the ‘in’ category, the largest amount…81,178.750 troy ounces/2,525 kilobars [U.K./U.S. kilobar weight] was dropped off at Loomis International.  Next came 72,268 troy ounces deposited at Malca-Amit USA — and followed by 32,103 troy ounces left at HSBC USA — and lastly, was the 25,968 troy ounces left outside the door at Brink’s, Inc.  In the ‘out’ category was 12,827.850 troy ounces/399 kilobars that departed Loomis International.  The remaining 64.302 troy ounces/2 kilobars [SGE kilobar weight] left the Brink’s, Inc. depository.  There was also some paper activity, as a net 167,713 troy ounces was transferred from the Eligible category and into Registered, with virtually all of it happening at Brink’s, Inc…as 173,518.947 troy ounces/5,397 kilobars made that trip.  The link to all this, plus a bit more, is here.

 

It was fairly busy in silver as well.  There was 578,857 troy ounces, one truckload, received at Brink’s, Inc. — and that’s all the ‘in’ activity there was.  There was 1,634,398 troy ounces shipped out…1,023,720 troy ounces from Canada’s Scotiabank — and 609,668 troy ounces/one truckload from CNT.  The remaining 1,009 troy ounces…one good delivery bar…departed Delaware.  There was also some paper activity as well.  There was 606,673 troy ounces/one truckload transferred from the Registered category and back into Eligible over at Brink’s, Inc.  The link to all this is here.

 

There was some activity over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  There were 1,177 reported received — and 200 were shipped out.  All of the ‘in’ activity was at Brink’s, Inc. — and all the ‘out’ activity was at Loomis International.  The link to this, in troy ounces, is here.

 

Roman Empire, Julia Domna, +218, Denarius
Material: Silver     Full Weight: 3.20 grams     Value: €85/US$92

 


 

The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, showed the anticipated declines in the commercial net short positions in silver.  Ted’s expectations were far closer to the truth than mine.

 

In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by 2,909 contracts, or 14.55 million troy ounces.

 

They arrived at that number by reducing their long position by 1,964 contracts, but they also reduced their short position by 4,873 contracts — and it’s the difference between those two numbers that represents their change for the reporting week.

 

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report it was all Managed Money traders and then some, as the decreased their net long position by 4,022 contracts.  The traders in the ‘Other Reportables’ category increased their net long position by 1,432 contracts — and the ‘Nonreportable’/small traders decreased their net long position by a smallish 319 contracts.

 

Doing the math:  4,022 minus 1,432 plus 319 equals 2,909 contracts…the change in the Commercial net short position.

 

The Commercial net short position in silver is now down to 33,948 contracts, or 169.7 million troy ounces.

 

The Big 4 traders are short 264.5 million troy ounces — and the Big 5 through 8 large traders are short another 104.0 million troy ounces on top of that, for a total of 368.5 million troy ounces held short by the Big 8 traders…217 percent of the Commercial net short position — and the CFTC and the miners do nothing!   As I stated last week in this space, this grotesque short position is the sole reason the the price of silver is sitting where it is.

 

With the new Bank Participation Report in hand, Ted has recalibrated JPMorgan’s long position in silver to only 3,000 contracts…which is down from the 7-10,000 contracts that he thought they might be long in last week’s COT Report.

 

Here is Nick’s 3-year COT chart for silver, updated with Friday’s data.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

Since the Tuesday cut-off, there certainly has been an increase in the Commercial net short position in silver, as its 50-day moving average was broken to the upside, as Ted figured the that Managed Money traders were going long in a big way…which means the Big 8 traders were increasing their short positions even further.

 


 

In gold, the commercial net short position declined by 11,993 troy ounces, or 1.20 million troy ounces.

 

They arrived at that number by increasing their long position by 5,143 contracts — and the also reduced their short position by 6,850 contracts.  It’s the sum of those two numbers that represents their change for the reporting week.

 

Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, it was all Managed Money traders, plus a bunch more, as they reduced their net long position by 13,165 contracts.  The traders in the other two categories didn’t do much.  The ‘Other Reportables’ increased their net long position by a scant 440 contracts — and the ‘Nonreportable’/small traders increased their net long position by 732 contracts.

 

Doing the math:  13,165 minus 440 minus 732 equals 11,993 contracts, the change in the commercial net short position, which it must do.

 

The commercial net short position in gold is back down to 28.16 million troy ounces, as this week’s numbers in gold pretty much reversed the deterioration that was in last week’s COT Report.

 

The Big 8 traders are short 25.45 million troy ounces…a hair over 90 percent of the total commercial net short position in gold.

 

Ted says that JPMorgan is neither long nor short the COMEX futures market in gold.
Here’s Nick’s 3-year COT chart for gold, updated with Friday’s data.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

The COT Report for both gold and silver is as washed out to the downside as it’s possibly going to get, as the Managed Money traders have shown no signs whatsoever of going back to being mega-short either gold or silver in the COMEX futures market.  And since they aren’t about to, that means that the Big 8 traders in both silver and gold are trapped on the short side…unless they can engineer the Mother of all price declines to to the tune of $400 or so in gold — and more than 3 bucks in silver.  That ain’t going to happen in this environment.

 


 

In the other metals, the Manged Money traders in palladium decreased their net long position by an insignificant 14 COMEX contracts during the reporting week — and are net long the palladium market by only 947 contracts…a bit over 12 percent of the total open interest…up a hair from last week.  Total open interest in palladium sits at 7,623 contracts…a net low open interest number.  And as I said in this space last week — and the week before…this is no longer a market at all, as it is illiquid and very thinly traded.  Small position changes can and do make enormous differences in the price…as you can see with your own eyes every day.  In platinum, the Managed Money traders traders increased their net long position by a further 1,239 contracts.  They’re now net long the platinum market by 8,245 COMEX contracts…a bit over 16 percent of the total open interest. The other two categories [Other Reportables/Nonreportable] continue to be mega net long against JPMorgan et al…especially the ‘Other Reportables’.  In copper, the Managed Money traders decreased their net short position in that metal by a scant 196 COMEX contracts.  They are still net short copper by 15,670 COMEX contracts…a bit under 10 percent of total open interest — up a tad from last week’s report.  This works out to around 392 million pounds of the stuff.

 


 

Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days to Cover” chart, updated with the COT data for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, May 5.  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. Click to enlarge.

 

 
The Big 4 traders are short 113 days of world silver production…down 5 days from last week’s COT Report – and the ‘5 through 8’ large traders are short an additional 45 days of world silver production…up 3 days from last week’s COT Report – for a total of 158 days that the Big 8 are short…down 2 days from last week’s report. This represents a bit over 5 months of world silver production, or about 368 million troy ounces of paper silver held short by the Big 8.  [In the prior reporting week, the Big 8 were short 160 days of world silver production.]

 

In the COT Report above, the Commercial net short position in silver was reported by the CME Group as 170 million troy ounces.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the short position of the Big 8 traders is 374 million troy ounces.  So the short position of the Big 8 traders is larger than the total Commercial net short position by around 374-170=204 million troy ounces…which is up about 14 million ounces from last week’s report — and out-of-this-world beyond outrageous.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!

 

The reason for the difference in those numbers…as it always is…is that Ted’s raptors, the 33-odd small commercial traders other than the Big 8, are net long that amount.  And as mentioned in my discussions on the COT Report previously, JPMorgan is now in this raptor category along with the other small commercial traders.

 

Another way of stating this [as I say every week in this spot] is that if you removed the Big 8 commercial traders from that category, the remaining traders in the commercial category are net long the COMEX silver market.  It’s the Big 8 [sans JPMorgan] against everyone else…a situation that has existed for over three decades in both silver and gold — and in platinum and palladium as well.

 

As per the first paragraph above, the Big 4 traders in silver are short around 113 days of world silver production in total. That’s 28.25 days of world silver production each, on average…down 1.25 days from last week’s report.  The four traders in the ‘5 through 8’ category are short 45 days of world silver production in total, which is about 11.25 days of world silver production each, on average…up from 10.50 days last week.

 

The Big 8 commercial traders are short 55.6 percent of the entire open interest in silver in the COMEX futures market, which is up a bit from the 54.1 percent they were short in last week’s COT report.  And once whatever market-neutral spread trades are subtracted out, that percentage would be something over the 60 percent mark.  In gold, it’s now 51.9 percent of the total COMEX open interest that the Big 8 are short, which is down a tiny bit from the 52.5 percent they were short in last week’s report — and certainly close to the 60 percent mark once the market-neutral spread trades are subtracted out.

 

In gold, the Big 4 are short 62 days of world gold production, down 1 day from last week’s COT Report.  The ‘5 through 8’ are short another 26 days of world production, down 2 days from last week’s report…for a total of 88 days of world gold production held short by the Big 8…and obviously down 3 days from last week’s COT Report.  Based on these numbers, the Big 4 in gold hold about 70 percent of the total short position held by the Big 8…up 1 percentage point from last week’s report.

 

And don’t forget that not only is JPMorgan no longer in the Big 8 category…they are out of their short position in gold entirely.

 

The “concentrated short position within a concentrated short position” in silver, platinum and palladium held by the Big 4 commercial traders are about 72, 75 and 75 percent respectively of the short positions held by the Big 8…the red and green bars on the above chart.  Silver is down about 2 percentage points from last week’s COT Report…platinum is down 1 percentage point from a week ago — and palladium is down a mostly meaningless 5 percentage points week-over-week.

 

And as Ted has been pointing out for years now — and I mentioned in other words in my COT discussion above, JPMorgan is, as always, in a position to double cross the other commercial traders at any time and walk away smelling like that proverbial rose.  We’re just waiting for that day.

 


 

The May Bank Participation Report [BPR] data is extracted directly from yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report.  It shows the number of futures contracts, both long and short, that are held by all the U.S. and non-U.S. banks as of Tuesday’s cut-off in all COMEX-traded products.  For this one day a month we get to see what the world’s banks are up to in the precious metals -and they’re usually up to quite a bit.

 

[The May Bank Participation Report covers the time period from April 8 to May 5 inclusive.]

 

In gold, 4 U.S. banks are net short 97,887 COMEX contracts in the May BPR.  In April’s Bank Participation Report [BPR]  4 U.S. banks were net short 96,139 contracts, so there was a tiny increase of 1,748 COMEX contracts from a month ago…which is an immaterial change.

 

With JPMorgan now neutral the COMEX futures market in gold, Citigroup, HSBC USA and I suspect Goldman Sachs would hold the lion’s share of this short position. As to who other U.S. bank might be that is short in this BPR, I haven’t a clue, but it’s a given that their short position would not be material.

 

Also in gold, 31 non-U.S. banks are net short 81,098 COMEX gold contracts.  In April’s BPR, 28 non-U.S. banks were net short 78,985 COMEX contracts…so the month-over-month change shows a smallish increase of 2,113 contracts…also immaterial.

 

At the low back in the August 2018 BPR…these same non-U.S. banks held a net short position in gold of only 1,960 contacts!

 

However, as I always say at this point, I suspect that there’s at least two large non-U.S. bank in this group, one of which would include Scotiabank and maybe the BIS.  I’m starting to have suspicions about Dutch Bank ABN Amro, plus Australia’s Macquarie as well.  Other than that small handful, the short positions in gold held by the vast majority of non-U.S. banks are immaterial.

 

As of this Bank Participation Report, 35 banks [both U.S. and foreign] are net short 36.5 percent of the entire open interest in gold in the COMEX futures market, which is precisely unchanged from what they were short in the April BPR.

 

Here’s Nick’s BPR chart 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 short position was outed by the CFTC in October of 2012.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

In silver, 4 U.S. banks are net short 28,995 COMEX contracts in May’s BPR.  In April’s BPR, the net short position of these same 4 U.S. banks was 26,841 contracts, so the short position of the U.S. banks has increased by 2,154 contracts month-over-month.

 

As in gold, the three biggest short holders in silver of the four U.S. banks in total, would be Citigroup, HSBC USA — and perhaps Goldman in No. 3 spot — and whoever the remaining U.S. bank may be, their short position, like the short position of the smallest U.S. bank in gold, would be immaterial in the grand scheme of things.

 

Also in silver, 20 non-U.S. banks are net short 23,854 COMEX contracts in the May BPR…which is down a very decent amount from the 30,002 contracts that 21 non-U.S. banks were short in the April BPR.  I would suspect that Canada’s Scotiabank [and maybe one other, the BIS perhaps] holds a goodly chunk of the short position of these non-U.S. banks.  I believe that a number of the remaining 18 non-U.S. banks may actually net long the COMEX futures market in silver.  But even if they aren’t, the remaining short positions divided up between these other 18 non-U.S. banks are immaterial – and have always been so.

 

As of May’s Bank Participation Report, 24 banks [both U.S. and foreign] are net short 39.6 percent of the entire open interest in the COMEX futures market in silver-down a bit from the 40.9 percent that they were net short in the April BPR.  And much, much more than the lion’s share of that is held by Citigroup, HSBC USA, Scotiabank — and maybe one other non-U.S. bank, which I suspect may be the BIS.

 

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.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

In platinum, 4 U.S. banks are net short 11,130 COMEX contracts in the May Bank Participation Report.  In the April BPR, 4 U.S. banks were net short 10,882 COMEX contracts…so there’s been a tiny increase in the short position of the big U.S. banks month-over-month.

 

[At the ‘low’ back in July of 2018, these same five U.S. banks were actually net long the platinum market by 2,573 contracts — and they’ve still got a long way to go to get back to that number.]

 

Also in platinum, 17 non-U.S. banks are net short 1,741 COMEX contracts in the May BPR, which is down huge [for the third month in a row] from the 4,228 COMEX contracts that 18 non-U.S. banks were net short in the April BPR.  That’s a 59 percent decline in just one month. [It declined 70 percent in the April BPR — and 44 percent in March]

 

[Note: Back at the July 2018 low, these same non-U.S. banks were net short only 1,192 COMEX contracts — and they’re almost back to that number.]

 

And as of May’s Bank Participation Report, 21 banks [both U.S. and foreign] are net short 25.6 percent of platinum’s total open interest in the COMEX futures market, which is down from the 27.9 percent that 22 banks were net short in April’s BPR.

 

Here’s the Bank Participation Report chart for platinum. Click to enlarge.

 

 

In palladium, 3 or less U.S. banks are net short 1,608 COMEX contracts in the May BPR, down from the 1,883 contracts that these same 3 or less U.S. banks were net short in the April BPR.

 

Also in palladium, 11 or more non-U.S. banks are now net long 807 COMEX contracts-compared to the 668 COMEX contracts that these same non-U.S. banks were net long in the April BPR.

 

As of this Bank Participation Report, 14 banks [both U.S. and foreign] are net short 10.5 percent of the entire COMEX open interest in palladium…down from the 15.7 percent of total open interest that 12 banks were net short in March.  Because of the small numbers of contracts involved, along with a declining opening interest, these numbers are pretty much meaningless — and that’s being kind. So the world’s banks are no longer involved in the palladium market in a material way.

 

Here’s the palladium BPR chart.  And as I point out every month, you should note that the U.S. banks were almost nowhere to be seen in the COMEX futures market in this precious metal until the middle of 2007-and they became the predominant and controlling factor by the end of Q1 of 2013.  But, as I just pointed out above, they have imploded into insignificance over the last four Bank Participation Reports — and it remains to be seen if they return as short sellers again at some point like they’ve done in the past.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

Except for palladium, only a small handful of the world’s banks…and mostly all U.S. banks…still have meaningful short positions in the other three precious metals.

 

JPMorgan is neutral to net long in both gold and silver in the COMEX futures market — and may be the same in platinum and palladium, but there’s no way to tell that.  It’s negligible in palladium for sure, but not so in platinum, if they’re still short in that market.

 

I have a lot of stories, articles and videos for you today.

CRITICAL READS

Job Losses for 20.5 Million Americans Herald More Pain to Come

It took just one month for the labor market in the world’s largest economy to capsize. It will take longer for the damage to be fully realized.

 

In the harshest downturn for American workers in history, employers cut an unprecedented 20.5 million jobs in April, tripling the unemployment rate to 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression era of the 1930s. And it’s only set to worsen in May, as cuts spread further into white-collar work.

 

It’s devastating,” said Ryan Sweet, head of monetary policy research at Moody’s Analytics.
There’s someone behind each of these numbers. It’s going to take years to recover from this. There’s a case to be made that a lot of these are temporary layoffs, so hopefully people can return to work quickly as we begin to reopen the economy — but there’s no guarantee in that.”

 

The coronavirus pandemic brought the U.S. economy to a standstill after a record-long expansion, with April’s losses erasing roughly all of the jobs added over the past decade. It also laid bare just how precarious employment is for vast swaths of Americans, with an outsize impact on lower-paid workers as well as women and minorities.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

With a steep recession underway, the destruction of jobs heaps election-year pressure on President Donald Trump to restart the economy and show results by November. But with little containment of a contagious disease that’s killed 75,000 Americans and counting, business is returning unevenly and slowly if at all, and signs are mounting that many employers will be forced to make the cuts permanent.

 

This Bloomberg story appeared on their Internet site at 5:32 a.m. PDT on Friday morning — and was updated about four and a half hours later.  I thank Swedish reader Patrik Ekdahl for sharing it with us — and another link to it is here.  The Zero Hedge spin on this is headlined “Worst Jobs Report in History: 20.5 Million Jobs Lost as Unemployment Rate Hits Record 14.7%” — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.

 


It’s Bad” – Massive Earnings Downside Surprises Send Recovery Hope Into 2021 at Best

Overall, earnings delivery continues to surprise to the downside versus consensus estimates, across all regions,” says JPMorgan strategist Mislav Matejka, noting Europe’s earnings-per-share growth for the first quarter is now down 25% year-on-year, while sales growth is 6% lower.

 

 
Simply put, it’s bad! … and not set to get any better anytime soon.

 

As Bloomberg notes,  “with a majority of companies having now reported earnings in Europe and the U.S., the figures have been poorer than expected; and the second quarter will likely be even worse, given the lock-downs, and a recovery in the rest of the year isn’t obvious.”

 

Things could get worse for cyclicals, which are more dependent on the economy, according to Citigroup Inc. strategist Robert Buckland. He expects global EPS to fall at least 50% this year, split between cyclicals down 65% and defensives 10% to 15% lower.

 

Overall, investors’ reactions to earnings misses have been relatively muted, according to Barclays Plc strategist Emmanuel Cau, adding that the low positioning has likely helped, but then so has the ubiquitous Powell Put.

 

With futures forecasting The Fed to cut rates to minus-40bps in Dec 2020, is it any surprise that analysts are pushing off recovery hopes?

 

If the market is expecting rates to be cut that low (and most critically negative) how can stocks be where they are now…?

 

This story showed up on the Zero Hedge website at 1:55 p.m. on Friday afternoon EDT — and it comes to us courtesy of Brad Robertson.  Another link to it is here.

 


As Markets Crashed, The Swiss National Bank Went on a FAAMG Buying Spree

It used to be a running joke among traders that when markets crash, central banks step in – either directly or in the case of the Fed indirectly via Citadel – and buy stocks to prop up the market and shore up confidence. That joke is now the truth.

 

Now that the Fed is openly buying corporate bonds and fallen angels, what was once absurd humor has become sad reality. And while we wait for the Fed to admit it too will be buying stocks soon – we just need that pesky next crash before Powell commits – other central banks have no such qualms.

 

Take the SNB.

 

We previously reported that the hedge fund that is not only publicly traded, but also moonlights as the Swiss central bank, which allows it to print money and effectively purchase any security it wishes with a zero cost basis suffered its biggest loss in history, reporting a loss of $32.7 billion on its massive equity portfolio. Yes, the SNB along with the BOJ, is unique in that it does not pretend to not buy stocks, and does so quite openly.

 

So openly, in fact, that in the past 5 years, the value of its U.S. equity holdings increased more than threefold, from $26.7 billion in Dec 2014 to $97.5 billion in Dec 2019.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

What about in the first quarter of 2020 when after hitting an all time high, stocks crashed in March?

 

As one can see in the chart above, the total value of SNB stock holdings barely budged from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020 despite the 30% crash in the market in March.

 

How is that possible? Simple: after the SNB kept its total holdings relatively flat for the past year, conserving its dry powder for just the right occasion, said occasion materialized in March, and the Swiss National Bank went on a buying spree as markets crashed, adding roughly 22% (on average) to its top positions.

 

So for all those wondering who was going crazy bidding up all the megatech names, which are now up more than 10% YTD while the rest of the market is down 13%…Click to enlarge.

 

 

… even as even Warren Buffett sat on the sidelines waiting for the other shoe to drop, now you know and all you need to replicate the SNB’s performance and buy FAAMGs without a care in the world, is your own (legal) printing press to print digital money out of ones and zero and buy anything and everything in the name of preventing the system from collapsing.

 

This interesting multi-chart Zero Hedge article was posted on their website at 5:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon EDT — and another link to it is here. This related and eye-opening ZH article is headlined “The NASDAQ is Now Bigger Than the Rest of the World’s Stock Markets” — and that’s from Brad Robertson.

 


For Albert Edwards This is the One Chart Proving Just How Insane the Market Has Become

By now everyone has seen some version of this chart which we first presented a month ago and updated yesterday, demonstrating just how disconnected stocks are from reality.  Click to enlarge.

 

 

SocGen’s resident perma-bear (… for stocks, and perma-bull for bonds) Albert Edwards has seen it too, and he too is stunned by the ludicrous gap between reality and expectation, which he has been tracking for decades but never has it gotten as wide as it is now, because as he writes in his latest global strategy weekly:

 

We are in the midst of a monetary and fiscal ideological revolution. Nose-bleed equity valuations are being supported by nothing more than a belief that a new ideology can deliver. Meanwhile the gap between the reality on the ground and expectations grows wider.”

 

[But] to Edwards the real show-stopper is a different chart, one which shows on one hand the continued Ice Age slump in analysts’ collective expectations for long-term EPS growth, and on the other the soaring PE ratio. The combination of the two is what is also known as the PEG, or Price to Earnings Growth, ratio.

 

Looking at the first component, long-term, EPS growth, Edwards notes that it “has now slid below 10%, a trend only likely to accelerate during the current profits slump.” This is shown in the chart below.   Click to enlarge.

 

 

Which brings us to Edwards conclusion: “That is why I still believe we will see negative Fed Funds soon  a topic now debated hotly on Twitter and elsewhere (see here for Ken Rogoff arguing the case for deeply negative interest rates).”

 

Considering that Albert wrote this just hours before we got the first ever fed funds futures pricing above par, implying a negative interest rate as soon as Nov 2020 means the SocGen strategist is entitled to a victory lap. In fact, he will be making many of those in the coming months as the entire system, which central banks have kept alive with duct tape and superglue, finally starts to fall apart.

 

This longish chart-filled article was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 6:22 a.m. EDT on Friday morning — and I thank Brad Robertson for this one as well.  Another link to it is here.

 


Cash Havens With $4.8 Trillion Fret Unthinkable Negative Returns

Money-market mutual funds, the ultimate havens for investors looking to preserve capital, once again are trying to maneuver in a zero interest-rate environment. The problem this time? They’re sitting on twice as much cash.

 

Assets in money-market funds have soared to a record $4.77 trillion amid a flight to safety by investors this year. More than three-quarters of that is parked in Treasury-only and other government funds perceived to be the least risky, Investment Company Institute data show, in part because of regulatory reforms in 2016 that triggered an exodus from prime funds.

 

Giants of the industry like Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments already have done what’s known as “soft closes,” or shutting down some funds to new investors. Speculation is swirling that management fees may be waived eventually by some companies in the industry. And managers are getting creative with their investments. It’s all an effort to preserve some sort of positive return for clients, a task that may get more difficult as traders start to bet on a negative Federal Reserve benchmark rate.

 

Within a Treasury money fund, in particular, you get squeezed into a pretty small box in terms of what your opportunity set is,” said Joe Lynagh, head of cash management at T. Rowe Price, which manages $55 billion of money market funds, about $25 billion of which is in client-facing government funds.

 

The U.S. Treasury has issued more than $1.5 trillion of bills in order to fund its stimulus programs and plug the hole in tax receipts amid the economic fallout from efforts to contain the coronavirus. While this has provided a much-needed supply of assets for money funds to buy, yields are razor thin and the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate is anchored near 0% for the foreseeable future.

 

This Bloomberg story was posted on their website at 3:00 a.m. PDT [Pacific Daylight Time] on Friday morning — and I found it embedded in a GATA dispatch.  Another link to it is hereGregory Mannarino‘s post market close rant for Friday is linked here.

 


Doug Noland: Schumpeter’s Business Cycle Analysis

We live in extraordinary, unprecedented times. The timing of the COVID-19 pandemic – on the heels of an unparalleled period of synchronized global economic growth, a record-setting U.S. economic expansion, and worldwide financial and asset price booms – ensures far-reaching financial, economic, social, political and geopolitical ramifications. COVID Strikes Mercilessly at Peak Fragility.

 

Fragilities have been mounting across economic and financial systems – at home and abroad. The pandemic is pushing many over the edge. Not only are central banks and governments fighting the effects of the coronavirus, they are these days in epic battle against Business Cycle Dynamics. In particular, bursting Bubbles have central banks more determined than ever to do “whatever it takes” to fulfill their so-called “price stability” mandate.

 

The Federal Reserve has essentially employed highly accommodative monetary policy for the past thirty years. After beginning the nineties at about 450, the Nasdaq Composite traded this past February to an all-time high 9,838 (closing Friday at 9,121). Except for a few fleeting periods of instability, free-flowing finance has supported (“cluster” upon historic “cluster” of) innovation. The Credit expansion has been unrelenting, with Non-Financial Debt surging from $10.5 TN to begin the nineties to today’s $55 TN.

 

Central bankers are these days keener than ever to fixate on their inflation mandate and targets. That inflation dynamics have evolved profoundly over recent decades is apparently not worthy of discussion. The impetus is to stimulate more aggressively than ever.

 

With global Bubbles bursting, there will be associated downward pressures on some price levels (i.e. energy and commodities). Demand will wane for many products and services. Yet broken supply chains are pushing some prices higher. Meanwhile, the world is afflicted by unprecedented debt burdens.

 

Central bankers are fully committed to doing “whatever it takes” to drive aggregate consumer inflation up to target. The nature of inflation has evolved profoundly, yet central banks adhere to the doctrine of a general price level that they can manipulate higher through monetary stimulus.
This capacity for policy measures to inflate THE general price level is fundamental to the view that consequences of Credit excess and market Bubbles can be readily mitigated. And this gets the heart of this dangerous flaw in contemporary economic doctrine: that boomtime Credit and financial excess can, for the most part, be disregarded. Asset inflation and Bubbles are to be ignored (promoted?), focusing instead on preparation for aggressive faltering-Bubble reflationary measures.

 

Doug’s weekly commentary put in an appearance on his website in the wee hours of Saturday morning — and another link to it is here.

 


One Trader Started the Day With $77,000 in His Account; By the End He Owed $9 Million

The April 20 historic oil price crash that sent the prompt May WTI contract plunging to the unheard of price of negative $40 per barrel now seems like ancient history with oil back in the $20s (at least until the June contract matures in 10 days) and stocks are delightfully levitating, but to one trader what happened on that fateful Monday will remain a permanent scar of how everything can go terribly wrong in the blink of an eye.

 

Syed Shah, a 30-year-old day trader, would usually buy and sell stocks and currencies through his Interactive Brokers account, but on April 20 he couldn’t resist trying his hand at some oil trading. Shah, working from his house in a Toronto suburb, figured he couldn’t lose as he spent $2,400 snapping up crude at $3.30 a barrel, and then 50 cents. Then came what looked like the deal of a lifetime: buying 212 futures contracts on West Texas Intermediate for an astonishing penny each.

 

What he didn’t know, as Bloomberg‘s Matthew Leising reports, is that oil’s first plunge into negative pricing had broken the Interactive Brokers platform, because its software “couldn’t cope with that pesky minus sign, even though it was always technically possible for the crude market to go upside down.”

 

As a result, crude was actually trading at a negative $3.70 a barrel when Shah’s screen had it at 1 cent; the reason: Interactive Brokers never displayed a subzero price to him as oil kept diving to end the day at minus $37.63 a barrel.

 

At midnight, Shah some very bad news: he owed Interactive Brokers $9 million. He’d started the day with $77,000 in his account, expecting that his biggest possible loss was 100%, or $77,000.

 

It turned out to be 116 times that number.

 

I was in shock,” the 30-year-old told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “I felt like everything was going to be taken from me, all my assets.” Not that Shah had anywhere remotely close to $9 million in assets.

 

Shah was not alone. Countless investors, especially retail day trades on RobinHood who had followed every tick lower in the USO by buying more of the ETF in hopes of an rebound, had a brutal day on April 20 regardless of what brokerage they had their account in.

 

This longish, but very interesting story put in an appearance on the Zero Hedge website on Friday afternoon at 2:55 p.m. EDT — and I thank Brad Robertson for sending it our way.  Another link to it is here.

 


David Stockman on Inflation, Gold, and Personal Freedom in the Post COVID-19 World

International Man: Do you think there will be retail inflation in the months ahead?

 

David Stockman: I think it’s hard to say because there are opposite forces at work.

 

On the one hand, if you look at something like oil and commodities, generally, we’re in a territory we’ve never been in before. The current demand for oil dropped by 30 million barrels a day, where they used to focus on blips of 400,000 a day, plus or minus.

 

This last effort to prop up the OPEC cartel is failing very fast. That side of the price index of the market basket is likely to head south very strongly.

 

On the other hand, supply chains are being disrupted with increasing intensity.

 

We’re looking at these meat processing plants that are being shut down. We’re looking at farmers who can’t get their products to market, and we’ll see more of that as we get into the production season this year. That’s just in the food area.

 

If we look at manufactured goods, China seems to be coming back to life a little bit, but the supply chains between here and there have been disrupted. There are big questions about what-in terms of both necessities and discretionary goods-will be available.

 

I think you’re going to have some prices skyrocketing for things that suddenly become scarce due to supply chain breakdowns.

 

In contrast, you’re going to have other things falling-especially the commodities that are collapsing owing to the drastic, unprecedented collapse in demand.

 

This Q&A session with David put in an appearance on the internationalman.com Internet site on Friday sometime — and another link to it is here.

 


Leftists Fume as Michael Moore Turns on Fraudulent “Green” Movement in Latest Movie

Executive produced by activist and filmmaker Michael Moore, 21stCentureWire.com points out that the new documentary Planet of the Humans, dares to say what no one else will say on this Earth Day – the leading ‘green’ environmental activists, including Al Gore, have taken their followers down the wrong road – selling out the real environmental movement to some of wealthy corporate interests in America and he world.

 

This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: the mainstream environmental movement is pushing lies in the form of various techno-fixes and band-aids – all of which are reliant and use large quantities of fossil fuels and rare earth minerals. Have environmentalists fallen for a “green” illusion? More than any other documentary to date, this film exposes the wholesale fraud behind subsidized industries like biomass fuels, wind turbines, and even not-so ‘green’ electric car…and that is why Moore’s typical leftist cult following has turned on him so aggressively – facts don’t fit their narratives and cognitive dissonance is not a safe space.

 

In fact, as 21stCenturyWire.com reports, ever since Moore released the new documentary, left-wing green activists have leveled a furious attack against the filmmaker for daring to blow the whistle on the “green energy scam.” Moore, a hero of the political left, has now cast serious doubt over the efficacy of ‘renewables’, including solar and wind energy. Incredibly, many green groups and political operatives are now trying to get the film banned.

 

Finally, while this documentary is groundbreaking in the sense that it is one of the first ever comprehensive exposures of the environmental fraud which underpins ‘sustainable energy’ and the much celebrated Green New Deal, we note 21stCenturyWire.com‘s warns that towards the end of the film director Jeff Gibbs veers into extremist ‘depopulation’ rhetoric, and infers that a radical social engineering agenda must be pursued in order to achieve population control – which he believes will somehow stop a ‘human-caused extinction event’ due to man-made CO2-induced ‘climate change.’

 

Putting aside that radical ideological segue by Gibbs, on balance, the film remains a powerful piece of investigative journalism which goes a long way towards challenging the green orthodoxy on widely held assumptions surrounding ‘green’ energy and sustainable development – which is crucial in advancing a fact-based discussion on how the world will realistically meet its energy needs in the future, as well as shining a light on the transnational profiteers who are pushing Wall Street’s ‘Green New Deal’ speculative energy market.

 

I’ve watched this already — and there’s nothing in it that I didn’t already know.  It’s definitely worth your while…if you have the interest, that is.  And I might suggest you watch it sooner rather than later, because the ‘thought police’ at youtube.com may decide to pull it.  This appeared on the Zero Hedge website on Sunday — and for obvious reasons, had to wait for today’s column.  I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out — and another link to it is here.

 


China gold demand just beginning to pick up? — Lawrie Williams

April gold withdrawal figures announced by the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) suggest that gold demand in China may be beginning to pick up as the country exits from the coronavirus-imposed lock-downs.  However the figures for April, just a little over 13.5 tonnes more than in March, continue to suggest that total Chinese annual gold demand will be considerably lower than it has been for the past several years.  Year-to-date gold withdrawals from the SGE are down by over 50% from those for each of the previous six years and while we could see something of a pick-up as the current year continues, we should anticipate total annual gold demand from China coming in at perhaps as low as around only 50-65% of the levels seen only a year ago – which itself was a weak year for Chinese gold demand.  But it is also worth noting that, last year, demand levels did begin to tail off a little in the last eight months of the year, so perhaps the overall fall in Chinese gold demand this year compared with 2019 may not be quite as great as the figures to date suggest.

 

We have always equated SGE gold withdrawal totals as being a measure of the sum total of Chinese gold consumption, despite this parallel being largely dismissed by the principal global gold analysing consultancies.  In our support we have always been able to point out that SGE gold withdrawal totals come far closer to known gold imports into mainland China plus China’s own gold output, plus an allowance for scrap conversion and some other unknown imports, while the major gold consultancies’ figures come in at a considerably lower level.  In our view the consultancies are probably not taking into account some sectors of the Chinese gold demand pattern.  Notably, they may not cover gold imported by the Chinese banking sector – or perhaps even by government agencies, but classified as ‘non-reportable’.  The known totals suggest that our analysis is far closer to the true figures than the consultancies’ calculations.

 

Assuming we are correct in our forecasting and assume that total Chinese gold demand this year comes in at say 60% of last year’s level of 1,642 tonnes it would put China’s gold demand total this year at just under 1,000 tonnes – still making the nation the world’s largest gold consumer.  This would mean a demand shortfall of around 650 tonnes compared with 2019.
Can this shortfall be made up in other aspects of global gold demand – particularly given Russia is at least temporarily halting gold accumulations by its central bank?

 

Latest figures from the World Gold Council on gold ETF demand show that global gold-backed ETF inflows so far this year have totalled 468.4 tonnes  (2019 figure was around 60 tonnes for the same period), which compares with a shortfall of some 370 tonnes year to date from China.  The big Chinese fall in demand so far, however, has mainly occurred in the months that the nation was at a virtual standstill because of the COVID-19 virus spread.  Measures taken to bring the virus under control, should mean that the demand shortfall vis-à-vis 2019 should not be as great for the remainder of the year.  Thus, should gold ETF inflows continue at anywhere near the current levels they could well more than compensate in gold demand terms for any further drop in Chinese gold consumption.

 

This commentary from Lawrie appeared on the Sharps Pixley website on Friday sometime — and another link to it is here.

 


Rhodium on the rise

Part of the platinum group metals (PGM), rhodium is a silvery-white chemical element coveted for its hard corrosion-resistant properties. Since the beginning of the year, the price of the metal, which is mined as a by-product of platinum and palladium, has surged by nearly 114%.

 

Around 80-90% of rhodium comes from South African platinum mines, but it typically accounts for around less than 10% of the ounces mined.

 

Therefore, rhodium price has traditionally only had a limited impact on investment in mining projects, says Neal Brewster, manager of strategic consulting at Roskill.

 

What this means is the mine supply of rhodium can be quite inelastic,” says Brewster.

 

Depressed platinum prices have suppressed overall investment in new mining projects that are able to supply rhodium, further compounding supply restrictions.

 

Demand in autocatalysts has overtaken supply, particularly in the last 12 months, causing prices to rocket; the spot price today for rhodium is over $13,000 per ounce, whereas in 2017 the average price was less than $1,000,” adds Brewster.

 

One doesn’t find too many stories about this precious metal — and since this is my Saturday column, I thought I’d toss it in.  It showed up on the mining-technology.com Internet site on Thursday — and I found it on Sharps Pixley.  Another link to it is here.

The PHOTOS and the FUNNIES

This adventure into the unknown on the east side of the Thompson River on October 6 turned into more of an adventure than we had imagined.  The dirt track was mostly in good condition, but there were places that you wouldn’t want to meet anyone under any circumstances, as the road was far too narrow for two vehicles.  But the views were incredible — and because we were below the tree line of the Thompson Plateau, the river, the highway and the railroads were in view most of the time.  Click to enlarge.

The WRAP

Today’s pop blast from the past is one that I’ve only feature once before — and that was ages ago, so it’s time for a revisit. It’s the theme song from the 1981 hit movie ‘Chariots of Fire’ — and needs no introduction whatsoever.  The link is here.  I was amazed to discover that despite the kick-a$$ nature of the tune, there were no bass cover of this worth posting.
Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043…thought to have been composed between 1717 and 1713…the same time period as his violin concerto in A minor that I feature in this space last Saturday. The double concerto, as it is also know, is one of the most famous works by Bach — and considered among the best examples of the work of the late Baroque period.  It is characterized by a subtle yet expressive relationship between the violins throughout the work.
Here is the Cracow Young Philharmonic performing this work at the 2013 Polish Nationwide Music Schools’ Symphonic Orchestras Competition — and it’s absolutely delightful.  The link is here.

Despite the horrific jobs report, it was another day where JPMorgan et al. kept all four precious metals on a short leash, as no rally attempt in any of them was allowed to get far before the showed up a the usual short sellers of last resort.  And with such low volumes, it wasn’t difficult for them to accomplish that task.
As I mentioned in my COT commentary further up, Ted said that the current structure is “locked and loaded” for a big move higher in both silver and gold.  But as to when that day will come that JPMorgan decides to stand aside…no one knows.
Here are the 6-month charts for the Big 6 commodities — and there’s really not a lot to see.  Silver and platinum closed a tad higher, but gold and palladium were both closed down on the day.  Copper closed up another 3 pennies — and WTIC is still hugging its 50-day moving average.  Click to enlarge.
No matter where one cares to look, there’s nothing right in this world today when one looks at the present condition of the equity, bond, currency and precious metal markets these days.  Everything is an absolute absurdity…something that SoGen’s Albert Edwards pointed out in a Zero Hedge story in the Critical Reads section above.
The only reason they are priced where they are is because of the unending and ever-increasing amount of liquidity being created at the stroke of a key by the world’s central banks, along with direct interventions in what used to be free markets — and I certainly have enough stories in today’s Critical Reads section that allude to that.
Including the various stages of lock-down/”mass house arrest” that the world’s population is living through, we now exist in what one Internet commentator described as  “benevolent totalitarianism“.  Let’s hope that all it is as time goes along.  But the sheeple, including myself, are getting restless — and there’s more and more push-back coming from different people in different parts of the country.  One wonders what the deep state is going to do as this sort of behaviour becomes more widespread.
But one thing is for sure — and that regardless of when this lock-down finally ends, the world’s economies will never recover.  Despite the largess of the world’s central banks at the moment, the current economic and financial system is beyond saving…or redemption.
Nothing is being allowed to trade at its free-market/intrinsic value — and it’s an absolute given that the central banks can’t keep this up forever.  They know it all too well.  As G. Edward Griffin stated in this space last Saturday…”they can’t stop the system from crashing, as it’s gone too far.  But beyond that, I’m rather convinced that they want it to crash.
This is a Wile E. Coyote moment for the ages.  The biggest ‘Everything Bubble’ that has ever been blown, has now been pierced.  The air began leaking out slowly starting last September when the Federal Reserve restarted its repo operations.  The bubble popped in March, but it continues to levitate only through the largess of the Federal Reserve.
But as surely as night follows day, that largess will come to an end.  That will happen when the deep state/powers-that-be have all their ducks in a row.  When that day comes, it will be another day that “will live in infamy” to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the “surprise” attack on Peal Harbor on December 8, 1941.
And as the Federal Reserve and the Treasury work their magic, I’m watching the amount of gold being moved around with great interest…not only going into the various and sundry ETFs and mutual funds, but what’s also going into the COMEX depositories in New York.
Combined with that, we just came off a record delivery month in gold in April, over 3 million ounces of gold issued/reissued and stopped — and even though May is not a traditional delivery month in gold, there have already been 6,281 gold contracts issued/reissued and stopped so far this month…with 2,400 contracts still open for delivery.  This is unprecedented.  Considering all of this, another big delivery month for gold is coming up in June — and one has to wonder whether more records will fall.
But even more important than that is the question of why is this happening — and why now?
John Q. Public has barely begun to nibble on the precious metal markets this year, if at all.  So it’s obvious, as I’ve stated before, that the big money/deep state players are converting paper assets into hard assets, with the Fed and Treasury backstopping that move until the day they pull the plug on the whole system.
As far fetched as that may seem, it’s the way I see events unfolding at some point.  The only thing I don’t know is the “when” in all this.  Nor does anyone else, but end of all things as we know it is now baked in the cake.
I’m still “all in” — and I’ll see you here next Tuesday.
Ed

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