Posts Tagged ‘Silver Manipulation’
BY JIM WILLIE
The feverish positive sentiment has left the Gold & Silver market in the last two months. Raised margin requirements during falling prices alongside naked short ambushes in the COMEX, coupled with permitted asset damage from debt monetization conducted more in secrecy will always help to dampen enthusiasm. But with the billboard message on the European subway walls and boulevards and news magazines stating the obvious, that the European debt crisis has no solution, that Germany has no more checks to write in funding the bailouts, that Greece is set to default, that leaders in political spheres are opposed by bank leaders where the final decisions are made, the GOLD & SILVER PRICES ARE SET TO ZOOM. Only the dummies sold in the last round of ambushes and interrupted recoveries. The precious metals have suddenly awakened. The old defended range for the two metals was easily overrun as a splash of reality hit the market faces. A mad scramble is likely from here onto the end of year, as people realize that hyper-inflation is the solution on any massive bailout with clearer gigantic needs, and as people realize that a broad string of bank failures will drive gigantic flows into safer places since sovereign bonds will go from sacred to toxic. The powerful decline in September, down $200 in gold and down $10 in silver suddenly have presented a ripe easy recovery without resistance. A powerful reversal is near and coming. Many investors will rush back in, paying higher prices than where they unwisely sold. Many investors will rush in, seeing banks and government bonds as ugly options.
FRAUD LACED IN THE SYSTEM
Before delving into the easy 15% upside opportunity in gold and easy 25% upside opportunity in silver, a topic begs to be covered. The topic is fraud. While discussion and analysis of fraud in US high finance can fill volumes, an entire set of encyclopedias, from just the last generation, direct attention to the fraud of investment funds and fraudulent bank accounting. My desire is to cite specifics on how investors have been duped into not participating in major moves up in commodity prices, like crude oil and precious metals gold & silver. My desire is to cite specifics on how the big banks avoid reporting 75% cuts in profits by fabricating the most absurd of accounting profits that even financial newscasters dispute as valid. The various funds to participate in the black gold and yellow gold asset plays have been congames. The defense by the big US banks against utter and complete insolvency have been congames. The public must avoid the ETFund investments. The public must avoid the perception that the big US banks are anything but dead.
PINPOINT FAILURE OF U.S. CAPITALISM
A opening argument against fraud and misrepresentation goes far beyond the Wall Street practice of pandering toxic bonds with AAA ratings. It goes far beyond promoting a fund that actually is critical in shorting oil and gold, rather than investing in them as investors intend. It goes far beyond deceiving about a price inflation between 7% and 11% since year 2005. It goes far beyond hiding an economic recession that started in 2007 and never ended. It goes far beyond news coverage of foreign wars like in Libya, when $90 billion in Qaddafi parked funds have been frozen, probably never to be released by Western banks. It goes far beyond $50 billion gone missing from the Iraq Reconstruction Fund with direct $2.3 billion payment handed to a fellow who received the highest medal of honor to a private citizen. The biggest problems that plague the United States Economy, its financial system, and its capitalist structure relate to ineffective usage of brainpower, co-opted assets & capital, and enormous investment in the corrupted system.
Clearly the United States has untapped resources, deep riches, broadly spread. The nation has significant land, including agriculture, timber, and water resources. The nation has significant untouched oil & gas deposits, and natural energy in wind, sun, and geothermal pockets. The nation has significant knowledge and technology, some of which has never been used that could dramatically reduce a wide range of expenses. The nation has 300 million people who have a great deal of their time and energy ready for productive usage. The nation has enormous untapped resources. However, the investment and capital devoted to support the fraudulent system is staggering. Just look for instance at the CNBC and Bloomberg financial news center facilities. They are not devoted to industry that produces jobs directed at value added enterprise. Just look at the entire Wall Street and hedge fund and asset management sector. It is not directed at value added enterprise, but rather to shuffling of securities certificates. A Chinese economist remarked a year or more ago that of the $14 trillion US Gross Domestic Product, perhaps half was not legitimate since merely related to transfers of debt securities and other debt paper products. What a great point! The USEconomy might be exaggerated by double in legitimate size, a fact underscored by the industrial base that has been moved to Asia since 1980, first with the Pacific Rim and finally with the Chinese buildup. Just look at the vast network of consumption centers, like Wal-Mart and Target and Best Buy, the retail chains that do not invest in value added enterprise. Recall that 70% of the USEconomy is devoted to consumption, as some sort of sick religious exercise that all too often has resulted in home equity converted to things bought. America has spent its capital tragically and now finds its many sectors insolvent. The conclusion is that a large part of American capital is devoted to the syndicate and beholden to the advertisers. Resources do not mean much when the capital and brainpower is co-opted and dedicated to fraudulent enterprise and even to self-destruction.
Let’s consider some specifics. Larry Ellison of Oracle, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Bill Gates of Microsoft never finished college. They were productive, as Gates is given a pass for innovation in monopoly development and marketing theft to build a stodgy empire that has stagnated in the last decade happily. When young minds attend college, they emerge hungry to make a mark, to put a stake in the ground, to create an organization, to build wealth and to make a legacy. All too often, the best & brightest are hired by the bad guys. An entire generation of brilliant young minds has been largely co-opted. Microsoft took genius minds, as the Jackass knew of several who applied there. They produced co-opted software technology, source code theft during partnership ventures, little or no innovation unless one considers bundling to smother Netscape and Norton. Also Goldman Sachs took genius minds, as the Jackass knew none, but a couple wannabees. They produced insider trading in finance technology, derivative devices that enabled concealed debt, exchange traded funds that enable control of a market, and so much more. A Forbes Magazine editor once sat next to Gates on an airline flight. During the conversation, Gates admitted that his chief rival in hiring the best minds that America had to offer came from Goldman Sachs. So the best graduates pursue permitted monopoly and fraudulent finance. Also the Defense Contractors took genius minds, as the Jackass knows of one in particular. They specialize in weapon systems and the attendant equipment. The trickle down benefits are an illusion, as the end product is a structure in smithereens. Benefits trickle down in seven to ten stages. Destruction trickles down in two or three stages, with Senate kickbacks and cost overruns the chief icing.
The biggest problems in the US are
- diverted intellect toward fraud, theft, and monopoly enterprise
- war and destruction, in pursuit of dominance over rubble landscape
- absent industry after 30 years of off-shoring factories to Asia
- really dumb kids, whose perspective is both shallow and limited.
When the Jackass was in Digital Equipment Corp from 1980 to 1993, many of us shook our heads when Intel, then many others, including DEC, opened manufacturing plants in the Pacific Rim. Ours were Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. One of my little accomplishments was to streamline online testing of factory output in quality control procedures. We had one major success with clients on their manufacturing sites that produced monitors and memory among others. The initial strategy on the national movement to off-shore was “just manufacturing” but many of us kept shaking our heads, thinking “no way, next comes Research & Development.” Within only two years, the DEC site in Taiwan had a leading R&D center that ultimately developed a world class computer monitor, a smart monitor with loads of options. Patents were filed, and the business segments upstream were set to flourish. Capital was attracted to Asia by the boatload. The United States has huge resources. But as we have see in the last two decades, they have been tapped, and they will be tapped, but by foreign nations and foreign firms. For a disgusting sign of the times, look to the California high speed rail project. The California Legislature eventually had to install new laws to limit the contract funds and contract jobs going to China. Most stimulus aid foreign jobs. Even stimulus toward the infrastructure in a key project aided China more than the US. Sadly, most new jobs in the USEconomy are devoted to health care and retail. So we are becoming a nation of hospital orderlies and cash register clerks, whose products tend to be bedpans and checkout lines. No need for college on those fronts.
FUND GROWTH DESPITE INEFFECTIVENESS
Exchange Traded Funds are generally a profound fraud laced with deception and extremely slippery prospectus language. Many lazy investors are being duped. The flagship GLD fund is the worst perpetrator in my view. Many analysts and industry experts have offered details on all manner of problems, irregularities, and anomalies, like unstable bar lists, like shorted shares by management, like bullion metal inventory shipped to the COMEX, like vault fees without stored metal. Turn to the flagship crude oil fund. The popular crude oil ETFund has lost over half its value relative to tracking the commodity price. Funds might be regularly abused by managers to short the commodity and keep the price down, an old game with an easy fingerprints. Such practice would fly in the face of investors, who sometimes feel betrayed, when they discover what is happening under their desks. The investors think they are investing in gold or crude oil in a fund, but those in charge of management and fiduciary responsibility are working hard toward the opposite objective. Investors are duped into shorting the same assets they invested in, indirectly. The total volume of Exchange Traded Funds is fast approaching $2 trillion, but not well invested. The invested funds all too often support the system that wishes to keep down the commodity prices, so that paper financial products are encouraged. The GLD fund managed by HSBC receives the most attention on widespread illicit activity, from fraudulent drainage of its gold inventory toward the COMEX to meet delivery demands through massive shorting. The fund has never been subjected to the scrutiny of a full audit by an independent agency.
EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS DO NOT TRACK
Another big fraud is the crude oil investment tracker. The United States Oil Fund (USO) was introduced as a vehicle for investors to track the crude oil price. When it began, the ETF had a 1:1 price relationship with the New York crude oil from the futures exchange, a close match. Its expense ratio was a mere 0.45% in overhead. What a huge change since inception! The active month crude oil contract trades between $85 and $95, but the USO fund has been bobbing around recently in a lowly ratio to crude oil below 40%, with a plunge below 30% in October. The penalty for investing in the oil ETF has come to 60% to the dopey lazy investor. The investors did not invest in crude oil at all. They benefited not at all from any rise in crude oil over the last three years.
Analysts defend the fund, claiming that rollover from current nearby contracts has eaten up value, along with administrative costs. That seems a lie. The successive monthly contracts do ramp down, but by the month’s end, the difference should be very small. In all likelihood, just like GLD but to the extreme, the USO fund is being brutally abused to short the crude oil price on the West Texas contract. Recall that the WTIC oil price has consistently been $15 to $25 below the North Sea Brent oil price for months. Blame is placed for the gross differential on surplus storage at the Cushing Oklahoma facilities, but that too seems a lie. Look instead for a fishy finger on extreme Wall Street activity with futures contract shorts, perhaps even backed by the official Strategic Petroleum Reserve storage supply on oil slick cover. Notice in the ratio of USO/WTIC, the quantum decline in early 2009 corresponded to the extreme drop from $135 to $40 per barrel. Conclude that the USO fund might have been instrumental in generating some extreme profits on the downside when they drove down the crude oil price. Even more leverage is deployed with futures options.
One can see the other smaller quantum declines circled on the graph. Even they are outsized, since 6% is not the cost to roll into the current nearby month. The spread from successive months is typically only 30 to 60 cents, well under 1%. See for yourself from the INO website on the CL crude oil futures contract (CLICK HERE). However, between those sudden drops one can notice a steady ramp in decline. That is where the fraud and abuse lies, since they should be flat horizontal, acting like a true tracking fund. There is no tracking. Funds are in high likelihood removed regularly in illicit shorting programs, to sell the crude oil contract with investor funds. Just speculating, but this is an old game.
A final comment on the lavish expense ratios. For the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) it is 0.40%, which does not seem like much. However, the size of the fund is about $55 billion, making 0.40% a hefty $220 million. That is a big fee to charge for mismanagement. At best it is badinvestment decisions, but at worst it is fraud such as from shorting the shares, the money drawn out to sell into the gold market. The metal inventory from short programs would go straight to the COMEX, as some intrepid reporters have revealed from insider sources. Conclude that investors are violated coming and going. Only total idiots and morons invest in such funds, of course along with lazy folks, cheered on by intellectual clowns like Adam Hamilton of Zeal Intelligence, who seems never to have identified a fraud in his entire career.
BIG BANK FRAUDULENT ACCOUNTING
Let me introduce you to my little friend, said the infamous Scarface. The little friend for the giant US banks is the Debt Value Adjustment, which fabricates profits from bond decay. The success is in placating really stupid investors, who rush in, only to see the bank stock fall by the afternoon sesssion. The accounting fraud committed by JPMorgan is typical. Instead of taking a loss on their own declining corporate bonds, or doing nothing, they posted a queer profit in a Debt Value Adjustment of $1.9 billion, equal to 29 cents per share. The JPM bond yield spread has widened by 200 basis points versus the USTreasury Bond. The bank colossus paid out $1 billion in legal expenses for bond investor lawsuits. They raided $96 million from Loan Loss Reserves, which will be needed later, like in bond fraud investor settlements. They cut 1100 in bank staff. They posted a $700 million decline in investment banking profit. Their biggest line item of profit was the fiction of a $1.9 billion profit from their decaying corporate bonds. It is not a profit & loss event at all. If they default on the corporate bond, imagine the accounting profit could be maximized. Only in American bank accounting!! Blessed as good by the FASB and USCongress!! JPMorgan is a wreck, as their businesses are tanking. Their tight grip on the Silver market could be loosened in time.
Profits announced by the big US banks are phony. A laundry list of tainted supposed profits came in the last two weeks for the entire crew of giant insolvent us banks. The Debt Value Adjustment (DVA) deception is the main common thread of deception. Citigroup posted $1.9 billion in Debt Value Adjustments, the same amount JPMorgan posted for DVA in a parade. This item is so corrupt as to be indefensible by any rational person. They take the fallen value of their own corporate debt, cite how they could buy it back at a lower cost, and book the difference as profit. But the debt is not bought back, only pretended. Similar games are played with bond spreads widening, but keep the argument simple. Imagine a corporate bond rising in principal, but not as fast as USTBonds, booked as a profit since the spread has worsened. So if the corporate bond fails altogether and goes to zero, the DVA would maximize the profit for the dead firm. In my book, dead firms do not buy back their debt. As a statistical analyst, the Jackass always prefers to carry an argument or method to the extreme to reveal its legitimacy or flaw.
Bank of America also posted a $1.7 billion DVA profit, but the winner was Morgan Stanley, which has the highest risk of death. They posted a hefty $3.4 billion fictional profit from a non-event adjustment to their corporate debt, the same Debt Value Adjustment. Without such tainted profits, the big US banks would have shown their dead decaying matter more clearly. Worse, during a time when mortgage assets and lawsuits are all the rage, they raided their Loan Loss Reserves, more phony profits. Bank of America even listed litigation losses while raiding LLReserves in the amount of $1.6 billion. Citigroup snatched back $1.4 billion in LLR, while Wells Fargo snatched back $0.8 billion in LLR. The big US bank quarterly reports were worse than dreadful, as they were corrupted and phony, the rot visible. Amazingly, the Bloomberg financial news identified the practice as questionable but legal, calling them poor quality profits!! Poor quality indeed. They are too kind. In March they called outgoing Egyptian leader (emperor) Mubarek a prolific saver, for having accumulated $60 billion. Maybe they will call the pilfered Libyan funds sticky, when not returned.
DERIVATIVES DUMPED ON DEPOSITORS WITH USFED BLESSING
Bank of America dumped its derivative book, possibly preparing for a restructure. The dumping ground is likely a pitstop en route to the USGovt toxic vats. The USFed applauds while the FDIC complains. Raids of assets preceded the Lehman Brothers failure, alert students of history note. This event might be no different. Bank of America engaged in devious accounting. Not only did they call their own corporate bond decay a phony profit, butthe firm shifted much of its mountain of derivatives held on its balance sheet as of June 30th. They moved it to their retail bank. Just last week, Moodys downgraded the bank holding company from A2 to Baa1. The retail bank was downgraded more gently to A2 from Aa3. The collateral backstopping will next be done fully and effectively by the bank’s $1.041 trillion in deposits. A bank run has been rumored at the big lumbering insolvent bank. Its website was down for several consecutive days, inhibiting usage of funds. Furthermore, the insurance agency to the depository base is very angry, namely the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The FDIC is another dead entity, devoid of funds, posing as a Wall Street harlot, this time betrayed by its brethren. The USFed favored the shift on the books, so as to give relief to the bank holding company (in their words). Conclude that depositors are forced to backstop its $53 trillion derivative book, as clients continue to depart. Savings accounts and certificate holders might be wiped out on a liquidation.
Bank of America already had the threat of failure looming due to deep insolvency from mortgage and litigation losses. Until now, the operations like the retail banks would not be affected and could be spun out to a new entity, even sold. Shareholders would be wiped out and holding company creditors like the bondholders would take losses. The derivative shift changed everything. Bank analyst Chris Whalen calls it either criminal incompetence or abject corruption by the USFed. Dumping derivatives into the depository business segment goes in diametric opposition to Dodd Frank resolutions. So much for Financial Regulatory Reform if not enforced. The US Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp are in deep disagreement over the transfers. The USFed favors moving the derivatives to benefit the bank holding company, while the FDIC objects since it must pay off depositors in the event of a bank failure made more likely. The FDIC will attempt to reject this brazen move. The corrupted USFed will argue not to disrupt the financial markets further. Witness the justification for a Dodd Frank resolution and ruling.
The 2005 bankruptcy law was revised to permit derivatives counter-parties to be given the first in line position. They grab assets first in a little known feature of the bankruptcy reform that favored the banks. This truly devious bold move amounts to a direct transfer from Merrill Lynch derivatives risk to the USGovt via the FDIC. It means depositors will be made whole only after derivatives counter-parties have seized collateral. Depositors are lined up for a legalized raid, better yet a theft. Recall back in September 2008, that Lehman Brothers failed over a weekend after JPMorgan grabbed its collateral in a basic daylight raid. Expect another TARP type of bank bailout, as the Wall Street firms jockey to slide their derivative exposure under carefully crafted shells. The bad news for them is that they have over $200 trillion left, even after this ugly maneuver to shift the Merrill Lynch exposure.
GOLD & SILVER READY TO REBOUND
The Gold market is on the verge of a powerful move. The reversal base has been created. The $1620 level was tested successfully a few times. The uptrend has been defended and should continue in a powerful surge upward. The Chinese have been buying with both hands on the physical market, as the London traders report. They took full advantage of the horrendous display of market interference, as the gold contract margins were hiked in repeated fashion during the price declines. It was engineered. The nasty ambush appears over. A bullish divergence is clear, as the daily stochastix showed positive signals while the price was forming a flat bottom near the $1600 level. A powerful reversal is in progress, one that echoes the reversal in the Euro currency from 132 up to 140. Gold had fallen on the back of the Euro decline. Now the Gold price is rising from lack of resolution witnessed and confirmed in Europe. The gap to fill should be swift, easy, and loud. The gap from $1670 to $1770 is a full hundred points. As it is filled, the naysayers on Gold will have to defend why they advised clients to abandon the only true safe haven in the financial universe, Gold, along with its little brother Silver.
The growing economic recession will reveal many dead objects in the flotsam & jetsam, much like a tide going out to sea. That is a primary function of recessions, to clear the deck of bad debt and start anew, to plow the soil and permit nutrients to work again. Gold will shine. Gold is not loaded with the fraudulent traps and snares built by Wall Street from the devious risky paper realm. Gold has no fraud from counter-party risk. Gold is legitimate money. The United States will be forced back to the Gold Standard, but it will be the currency used over a landscape that features rubble, ruin, and discontent. Be sure that every measure will be taken to save the current system, to debase the major currencies in every way possible, at the greatest allowable volume. The USDollar and other majors will be wrecked in the process, and Gold will be lifted in value in corresponding opposite fashion. The Western leaders have no desire to reform, to yield power, and to install a viable sound monetary system. Banks should become utilities, not casinos and helms of market control. A grand disruption cometh!
The Europeans provided the trigger on Tuesday for the big $50 move up in the Gold price, and the $1.50 move up in the Silver price. Their bankers, politicians, and commissioners are in deep discord. No solution exists. Big bond losses are coming. Big banks that are already insolvent will topple. The Greek Govt debt will default. They are trying to make the default orderly. The gang in crisis resolution talks could not be more in discord. The Germans want out of the obligation of being the savings account of last resort to use. The Germans are actually working toward a new alliance with Russia and China, with Persian Gulf support. They look East as they see the West in shambles. If the Euro banks benefit from a big bailout from a $2 trillion filled fund, at minimum, then the monetary debasement will be great for Gold. Tremendous leverage would be the only means of supplying that volume of funding. The Europeans dislike the Geithner concept of heavy leverage usage. If the Euro banks do not fail to secure funding, and cannot recapitalize, a string of bank failures will rock the continent. The contagion will slam London and New York like a tsunami. The crisis would intensify to a new dangerous level that brings talk finally of systemic failure from banking system collapse, which will be great for Gold. Those who jumped or were pushed off the Gold locomotive in September are the real losers. If they relied upon the leverage inherent to the rigged futures contract game, shame on them. Let them climb aboard on the legitimate rail cars that feature physical Gold bullion benches, not the paper fake asset.
Finally, attention has grown on the gathering storm of Italy. Their debt is being downgraded steadily, just like Spain. The Italian prime minister seems like a clown in a suit, calling the crisis a fiction written by the press. They reject austerity measures, as their debt runs out of control. The nation of Italy must fund over EUR 200 billion of debt before the end of 2012, from rollover. Their bond yield has surpassed the 6.0% level known to serve as the alarm bell. Then tack on fresh debt. The Greek domino could easily push over the Italian domino, which lies next to the fragile Spanish domino. The European Monetary Union will break. Germany announced the return of the Deustche Mark, the date unclear for re-launch. It will be priced for conversion at one Euro to 1.95 DMarks, the same as the 1999 exchange rate when the ill-fated Euro was born. Regard this vehicle as a transitional currency to a new gold-backed currency, the USDollar Killer, the ticket to the Third World. Details are in the October Gold & Currency Hat Trick Letter report. These are exciting times, but dangerous times, full of risk, but full of opportunities.
Read the entire article HERE.
BY METAL AUGMENTOR
There is a new boiler room operation in town and it doesn’t involve slick-haired Wall Street scumbags with mafia connections but rather anonymous hedge fund managers and shady characters with no permanent homes or the guts to identify themselves.
And so these shorts without names or homes have found their latest target, Silvercorp Metals (NYSE/TSX: SVM). Unfortunately for them, this time their target doesn’t walk or smell anything like a duck. In fact, some of the anonymous allegations against Silvercorp are so stupid that they raise questions about all the past allegations the shorts have made against the long parade of Chinese companies listed on U.S. or Canadian exchanges. We all know them so let’s not get into names. What matters is that a “research” outfit by the lofty name of International Financial Analysis & Research Group (IFRA) has supposedly documented information on many of these companies by visiting corporate offices, production facilities and sales outlets along with conducting interviews with competitors, partners and customers. Given their work has now been confirmed as sloppy at best in the matter of Silvercorp, all of their prior work must now also be considered doubtful. We are actually quite shocked to learn of this — as recently as last week we still believed these “investigative” efforts were credible. It sucks to be naive but it’s much worse to remain that way.
At this point Silvercorp and several individuals (see here and here) along with the odd newsletter and broker have already provided a litany of rebuttals to the anonymous allegations. And yet they keep popping up with slight modifications and incessant repetition. Unlike the other rebuttals, we are not going to be nice here and give the shorts undeserved respect or benefit of doubt. We are going to call it instead exactly like we see it in true Metal Augmentor fashion.
First off, however, we don’t believe it is appropriate or productive to paint all short sellers with the same broad brush of manipulation and abuse. Shorts can serve a legitimate purpose in a stock market: to counteract pump and dump operations, to strengthen price discovery, to make sure valuation is reflective of market consensus (for good or bad), etc. Anybody should be able to form and share either a long thesis or a short thesis on a stock. One or the other thesis will eventually turn out to be correct and a free market is an efficient way to arrive at the right answer. The defamatory abuse that is taking place at this juncture, however, is not how a free market should work. Instead, it is exactly how a mob hands out justice: hang first and never ask questions later.
The false allegations that have been made are no different from a pump and dump except in reverse. Actually, there is a difference: a pump and dump is illegal only in securities trading whereas defamation is unlawful in virtually every human interaction. In most countries, you haven’t broken a law if you tell everybody what a great baseball player or poker player your loser nephew is … but if you wrongfully accuse him of being a rapist or a thief, then you are liable for damages arising from his lost reputation. It was only a matter of time before the shorts encountered a nephew who is actually not a loser or a rapist or a thief. Silvercorp be his name.
While it is important that shorts should be tolerated, abusive short-selling practices should be vigorously counter-balanced by seeking redress in court for civil damages as well as by bringing market regulators into the fold. Regulatory changes should restrict the abusive and manipulative aspects of short-sided speculation by, for example, requiring shorts who publish negative information to declare in regulatory filings their positions above a certain threshold level and by forcing these shorts to maintain their positions for a certain period of time so that the accused company has a chance to fully respond. In particular, we believe there are licensed investment professionals and registered investment advisors presently active in the United States who need to lose their credentials for their key roles in this gross abuse of the markets.
Look, we are no friends of companies run by reckless promoters who make selective disclosures, much less fraudsters. We have identified companies in the past that have subsequently gone under primarily as a result of undisclosed risks or negative factors. One company, Sterling Mining, even had a deposit that is geologically very similar to Silvercorp’s Ying property: the Sunshine Mine in the Silver Valley of the Coeur d’Alene Mining District in Shoshone County, Idaho. The problem there was that it was an old mine with most of the silver being left over mainly as side and crown pillars in old stopes while future production was burdened by a 7% NSR royalty. We suggested to management that they conduct exploration with an eye toward making a new discovery while negotiating a buyback of this royalty prior to announcing plans for production. They claimed the royalty would never have to be paid because of their arcane interpretation of the law. The rest was history.
We did all the original legwork to discover the facts in the Sterling Mining case including talking to former mine personnel, reviewing SEC and bankruptcy filings of the prior mine owner — the (also) defunct Sunshine Mining Company — and even pulling property records. Sure enough, those 7% royalty holders came looking for their NSR payments just as Sterling Mining was going into default. In fact that royalty is still pestering Thomas Kaplan’s new Sunshine Silver Mines (page 60).
We are aware of other companies that are still operating despite having some serious skeletons in the closet — and again we identified these problems by conducting original research. So we know how to properly do this stuff … while most of the short sellers are grasping at straws.
Here is a suggestion. The goofballs, hippies and know-it-alls who have piled on to attack Silvercorp should take a look at the historical production that came out of the aforementioned Coeur d’Alene camp (not to mention the current happenings at Hecla’s (NYSE: HL) Lucky Friday) before they pipe up again about the SGX mine in the Ying District having grades that are “too good to be true”. In fact, only a true mining ignoramus would compare a mesothermal vein deposit featuring massive sulfides and silver sulfosalts to a typical silver mine containing unremarkable epithermal veins or worse (from a comparative standpoint), a low grade disseminated silver deposit. These ignoramuses might wish to consult at least the Imiter Mine in Morocco for remarkable grade epithermal silver (about 30 ounces or 1kg/tonne) as well as Tahoe Resources’ (TSX: THO) Escobal and MAG Silver’s (TSX: MAG; AMEX: MVG) Juanicipio. These are among the few comparable vein deposits worldwide with overall silver grades at least as good as the SGX mine, which the shorts claim is misrepresented by the company as 845 g/t. The 845 g/t is actually the measured portion of the high grade resource at 300 g/t cutoff for the SGX mine from 2009. As such, it is basically irrelevant.
In reality, the actual high-grade reserves of the SGX mine in the current mine plan are less than half that number –410 g/t to be precise. Apparently our intrepid mining experts don’t understand the differences between how various resource categories are reported or the distinction between an estimated cutoff grade in a resource block and the actual cutoff grade used for ore reserves in the mine plan.
In the case of the SGX mine, the cutoff grade for measured and indicated resources is 300 g/t silver-equivalent, meaning that the reported resource tonnage is constrained to ore blocks that are at least that grade. There are no economic parameters applied to the 300 g/t cutoff number so it will tend to remain the same over time. By contrast, the economic cutoff grade for proven and probable reserves at SGX is about one-half the resource grade thanks to low mining costs and high silver prices. This is why the average mined grade at SGX doesn’t even look that remarkable for an underground deposit. We’re happy to explain all this to the shorts in a way that even a kindergartner can understand. Unlike the experts purportedly consulted by them, we’ll even try to avoid ridiculous claims like the one where 68 million ounces of “equivalent silver” is supposedly too low (“they should have more resources”) to support a company with even just a $100 million market cap. Our fees are reasonable.
Before moving on from the grades at the SGX mine, let’s look at the pile of rocks the fine folks at IFRA collected from the roadside between the Ying mine and mill.
Wow, what can we say! What an impressive pile of random rocks that probably did not fall off an ore truck! Many of them are clearly weathered with smooth edges or showing signs of air exposure (oxidation of iron sulfides) and as such they do not appear to be the product of very recent mining activity. Our guess would be these rocks are larger fragments from the fill material that was used to construct an all-weather road capable of supporting heavy truck traffic. The rocks could have come from the mine as well — perhaps barren or low grade development material — but they do not appear to be representative of high-grade veins (or even medium-grade ones).
Here is how ore might look like at various grades coming out of a silver-base metal vein (these are from my personal collection and also have some iron staining that would not appear as extensively discolored on freshly mined rock):
Notice a few things. One, the material tends to be angular since it was literally blasted out of whole rock by explosive force. Two, it doesn’t have rounded edges from weathering. Three, it has clear vein textures (bands of different colors) instead of typical rock composition. Four, there is some sparkly stuff representing sulfides (these rocks are high grade overall but there are also lower grade portions). Five, oxidation is in spots and bands confirming this to be vein material. All in all, we’d estimate that 75% or more of the rocks in the IFRA “sample” photograph did not “fall off a truck” that was transporting freshly-blasted ore from the SGX mine to the mill.
Now about those trucks. It is claimed they use 13 tonne “Hercules” models at Ying that cannot possibly carry 30 tonnes of ore … at least according to some random guy they spoke with. Oh brother! The shorts would realize their folly if they actually had any experience with trucks or even just bothered to spend 5 minutes conducting bona fide, unbiased research. Had they done that, they would have been able to recognize the clear difference between a light duty model and a heavy duty one. Things like box size and tire size easily give away the difference. Behind big boxes and big tires are big axles, big frames and big hydraulics. Only the cab remains the same size despite the 30 tonne truck sometimes having a larger engine.
The truck on the left is apparently the ironically-named light duty “Hercules” while the one on the right is an undeniable beast with muscular tires and a gigantic box in comparison. I wouldn’t quibble with the claim that the lightweight on the left would struggle to carry 30 tonnes — even though we are talking about just a few kilometers between mine and mill at relatively low speeds. The truck on the right, however, is a 30 tonne truck if there ever was one. Such a truck would no doubt be easily capable of transporting 40+ tonnes at slow speeds on dirt roads in its massive box (18 x 7.5 x 6 feet enclosing 20 cubic yards of rock by our estimate). The red trucks on the ferry (see full picture here) are equally massive and are also clearly 30 tonne beasts … obvious to anybody who isn’t blinded by the glitz of the fast and fabulous short-selling lifestyle.
Now let us discuss a slightly-uncomfortable truth. We now know that a 5% equity interest in Henan Found, the Chinese joint venture between Silvercorp and a state-owned enterprise (SEO) we’ll call Henan Non-Ferrous, was sold at an “auction” to an affiliate of the SEO. The “selling” price was approximately US$7 million and so the shorts would have us believe this is a good indicator of the fair value for all of Henan Found. In turn this would mean that the SGX mine might be worth no more than US$100 million. There is only one problem with this hypothesis. This was a very strange auction. There were 3 bidders. Each of these 3 bidders deposited 20 million RMB (almost half the opening bid) and also had to submit an “operating plan” for approval by Henan Non-Ferrous prior to being accepted as a bidder. After all this trouble, the bidders managed to bid up the price all the way to $45.5 million RMB between the three of them. The furious action must have left the 2 losing bidders gnashing their teeth — after all, you don’t often see an auction where the winning bid soars above the opening price by a massive 1%! In fact, we’re pretty sure nothing like this happens outside the competitive bidding process for privatizing state-owned assets in China. Of course China still doesn’t hold a candle to the competitive bidding that took place as the Soviet empire was dismantled in the early 1990?s. In sum total, the auction for 5% of Henan Found had an outcome that was as certain as the sun rising in the East.
There is much more that we could pick apart but we’ll look at just one other thing for now. It has been alleged that Silvercorp cannot possibly have completed the amount of exploration and development work that it claims in prior years given how little all of this work supposedly cost. This is an interesting allegation given that China works from an economic standpoint mainly because costs are so low there. To wit, in fiscal 2011 Silvercorp reported that it spent just US$11.3 million in exploration and development to accomplish the following according to page 8 of the MD&A:
The Ying Mine incurred $11.3 million exploration and development expenditures (FY2010 – $6.7 million). With that, 38,870 metres (FY2010 – 34,816 metres) of tunnel, 38,254 metres (FY2010 – 28,746 metres) of diamond drilling, and 935 metres (FY2010 – 1,387 metres) of shafts, declines and raises were completed. The mine development works completed will effectively sustain the Ying Mine’s production level.
Based on the above, it is claimed by the short sellers that drilling costs at Ying appear “under-reported by 3.9x”. We don’t know how it is possible to determine this about drilling since the shorts’ own surveys of local drilling contractors arrived at an assumed price of 225 RMB/meter (US$35/meter). The total for drilling 38,254 meters would therefore be about US$1.3 million out of the US$11.3 million. Similarly for shafts, declines and raises the shorts’ contractor surveys arrived at an assumed cost of 15,000 RMB/meter (US$2,300/meter) totaling US$2.2 million for the 935 meters.
That leaves 38,870 meters of tunneling or sometimes also known as “drifting”. For some strange reason the shorts use an assumed cost of 6,750 RMB/meter (US$1,053/meter) for this drifting and therefore they arrive at a total cost of US$41 million. But, there is only US$7.8 million left for drifting expenses after deducting drilling and shafting costs of US$1.3 million and US$2.2 million, respectively, from the total exploration and development for the year of US$11.3 million.
Of course once again it never occurs to these shorts that a simple explanation may exist to their big questions and red flags. Indeed, such a simple explanation means that their short thesis is that much weaker so they would rather prefer there isn’t an explanation at all. Let’s ruin their fun anyway, shall we? At under US$200 per meter (US$7.8 million divided by 38,870 meters), the drifting at Ying would indeed be some of the cheapest development work conducted since the old timers who got paid in whiskey and liked it that way. In fact, we don’t doubt that the contract rate for drifting can sometimes be as high as 12,000 to 15,000 RMB — about US$2,000 per meter — in China for a typical production scenario involving major drifts that require access by large mining vehicles.
Silvercorp’s Ying project, however, is anything but typical. Let’s start with the tunnels that are 2 meters by 2 meters. These tunnels are barely tall enough for the average Westerner with a hard hat and just wide enough for two of them to pass each other. One tonne “tricycle trucks” zip back and forth through these claustrophobia-inducing tunnels like ants in a colony. Meanwhile ceilings are only intermittently secured by rock bolts or timbers due to good ground conditions along with the minimal size of the headings themselves. A small crew of miners could advance such a tunnel at the pace of 2 meters a day. At the calculated cost per meter of drift (US$7.8 million divided by 38,870 meters), the combined wages of this crew would be on the order of US$200 per day after expenses, which breaks out to a significant individual amount for the hardest working crew members. Meanwhile the laid-back miners still prefer to be paid in whiskey, like always.
Let’s also consider that the pocket-like nature of the high grade ore shoots requires much of the drifting to be done on the vein itself: the famous refrain of drill for structure, drift for grade. This style of development can result in quite a bit of “development ore” being accumulated while production stopes are being accessed and prepared for mining. The next part is mere speculation but we’ve had personal experience with similar instances of it at other projects. To wit, such “development ore” might not meet the minimum cutoff grade (approximately 160 grams or 5 ounces per tonne silver-equivalent) per the mine plan … but that doesn’t mean it must necessarily go to waste. Indeed at $40 silver, a tonne of such rock contains metal worth about US$200, which as you’ll recall from above is about the same that the entire crew earns during a hard day of work!
Remember also that the miners use one tonne “tricycle trucks” to haul rocks around the mine, meaning that a single load could be worth up to US$200 in metals. And this is the stuff not going to the mill — in fact the mining crews are being paid to keep it out of the mill. Yet it would be safe to surmise that rock with such high value might be going somewhere other than the waste rock pile. For example possibly as a credit against the mining contract: a bonus, profit share or any of a wide range of possible arrangements that are not unique in the annals of mining history. Such netting can make a mining contract rate seem very low, which it is in Silvercorp’s case. In other words, nothing to see here kids, mosey along now.
Unfortunately our little short bashing must come to an end for today … but never fear because we continue to be on the case, correcting wrongs and championing truth wherever the dark forces of market abuse cast their evil gaze.
Read the entire article HERE.
by Eric King
September 16, 2011
King World News
Identities of people involved in the alleged JP Morgan conspiracy to manipulate the price of silver have been exposed, along with the mechanisms of the manipulation of silver. King World News was contacted two days ago by key people familiar with this situation. This was described by an individual out of London who is very familiar with the lawsuit as, “The biggest news in a long time because these are actual people who are coming out and naming names of individuals who were involved in this alleged conspiracy with JP Morgan to actively manipulate the price of silver. People may go to jail over this. JP Morgan has all barrels pointing at them as traders are named in this suit, including senior traders at JP Morgan.”
Robert Gottlieb, who is currently a Managing Director/Trader at JP Morgan and an alleged participant in the manipulation is brought up in the lawsuit. What is interesting about Mr. Gottlieb is that in February of 2008 he made the following statement, “If you take just 1-2% of hard asset pension fund money earmarked for commodities and put that into gold, you can project much higher prices in the future than even where we are today.” The timing of the statement is so interesting because at the time Bear Stearns was massively short silver and the firm collapsed within weeks of his comments.
Guess who inherited that massive silver short position? You got it, JP Morgan. Not only did they pick up the massive silver short position, but they also picked up Mr. Gottlieb in the deal as you can see.
Stay tuned as we will have more interviews and comments from key people regarding the JP Morgan lawsuit.
Below are some critical portions from the lawsuit against JP Morgan that King World News was able to obtain. This is a 104 page document, so we just wanted to highlight key points from the suit:
1. Unlawful conduct. “Defendants combined, conspired and agreed to restrain trade in, fix, and manipulate prices of silver futures and options contracts traded in this District on the Commodity Exchange Inc. (“COMEX”) division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (“NYMEX”). Defendants thereby have violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
Also during the Class Period, certain of the Defendants, including JP Morgan, have intentionally acted to manipulate prices of COMEX silver futures and options contracts.
2. Purpose and Means. Defendants have effected their foregoing restraint of trade and manipulations in order to profit themselves. Defendants have caused declines in the price of COMEX silver, and COMEX options, and also stabilized such prices through diverse means. These means include (a) a dominant and manipulative short positions and market power manipulation; (b) repeated manipulative and uneconomic trades and trade manipulation; (c) false trades made to facilitate a trade manipulation; and (d) other acts.
3. Market Power Manipulation. (a) JP Morgan, gradually acquired control, between March 17, 2008 and August 2008, of an enormously large ounce short position in COMEX silver futures and silver that previously was held by Bear Stearns. This short position and JP Morgan’s existing COMEX short silver positions gave JP Morgan substantial market power in COMEX silver futures contracts.
4.Manipulative and Uneconomic Trades (a) During the Class Period, JP Morgan also made large manipulative trades that repeatedly caused sudden, unreasonable and artificial fluctuations in COMEX silver prices which profited JP Morgan. (b) One of these episodes occurred on August 14 and 15, 2008. JP Morgan’s trades caused a very large decline of almost $1.41 per ounce, or approximately 12%, in COMEX silver futures. This represented an approximately $220,000,000 increase in the value of JP Morgan’s COMEX silver short positions.
7. CFTC Commissioner Comment (a) Such depressions of the prices of COMEX silver futures through large uneconomic trades created benefitted JP Morgan’s extraordinarily large COMEX short position. (c) Also, these types of trades were reported to the CFTC by other persons. Plaintiffs further specifically allege that Commissioner Bart Chilton made public statements, including on October 26, 2010, to the effect that he believed there had been manipulation or related unlawful conduct in the COMEX silver futures market. “I believe that there have been repeated attempts to influence prices in the silver markets. There have been fraudulent efforts to persuade and deviously control that price. Based on what I have been told by member of the public, and reviewed in publicly available documents, I believe violations to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) have taken place in silver markets and that any such violation of the law in this regard should be prosecuted.” Bart Chilton
58. JP Morgan executed its trades on this day through, at least, a futures floor broker named Marcus Elias. Marcus Elias was a former classmate and wrestling teammate of Chris Jordan, a senior silver trader at JP Morgan. After the close of floor trading on June 26, 2007, Marcus Elias acknowledged that he had executed purchase trades for JP Morgan at or near the lows of the market. Marcus Elias also executed sell orders on behalf of JP Morgan in the morning, which contributed to the price declines, and then purchased futures on behalf of JP Morgan subsequently as the market bottomed.
65. Through its trading conduct on this day, JP Morgan intended to force traders who were short out of the money puts to cover their positions. As options on July futures approached expiration, JP Morgan had no fundamental reason to believe there would be a price move downward. Yet JP Morgan maintained its put positions until the last available day to trade these options – an economically unjustifiable action because at expiration the options would expire out of the money and worthless. However, by virtue of this large put options position, JP Morgan knew that a large and less capitalized segment of the market was conversely short options. So, rather than simply liquidate its out of the money positions at a loss, JP Morgan sold futures into the market and placed “spoof” orders to generate widespread panic. This selling forced panicked traders to systematically sell silver futures. As discussed below, this conduct was repeated again in August 2008.
The suit also names Robert Gottlieb who came to JP Morgan from Bear Stearns along with a massive silver short position which JP Morgan inherited from Bear Stearns:
c. JP Morgan’s Communications with HSBC
88. Between 1996 and 2000, Robert Gottlieb, Christopher Jordan and Michael Connolly worked together at the Precious Metals Trading Desk of HSBC and at Republic National Bank of New York, prior to its acquisition by HSBC. 89. In 2006, Jordan began his employment at JP Morgan where, until 2010, he was one of JP Morgan’s principal COMEX silver futures and options traders. 90. After a brief stint at Bank of America as a commodities trader, Mike Connolly returned to HSBC in 2007, where he served as Senior Vice President of HSBC’s Precious Metals Desk. 91. In March 2008, Robert Gottlieb began his employment at JP Morgan Chase where he presently serves as a Managing Director/Trader. 92. Prior to JP Morgan’s acquisition of Bear Stearns in 2008, Mr. Gottlieb had worked for Bear Stearns from January 2006 forward. 93. Bear Stearns, through Robert Gottlieb and others, had developed the previously alleged large Bear Stearns short position in COMEX silver futures prior to March 17, 2008. 94. Contrary to standard antitrust compliance manuals, Mr. Gottlieb regularly spoke to, and communicated and met with HSBC silver trader Mike Connolly from the time that Mr. Gottlieb joined JP Morgan until at least October 2010.
d. JP Morgan’s Motive and Financial Incentive to Cause Lower COMEX Silver Futures Prices From The Second Quarter Of 2008 Forward.
95. By the second quarter of 2008 and continuing thereafter through the end of the Class Period, JP Morgan possessed a large financial incentive to cause lower COMEX silver futures prices. Lower COMEX silver prices caused the mark to market value of JP Morgan’s short COMEX silver positions to increase. The amount of the increase in the value of JP Morgan’s short COMEX silver short positions was at least $100,000,000 and was as much in excess of $150,000,000 for each $1 decline in COMEX silver prices.
116. According to other witnesses as well, on or before August 15, 2008, brokers who often executed trades for JP Morgan accumulated a significant number of September puts that were well out of the money. 117. As prices decreased, these September puts became much closer to being in the money. Accordingly, those who had been selling these puts had to close out their positions by buying back the September puts on August 15, 2008. 118. Chris Jordan at JP Morgan was selling back large amounts of September puts on August 15 at an enormous profit.
124. In his communications with the CFTC, the whistleblower described how JP Morgan signaled its co-conspirators in advance of the manipulation, so that JP Morgan along with its co-conspirators, could reap enormous profits by artificially and unlawfully suppressing and manipulating the price of COMEX silver futures and options contracts.
Read the entire article HERE.
Jim welcomes Eric Sprott, Founder of Sprott Asset Management back to Financial Sense Newshour and discusses silver manipulation, and why he sees silver as the investment for the next decade.
Eric has accumulated 35 years of experience in the investment industry. After earning his designation as a chartered accountant, Eric entered the investment industry as a research analyst at Merrill Lynch. In 1981, he founded Sprott Securities (now called Cormark Securities Inc.), which today is one of Canada’s largest independently owned securities firms. After establishing Sprott Asset Management Inc. in December 2001 as a separate entity, Eric divested his entire ownership of Sprott Securities to its employees.
Audio Link HERE.
By Sungwoo Park
Jul 21, 2011 7:24 PM PT
The attached chart shows spot silver had “two legs up” with an interim corrective move down in the last major bull market from November 1971 through January 1980, Citigroup analysts led by New York-based Tom Fitzpatrick wrote in a report. In the current uptrend that started in November 2001, the metal jumped 5.8 times through March 2008 before slipping 60 percent, they said. The price then rebounded and tested the 1980 high earlier this year, they said.
“If the final rally in the last bull market repeated then we can expect $100 over the long term,” Fitzpatrick and two other analysts wrote. “While the high so far this year was at the same level as the peak in January 1980, we are not convinced that the long-term trend is over yet.”
Silver for immediate delivery has dropped 21 percent from an all-time high of $49.79 an ounce on April 25. Still, the precious metal has more than doubled in the past year and is the best performer on the UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index. It declined 0.4 percent to $39.26 an ounce at 9:22 a.m. in Singapore.
“The move down from the April high this year has come to an end and the double bottom is a good platform for a turn back up,” they said in the July 15 report. Fitzpatrick confirmed July 20 via e-mail that their view is unchanged.
A weekly close above $38.84 would confirm the break higher, opening the way for $44, the report said. Spot silver closed at $39.3050 last week. “A test of the trend highs again at $49 would not surprise us.”
Technical analysts watch for patterns on daily charts, such as moving averages and resistance levels, for clues to price direction.
Read the entire article HERE.
by JS Kim
Chief Investment Strategist
June 6th, 2011
Please find below my interview with Max Keiser and our discussion regarding the Greek crisis and continued banker price suppression and manipulation schemes executed against gold and silver to prop up the US dollar and prevent a US dollar collapse. Max raises the issue of the European Parliament’s move to accept gold from EU nations as collateral as reported on Zero Hedge here, which I believe is a step towards making gold acceptable as money for the purposes of debt repayment. However, this step is nothing new as Bankers have long been known to make loans in weak currencies and demand repayment in much stronger currencies before, even when dealing with fiat currencies. For example, the World Bank, which has long dispensed loans in US dollars to struggling nations, started a program in the early1990s whereby it asked nations to repay their USD loans in local currencies, fully aware of the fact that the US dollar was falling against many global currencies very rapidly. The World Bank aggressively instituted this “we lend you money in junk US dollar fiat currency and repay us in better currency” program in 15 different currencies in the early 1990s and aggressively pushed it further in the 2000s. So it is no surprise at all that the European Parliament has extended and refined this World Bank program for their own use into a “collateralize your debt with real money (physical gold) but continue to take out loans in our junk fiat currencies”.
I also discuss the shenanigans of the gold/futures silver market with Max. Here is the link to the evidence and the letter I sent to CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton in late summer of 2008 of Banker fraud in the gold futures markets and his reply to me. Mr. Chilton replied that the enormous arbitrage opportunities daily for several months in the summer of 2008 of $20, $30, $40 and $50 an ounce higher prices of gold futures in Asia versus the New York COMEX was due to Chinese banker manipulation of gold prices higher and not due to Western banker manipulation of gold prices lower. You can read, in that same article, my further line of questioning of Mr. Chilton’s response that went unanswered by the CFTC. Furthermore, I discuss with Max the recent shenanigans in gold and silver futures markets where nearly 99% of all daily transactions for the month of May, 2011 consisted of paper for paper swaps in the form of EFP (Exchange of Futures for Physical) and EFS (Exchange of Futures for Swaps). While at first the Exchange of Futures for Physical transaction may sound legitimate in name, all legitimacy disappears when one realizes that paper may be substituted for the “physical” component of this transaction.
Exchange Rule 104.36 enacted on February 18, 2005, which allows for the substitution of gold ETFs for physical gold, states that the “physical” part of the transaction “need only be substantially the economic equivalent of the futures contract being exchanged” and that “the purpose of this Notice is to confirm that the Exchange would accept gold-backed exchange-traded funds (‘ETF’) shares as the physical commodity component for an EFP transaction involving COMEX gold futures contracts, provided that all elements of a bona fide EFP pursuant to Exchange Rule 104.36 are satisfied. Thus, acceptable gold-backed and exchange-traded ETF funds include, but are not limited to, the iSharesCOMEX Gold Trust (ticker: IAU), which began trading on the American Stock Exchange on January 28, 2005.”
GATA’s Adrian Douglas first brought to my attention Exchange Rule 104.36 in his article, “Commodity Exchanges Can Dump Gold Debts on ETFs”, prompting me to search the CFTC database even further. My search revealed a further amendment to the “exchange of future for physical” transactions enacted onMarch 11, 2005. This amendment stated that “for purposes of this Rule 414, the term ‘Related Position’ [Physical] shall include, but not be limited to, a security [a group or basket of securities], an option, [or] any commodity as that term is defined by the CEA or a group or basket of any of the foregoing. The Related Position [Physical] being exchanged need not be the same as the underlying of the Futures transaction being exchanged, but the Related Position [Physical] must have a high degree of price correlation to the underlying of the Futures transaction so that the Futures transaction would serve as an appropriate hedge for the Related Position [Physical].” This amendment not only opens up PM ETFs as substitutes for the “physical” component of a gold/silver futures transaction but even other metal ETFs or physical metals that have a “high degree of price correlation” to gold and silver.
Furthermore, remember that an EFP transaction can be used to either initiate or liquidate a futures position. Thus, from this amendment, though not specifically mentioned, it is obvious that SLV shares could be used in an EFP transaction to represent the “physical silver” part of a futures transaction. If you look at my below diagram, this may also explain why a huge number of spread positions in the gold/silver futures markets are initiated from time to time in the COMEX. I have illustrated how an EFP in silver futures may work below:
In recent months, the number of EFP transactions in silver AND gold, as opposed to the number of contracts settled in cash or settled in physical delivery, has exploded. When the majority of gold/silver futures transactions daily consist of EFP and EFS transactions versus cash settlement or physical settlement, this points to a pronounced manipulation of this market and an absence of any true price discovery in gold/silver futures markets.
ZeroHedge recently reported that JP Morgan was one of the largest owners of the likely bogus SLV ETF, holding 3,600,000 shares as of the end of the 2010 fiscal year calendar. ZeroHedge also reported that bullion banks, in early May, moved 20% of COMEX physical silver out of the registered category that is available to satisfy requests for physical delivery and into the eligible category that is not “eligible” for physical delivery. Scottia Mocatta followed this significant move by transferring 186,000 of their physical silver ounces from registered to eligible as well. JP Morgan, as of the May 27th CME report, held ZERO ounces of registered silver in the COMEX vaults.
In the meantime, selling of SLV shares reached an all time high in May. What does this all mean? I’m not quite sure I have the full answer yet as I keep digging, but I’m quite certain that whatever is going on in these paper for paper swaps in the gold/silver futures markets on the COMEX is not kosher and an attempt to hide physical shortages of precious metals that exist versus the open interest numbers in gold/silver futures. The CME makes it very difficult to compile stats regarding EFS and EFP transactions because while they provide a running total of month-to-date transactions for gold/silver futures contracts settled in cash and settled through physical delivery, they do NOT provide a running total of EFS and EFP transactions month-to-date in their daily metal reports nor do they respond to any requests for such information. When one of my staff members wrote the CME and inquired if running totals were available each month for EFS and EFP transactions in gold/silver futures, the CME staff answered no. Thus, one of my staff compiled the daily totals for EFS and EFP transactions for the month of May by pulling every daily report for gold/silver futures. This is what the totals looked like from May 2 to May 26, 2011.
For gold futures, from May 2, 2011 until May 26,2011, 0.01% of transactions settled in cash, 0.27% settled in physical, 78.22% consisted of EFP and 21.50% consisted of EFS (for a combined 99.72% of all gold futures transactions in EFP and EFS). For silver futures, from May 2, 2011 until May 26, 2011, 0.19% settled in cash, 0.93% settled in physical, 85.39% consisted of EFP, and 13.49% consisted of EFS (for a combined 98.88% of all silver futures transactions in EFP and EFS). Thus these paper for (possibly) paper swaps, if that is indeed what is happening in the EFP transactions, are casting huge distortions in the price of gold and silver to the downside.
Read the entire article HERE.
By Eric Sprott & Andrew Morris
July 1, 2011
Sprott Asset Management
The recent bear raid on silver has left many concerned about the sustainability of its historic run. Silver, being a relatively obscure market for most mainstream commentators, attracted much attention in the ensuing days following the May 1 takedown. Indeed, though the 30% drop in silver occurred over only four days, seemingly all eyes were on silver, with commentators who could’ve cared less about the silver market only a couple of months ago, suddenly tripping all over one another to make the bubble call. Silver bubble 2.0? Hardly. Anyone who has been fortunate to have been invested in silver over the past few years would unfortunately be used to such blatant takedowns. The Chinese don’t call it the “Devil’s Metal” for no good reason. With so much talk these days about the risks of investing in silver, we think that perhaps it may be timely for us to weigh in on the matter. The silver market is riskier than ever, but for reasons the vast majority of pedestrian commentators have failed to grasp.
There is no doubt that speculative dollars have been flowing into the silver market. We note that in April record trading volumes were registered in the SLV1, Comex futures2, LBMA transfers3, and the Shanghai Gold Exchange futures4. In fact, converting the average daily trading volume in the aforementioned silver instruments to the amount of ounces of silver they are supposed to represent, there were on average, over 1.1 billion ounces worth of silver traded every day in the month of April5. Truly a staggering number when contrasted against the actual amount of silver available for investment. To wit, the world will only supply about 979 million ounces this year from mine and recycling of scrap, of which it is estimated that 657 million ounces will be used up for non-investment purposes6. So in effect, that leaves roughly only 322 million ounces available this year for investment purposes. Converting to days (recall that at least 1.1 billion ounces traded each day) it leaves only about 1.3 million ounces per trading day of available supply. So, we are essentially trading the amount of physical silver actually available for investment, 891 times over each day! It really begs the question; just what are people trading in these markets?
Consider the largest and most prominent of those markets – the Comex, which we believe has owned an effective monopoly on silver price discovery for decades. In fact, the Comex churned over 800 million ounces of silver futures and options on average each day in April7. Indeed, notwithstanding the massive but very opaque over-the-counter silver derivatives market, trading on the Comex dwarfs both the physical and the other (known) paper silver markets, combined. Despite its dynamics being relatively complex and generally not well understood by most, the world’s financial community continues to view trading on the Comex as representative of the fundamentals for the physical silver markets. A market built on a high amount of leverage, both the buyers and sellers of Comex futures and options contracts are able to establish a position in “silver” with pennies on the dollar in collateral and even more astonishingly, no physical silver backing the contracts at all. The following charts illustrate just how unreal these markets have become.
In chart A, we compare the total open interest in Comex futures and option contracts to the actual amount of silver held in registered inventories able to be delivered against those contracts, since 2009. In chart B, with the steeply-sloping line shows the ratio of open interest (i.e. paper silver ounces) per ounce of physical silver held in inventory. We believe the historical trend of rising open interest and falling inventories deserves considerable attention from anyone attempting to understand the silver market. And though we do note that since October 2010 the trend of rising open interest appears to have abated, the inventories have been evaporating steadily and thus the ratio of the two measures has continued to trend higher. In fact, since 2009 the ratio of paper silver to physical silver has increased fourfold from approximately 8 times to almost 33 times, where it stands today.
What is the significance of this discord between paper and physical supply on the Comex? Recall, that over 800 million ounces traded each day in April on that market. Further, consider that as at the end of April there were only 33 million ounces of registered inventories to back up all of that paper trading. Just imagine if a mere 5% of all of that buying actually stood for delivery; the entire inventories would be more than wiped out. Yet despite the steady erosion of these already scant Comex inventories – a characteristic which would surely be interpreted as most bullish in other commodity markets – the price of silver has actually declined since April. We endeavour to provide a framework for understanding this phenomenon below.
Those who were following the developments in the silver market in April and May (we note that there were many who were) will likely recall that the CME Group raised both initial and maintenance margins five times within less than a two week span effectively raising the minimum amount of capital required to participate in the silver futures market by 84%8. This is significant due to the amount of leverage in the futures market and also due to the losses resulting from the precipitous selloff which began on Sunday, May 1st, when several thousand contracts were wantonly dumped onto the very thinly traded after-hours silver futures market causing the silver price to plunge 13% within the span of less than 15 minutes9.
For example, consider a hypothetical speculative trader who went long, say 200 July 2011 SI futures contracts on April 28th. At that time this trader would have been required to post an initial margin of $2.565 million for a position of one million ounces of “silver” and thus would have been levered 18.5 times10. Below we present what the trade blotter for this trader might look like over the next few days assuming he maintained his position.
Following the initial trade, each day the trader’s positions would be marked-to-market and any losses or gains would be applied against his account’s equity balance. Should the losses on the position bring the equity balance below the maintenance margin level, the trader would be required to deposit the additional capital required to bring the equity in the account back up to at least the initial margin requirement level.
While the margin increases alone would have forced a decision for this leveraged long to either post the additional margin or close enough positions to bring margin balances in line with substantially higher requirements, the trader was actually fighting a battle on two fronts. This is because in addition to the margin increases, the trader was also experiencing massive losses to his capital due to a rapidly falling silver price. So it is also important to consider the extent of losses to the trader’s equity following the precipitous drop which began on the evening of May 1st. In our scenario, before finding a bottom around May 17th, the cumulative losses would have amounted to over $14 million, or over five times the initial margin deposit of $2.565 million that was required to take on the position on April 28th. This meant that with margin call after margin call, the capital committed to the position ballooned almost 700% by the time the silver price finally bottomed in mid May. The significance of such a dramatic erosion of capital on a leveraged position cannot be overstated, particularly in the context of rising margin requirements. The CME Group would know this very well, and so it strikes us as particularly suspect that they would continue to raise margin rates in the face of such a sharp selloff. A selloff, we might add, which emanated from highly unusual trading activity on May 1st that, in our opinion, just reeks of manipulation. How else can one explain the dumping of several thousand SI futures contracts within the course of 15 minutes, in one of the most illiquid hours of trading, without seemingly any regard for price or a fundamental catalyst to speak of11? Though we will let the reader connect the dots as to what the intent of the CME Group and the seller’s of SI futures contracts on May 1st really was, we can certainly observe what effect these actions had on the market by looking further into the weekly Commitments of Traders (COT) reports published by the CFTC.
The COT provides us with the weekly open interest held by various categories of silver futures market participants, and thus gives us clues as to how these participants reacted in response to these margin increases and ensuing volatility. We present the following table showing net open interest for the various categories, converted into silver ounces, which we obtained from the COT report for selected dates.
First, note how in the three weeks following the margin hikes, the speculative12 net long position dropped from 212.7 million ounces to 170.1 million. This very clearly indicates that the speculative longs, when faced with rising margin requirements and losses to capital, did close out a substantial amount of their long positions. The commercials who were short those 212.7 million ounces appear to have been taking every opportunity to cover their own positions. Rather than shorting further into the ensuing weakness, the commercials covered approximately 42.6 million ounces in the three week period.
Another piece of information gleaned from the COT data is that despite what many commentators were hailing as a bubble caused by excessive speculation in the futures markets, the net speculative long positions had in fact been dropping over time. Even during the April run up preceding the five margin hikes, the net speculative long position actually decreased by 23%.
That commercial short position deserves further mention. What is unique and of interest to many silver market observers is not only the size of the short position on the Comex, which is dominated by those “commercials”, but also the concentration of the short interest. We provide the percentage of the total open interest held by the four largest short sellers on a net basis in the table above. Note that the net position of the four largest equates to 29% of the total open interest as of May 17th. Further we would also note that the concentrated short interest of the big four, though still quite high has actually dropped substantially over the past year coinciding with the signing of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the resultant public discourse on position limits. Comments from CFTC commissioner Bart Chilton acknowledging the “repeated attempts to influence prices in the silver markets,” and that, “violations to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) have taken place in silver markets and that any such violation of the law in this regard should be prosecuted,” perhaps have also had an impact on the behavior of silver market participants.13 And though the CFTC’s investigation into the silver futures and options market remains open after three years, we remain hopeful that its findings will further serve the interests of the investing public who rightly expect a fair and transparent silver market void of manipulative forces.
Could the drop in open interest and the reduction of the concentration in the commercial short open interest be perceived as an indication that those top four short-sellers are positioning for the inevitable imposition of position limits rules? Perhaps, and if so, it would follow that likely the short sellers seized the opportunity to further reduce their “liabilities” by buying up contracts in early May at a 30% discount.
Let there be no mistake, we view the current setup as extremely bullish. In our view, whatever froth and excess was present in the paper markets has likely been shaken out in the recent selloff. The remaining longs do not seem willing to part with their silver at these prices. These are the strong hands with longer time horizons that are likely not overly leveraged or are willing and able to withstand substantial volatility. Moreover, perhaps the “game” on the paper silver markets which has been meticulously documented over decades by Ted Butler14 and others, will soon be coming to an end.
What is perhaps most important is that despite what has recently transpired in the paper silver markets, the robust demand fundamentals for silver have not changed in our view. For confirmation of this, look no further than the physical silver market (i.e. the real silver market) which is providing us with evidence almost daily of a sustained bull market for physical silver. The US Mint recently stated that, “demand for American Silver Eagle Coins remains at unprecedented high levels.”15 Likewise for the Perth Mint16, the Austrian Mint17, and the Royal Canadian Mint18 as well. The Chinese, who were net exporters of silver only four years ago, imported 300% more silver in 2010 than 2009 and such large quantities of imports are expected to continue19. Last year, Indian silver imports increased nearly six-fold, and this year consumption is expected to rise nearly 43% according to the Bombay Bullion Association20. In Utah, silver (along with gold, of course) will now be accepted in weight value as legal tender21. According to Hugo Salinas-Price, a prominent Mexican billionaire, there is now “very strong support for the monetization of silver” in the Mexican congress22. We suspect the Europeans are likely to account for an increasing amount of silver purchases going forward as well. In fact, we just can’t imagine a better outlook for silver fundamentals. This really makes us question who could be short such massive quantities of silver and why? Particularly in those leveraged paper silver markets, where as we demonstrated, only a fraction of the outstanding notional ounces are actually available in physical quantity.
We have a very tough time understanding those bearish arguments against silver. We look at the real silver market, and based on the supply and demand data coming from the real, physical markets for silver, the fundamentals are only getting stronger. And yet there exists another silver market, which as we’ve shown, is not very connected to the physical realm at all. And though silver investors have for decades suffered the tyranny of a rigged paper monopoly over silver price discovery, it appears to us that the tides are turning. In the age of QE to infinity, investors are being more scrupulous with their capital and as such they are demanding physical silver in quantity. With more and more dollars flowing into the silver markets and a finite supply of physical to meet that demand, the theoretical losses for the paper silver short-sellers are near infinite. And with such a skewed and obvious risk/reward payoff vastly favoring the longs, we pose the following question. Who is most at risk in the silver markets: the buyers of a scarce and real asset that serves a growing multitude of purposes, or the sellers, who are short a quantity of silver which may very well not even be obtainable at anywhere near current prices? Let the Seller Beware!
Original Article HERE.
4 http://www.sge.sh/publish/sgeen/sge_price/sge_price_daily/index.htm5 Source: Bloomberg, CME Group, LBMA, Shanghai Gold Exchange. Figure also includes trading of Comex silver options which had registered a record open interest in the month of April.
6 Andrew Kaip, David Haughton and John Hayes. “A New Paradigm for Silver: Demand is Expected to Outstrip Production Growth,” BMO Capital Markets. April 3, 2011, p. 35. Note: “Non-investment” demand includes industrial, silverware, and photographic demand
10 A trader can always post more than the required amount of margin in his account.
12 For explanatory notes including definitions for each category of trader listed on the COT, please visit: http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/
14 For further information please visit http://www.butlerresearch.com/archive-free.asp
19 Andrew Kaip, David Haughton and John Hayes. “A New Paradigm for Silver: Demand is Expected to Outstrip Production Growth,” BMO Capital Markets. April 3, 2011, p. 17
When Faith In U.S. Dollars And U.S. Debt Is Dead The Game Is Over – And That Day Is Closer Than You May Think
May 27th, 2011
A day is coming when the rest of the world will decide that it no longer has faith in U.S. dollars or in U.S. debt. When that day arrives, the game will be over. Traditionally, two of the biggest things that the U.S. economy has had going for it were the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasuries. The U.S. dollar has been the default reserve currency of the world for decades. All over the globe it was seen as a strong, stable currency that was desirable for international trade. U.S. government debt has long been considered the “safest debt” in the entire world. Whenever there was a major crisis, investors would flock to U.S. Treasuries because they were considered a rock. Sadly, all of this is now changing. Today the rest of the world is losing faith in the U.S. financial system. In fact, even the United Nations is now warning of the collapse of the dollar. But if the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasuries collapse, that will be an absolute nightmare for the U.S. economy. If the rest of the world does not want our dollars someday, then what are we going to give them in exchange for all of the oil and all of the cheap imported goods they send us? If the rest of the world does not want our debt someday, then how in the world are we going to be able to continue to consume far, far more wealth than we produce?
The rest of the world is watching the U.S. government run up record-setting budget deficits and they are watching the Federal Reserve print money like there is no tomorrow and they realize that the U.S. financial system is slowly imploding.
As mentioned above, now even the United Nations is warning that the U.S. dollar could collapse. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent news report put out by Reuters….
The United Nations warned on Wednesday of a possible crisis of confidence in, and even a “collapse” of, the U.S. dollar if its value against other currencies continued to decline.
In a mid-year review of the world economy, the UN economic division said such a development, stemming from the falling value of foreign dollar holdings, would imperil the global financial system.
But it is not just the United Nations that is concerned about the U.S. dollar.
On April 18th, Standard & Poor’s altered its outlook on U.S. government debt from “stable” to “negative” and warned that the U.S. could soon lose its prized AAA rating.
At one time, it would have been unthinkable for Standard & Poor’s to do such a thing.
But today it is amazing that it has taken them so long to make such a move. U.S. government finances are falling apart.
When the credit rating of U.S. government debt starts declining, interest rates will go up. Just ask the government of Greece how painful that can be. Today, Greece is paying over 16 percent on 10 year bonds.
The following is what John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics recently had to say about why Standard & Poor’s issued such a warning about U.S. government debt….
S&P is noting the U.S. government’s long-range fiscal problems. Generally, you’ll find that the accounting for unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other programs on a net-present-value (NPV) basis indicates total federal debt and obligations of about $75 trillion. That’s 15 times the gross domestic product (GDP). The debt and obligations are increasing at a pace of about $5 trillion a year, which is neither sustainable nor containable. If the U.S. was a corporation on a parallel basis, it would be headed into bankruptcy rather quickly.
Look, the rest of the world is not stupid. They know that the U.S. government is hurtling towards financial disaster. The appetite among foreigners for U.S. government debt is decreasing rapidly.
In fact, according to Zero Hedge, foreigners are dumping U.S. debt at a very rapid pace right now.
In addition, the cost to insure U.S. debt has risen sharply in recent days.
Right now, the Federal Reserve has been buying up most new U.S. government debt with dollars that it has created out of thin air. This is a giant Ponzi scheme, and it is a major contributing factor to the decline of faith in the U.S. dollar.
The dollar has fallen by 17 percent compared to other major national currencies since 2009. What makes that fact even sadder is that all major currencies have been rapidly losing value compared to hard assets over that time period. The dollar is just sliding faster than almost all of the other global currencies that are constantly losing value as well.
Anyone with half a brain could have seen that this would be the end result of reckless government borrowing, but unfortunately our politicians have been ignoring this problem for decades.
Now a day or reckoning is fast approaching and it is going to be very painful.
The U.S. government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world. Just consider a few shocking facts about this unprecedented debt….
*If the U.S. national debt (more than 14 trillion dollars) was reduced to a stack of 5 dollar bills, it would reach three quarters of the way to the moon.
*The U.S. government borrows about 168 million dollars every single hour.
*If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
*It is now being projected that by the year 2021, interest payments on the national debt will amount to $1.1 trillion dollars a year.
In a previous article on The American Dream, I detailed some more absolutely horrifying statistics about U.S. government debt….
#1 If you divide the national debt up equally among all U.S. households, each one owes a staggering $125,475.18.
#2 The federal government has borrowed 29,660 more dollars per household since Barack Obama signed the economic stimulus law two years ago.
#3 During Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.
#4 In the new budget that the Obama administration has proposed, the U.S. government would spend 3.7 trillion dollars in 2012 and by 2021 the U.S. government would be spending a whopping 5.6 trillion dollars per year.
#5 The U.S. government currently has to borrow approximately 41 cents of every single dollar that it spends.
#6 The total compensation that the federal government workforce earned last year came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#7 The U.S. national debt is currently rising by well over 4 billion dollars every single day.
#8 The U.S. government is borrowing over 2 million more dollars every single minute.
#9 The U.S. national debt is over 14 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.
#10 Unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare are estimated to be well over $100 trillion, and nobody in the U.S. government seems to have any idea how we are actually even going to come close to meeting all of those obligations.
#11 If you were alive when Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now. But this year alone the U.S. government is going to go about 1.6 trillion dollars more into debt.
#12 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.
So have our politicians learned anything from the mistakes of the past?
The U.S. government continues to spend money on some of the most ridiculous things imaginable. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services has just announced a brand new $500 million program that will, among other things, seek to solve the problem of 5-year-old children that “can’t sit still” in a kindergarten classroom.
Isn’t it good to see the government investing our hard-earned tax dollars so wisely?
Of course if our kids weren’t being constantly fed foods packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and aspartame we wouldn’t have to spend 500 million dollars to deal with this problem.
When it comes to government waste, nobody seems to do it any better than the U.S. government.
Our politicians continue to assume that the rest of the world will always want our dollars and our debt, but that is simply not the case.
Over the past couple of years, global leader after global leader has publicly talked about the need for a new world reserve currency.
In fact, globalist institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank have been very busy discussing what the world is going to use as a global reserve currency after the death of the dollar.
The rest of the world is not sitting around waiting to see if the U.S. financial system is going to recover. They are already making plans for the demise of the dollar. They are increasingly using other currencies to trade with. They are becoming more hesitant to buy more of our debt. They are realizing that the days of U.S. dominance are coming to an end.
So what is that going to mean for us?
It is going to be a complete and total disaster.
Right now, we live far, far beyond our means. We borrow gigantic piles of money to make up the difference between what we produce and what we consume. We are absolutely dependent on the fact that the rest of the world will take our dollars in exchange for the things that we need.
The current situation is not sustainable.
It will come to an end.
When it does, our standard of living is going to feel like it has changed overnight.
Read the entire article HERE.
Road To Hyperinflation: James Turk
by Michael Piromgraipakd
May 23, 2011
Welcome back, I hope everyone made it back from Rapture in one piece. Leaving where we left off last week before hiding in my underground shelter, I never had the chance to discuss or address the topic of Silver and it’s recent plunge on May 6, 2011 to $34.00 from it’s near historic high of $49 and some change. There are Gold Bugs and then there are the people who believe Silver will blow the socks off of Gold. Don’t tell but I am one. The week following May 6, people were calling the 30%, $15 drop a correction and I will admit I thought it was too. However, 30% in that short amount of time is not a correction and in the back of my mind I thought manipulation. Seeing as how $50 is considered the psychological threshold for silver and as other precious metals were skyrocketing, Silver breaking this barrier would have destroyed the confidence in the US Dollar. Of course no one wants the dollar or the economy to die, yet the Federal Reserve continues to print more dollars which in itself erodes and devalues the dollar. A hedge for inflation of course is Gold and it’s little sister Silver. If people load up on Gold and Silver and ditch the greenback, well guess what happens. So you see the irony in this. To keep metals at bay, someone must make more imaginary units of Gold and in this particular case, Silver in the form of ETF’s. It’s a vicious circle. Gov’t prints more money… people scared money will become worthless… people buy precious metals… Gov’t scared so they print more ETF’s which make metals drop in value. But the big “clue you in” moment here is, there are not as many real pieces of silver as there are contracts (ETF’s) for them. That means there is and there will continue to be a serious short squeeze in the physical silver market. For example, the physical stocks of silver on the COMEX continue to dwindle from 87,000,000 ounces in 2009 to a little over 32,000,000 ounces a mere 2 years later. That’s 27,500,000 ounces per year. This year there are 32,000,000 and if the “dwindle” rate is 27,500,000 in 2012 COMEX will have 4,500,000 ounces of Silver. You can imagine what will happen in 2013.
In searching for answers I came across this interview by David Morgan and other precious metals gurus discussing the recent events. Speakers include David Morgan (Host), Eric Sprott, Bill Murphy, Rob Kirby, Bob Quartermain, Sean SGTReport and James Anderson in for Mike Maloney.
Enjoy and Happy Rapture Day:
May 9, 2011
As we warned our readers on May 1, 2011, when silver had clawed its way back to about $48 per ounce: “We expect another massive price attack in the next few days.”
We came to this conclusion based upon a number of factors, including the impending opening of the Hong Kong Merchantile Exchange, which will be controlled by many of the same international players who control NYMEX. Like clockwork, a vicious attack, perhaps the most ferocious one ever mounted in the history of precious metals, began on Monday, May 2, 2011. We knew it was coming, but to be honest, we didn’t expect the level of ferocity. Following our own suggestions, when silver had tanked by about 18%, we entered into a small speculative long position, using the SIVR silver trust. The price punched right through the minor support level we had chosen, and continued down.
Had we realized the depth of the silver short seller despair, we would have played the game a bit differently. We would have waited longer, bought a lot more later on, and created a much longer term position. As it is, we have lost nearly nothing, and will do it anyway. Nevertheless, as irrational as this kind of thinking is, and as much as we warn people against it, human beings are human beings and we are not happy about putting on a little bet, no matter how small, that fails to catch the bottom of a dip.
The level of despair among short sellers, which is motivating this attack, is growing. Anything could happen at this point. They could give up entirely, or the attack could become more ferocious. We don’t know. What we do know is that the short sellers’ predicament has just grown worse. They will eventually become even more desperate than they are now as weeks and months pass by. We will explain why shortly.
New and ever larger performance bond deposit requirements are being announced by the NYMEX so-called “clearing house risk committee” (performance bond committee) almost every other day. On top of these substantial increases, the individual clearing members are often making even bigger demands and hiking up performance bond requirements even higher.
We cannot help but wonder if some of these clearing members are themselves short silver, or if they are deathly afraid that other clearing members will default, leaving them footing the bill? Or are they trying to help attack their own customers? To the extent that a clearing member is raising performance bonds above the level of the exchange, customers should say goodbye and never do business with them again.
According the official spokesperson for CME Group, which owns NYMEX, the performance bond increases are designed to address “increased risk”. If this were so, however, such changes would apply only to short sellers and new long buyers who purchased up in the higher price ranges. Most of the older long buyers were sitting on huge profits from the upward movement of silver, when the new bond requirements were imposed in the $49 range. They posed no greater risk at all than they did back when they made their purchases at $18, $20, $25 per ounce, etc.
But the exchange and its dealers don’t play the game that way. Instead, they apply these changes to everyone, even people who may have bought when silver was down near $18 per ounce, even though these older position holders pose no greater risk of defaulting than before. The exchange committee members are quite expert at all this, and are well aware that the net effect of what they were doing would be to throw people involuntarily out of positions. The effect is carefully calculated and thought out, and is part of the overall process used to artificially control silver prices.
Coupled with the sudden increased performance in bonds, there has been an all-out media effort to convince people that a “bubble is bursting” even though, as we will shortly explain, anyone who is worth his salt as an analyst knows it isn’t true. There has NEVER been any bubble in silver in 2011, and therefore, it cannot possibly “burst”. There has simply been an unwinding of a grossly underpriced asset that has been subject to a multi-year price suppression effort.
Be that as it may, this downturn provides, for the first time in a long time, more than mere gambling opportunities. Highly leveraged and undercapitalized speculators have been kicked out of their positions, and they had pushed the price of silver up very fast. It would have gone to the same levels, anyway, and beyond, but the process would have been slower and steadier if the market had been limited to cash buyers and well-capitalized investors.
We have been carefully observing the methods used in this attack and have reached some conclusions. The attack is not sophisticated. It is NOT rocket science. The method is so simple that it is astounding that so few people see it for what it is. Regulators could put an end to it any time they want to. They simply don’t want to. That means, of course, that they are essentially complicit. There are genuine folks over at CFTC, like Commissioner Bart Chilton, but they are operating at an agency which is structurally corrupted, with a revolving door swapping employees to and from the regulator and those who are supposed to be regulated.
The current price attack involves an overwhelming creation of transient short positions that last less than one day. This is expensive to do in terms of upfront cash. But it isn’t quite as expensive as it may seem at first glance. Each day, except on Friday, May 6th, more than 10,000 short positions appeared to be transiently created, closed and recreated during the trading day. This must have required posting at least $180 million in performance bonds. However, to give credit to the ingenuity of the manipulators, most cash is recouped by the end of the trading day. With access to Federal Reserve loan windows, putting up an infinite amount of upfront fiat cash in the morning of a trading day is no deterrent.
From what we can see, this is what they are doing, in a highly coordinated fashion:
1) Either using control over the exchange committee system to induce sudden hikes in performance bond requirements, or opportunistically using such hikes. The hikes soften up the market by causing an initial destabilization of accounts of overleveraged long position holders. Some of the big clearing members of NYMEX have enhanced this effect by raising their own requirements higher than the exchange committee, and thereby softening up their own customers more substantially;
2) Using analysts to make extensive commentary to the mass media to the effect that the “silver bubble has burst” in the hope of inducing fear in the marketplace, further softening it up, in preparation for step 3.
3) Using trading “bots” to transiently create thousands and, sometimes, tens of thousands of intra-day short positions, designed to soak up opportunistic buying by better capitalized long side oriented investors. The flooding of the market with this paper supply of imaginary “silver” prevents futures based prices from rising and triggers stop-loss orders among leveraged customers.
4) Closing most intra-day positions into the mass of involuntary liquidations. Sometimes, “artillery” is left on the battlefield by the close of the day. This happens when transient short positions cannot be fully unloaded. In other words, the bots are competing with heavy buying from well-capitalized buyers who now want to pay the “bargain” prices created by the bots, and taking over those positions before the bots have the opportunity to buy them back. This shows up as a net increase in the “open interest” in silver, even as the price is falling. That aberrant result is impossible if a bubble were really “bursting”, because we would have run out of such buyers by now;
5) Rinsing and repeating the same process the next day, and on various days after that, allowing for a few “up” days centered around points of natural technical support, in order to preserve plausible deniability.
Again, CME officials claim that the sudden margin changes are motivated by “high volatility”, and that their actions are not a cause for the recent crash of silver prices. That is disingenuous at best. The changes are not “motivated” by high volatility — they are the initial cause of the volatility. They knowingly destabilized the accounts of highly leveraged buyers. Those buyers were highly leveraged because the exchange previously encouraged high leverage by marking down performance bond requirements. Sudden upward adjustment of performance bonds creates an opening for trading “bots” to move in, and helps make the manipulation less costly.
If performance bonds were never set in the first place, at ridiculous ultra-low levels, then suddenly raised, then suddenly lowered, over and over again – which is exactly what the exchange has done for years – prices would be stable. Substantial performance bonds, kept the same at ALL times, would mean no “pie-in-the-sky” undercapitalized long buyers drawn into the market. The ability of the manipulators to flush them out, collect their performance bonds, and periodically crash commodity prices would end.
In that scenario, silver and gold would transform back to their 10,000 year old role as the most stable stores of value that exist, and conservative investors would convert their fiat cash, stocks and bonds into precious metals. That is a nightmare scenario for western central bankers, because it is a severe threat to the long term profits of the commercial casino-banks they service, whose tight control over the world economy facilitates the sale of derivatives and control over the contingencies that trigger such derivatives. This tight control cannot exist in an honest money gold/silver base monetary system, and is based primarily upon control of paper and electronic money printing presses
But, in spite of the incredible power of the central banks standing behind them, short sellers are losing this war. Their surface “success” is an illusion. Instead of escaping from liability, their liability is growing. In spite of the propaganda machine, the attack by clearing members against their own customers, and the trading bots, buying interest has remained incredibly high. This is exemplified by the fact that not all of the tens of thousands of transient intra-day short contracts have been closed by the end of the trading day. That is NOT a sign of a bursting bubble but, rather, of just the opposite.
In a normal market, the cost of a relatively fixed supply of goods will always result in rising prices when the number of purchase contracts rise. This is because demand has increased while supply has stayed roughly the same. But, not in our corrupted futures markets. On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, CME Group records show that the silver bars underlying 23 contracts were delivered. That should have reduced “open interest” contracts by 23. Instead, there was a net INCREASE that day of “same-month” positions by 10 contracts. In other words, short sellers will now need to deliver 165,000 additional ounces of silver this month.
On Friday, May 6, 2011, the short sellers must have been proud of themselves. They were able to deliver 243 contracts, or 1.2 million ounces of silver, which is a huge amount. But, the open interest for May delivery only declined by 13 contracts, which means that the artificially cheap prices attracted 230 new long contract buyers who paid cash. The new contracts will need to be delivered this month. As hard as it must have been to find the silver for May 6th delivery, they are now forced to find another 1.15 million ounces somewhere.
The so-called “spot” price is now largely irrelevant, but short sellers have still not acknowledged that fact to themselves. Intense physical silver demand continues. This is amply illustrated by continued backwardation. Dealers at COMEX and the LBMA may create fake prices at will, but the cash market is their achilles’ heel. Short sellers have put paper silver on a fire sale at the futures exchanges. Yet they have not improved their position by doing so. They have, instead, insured a worse problem. Cash buyers put the fear of God in the hearts of silver manipulators. Cash buyers can put them into bankruptcy, destroy their power over the market, and discredit the futures markets, LBMA and the central bankers by inducing multiple defaults.
New “urban” myths about mysterious eastern billionaires buying up silver have spread quickly. On April 28, 2011, silver was selling for a high of $49 per ounce. The open interest had fallen to as low as 129,711 as short sellers slowly capitulated, and serious cash buyers took the bait. Allowing higher and higher fiat prices was effective in allowing open short positions to be closed, which is what short sellers must do before it is too late. On one day, for example, in early Asian trading, prices rose temporarily by over 10%. Asian short sellers were breaking ranks and buying back positions at any price. Then the bull-headed spirit of their European and American comrades awoke, and the current attack on silver prices began.
The market is NOT becoming dispirited or shell-shocked, as would have once been the case under similar conditions. Instead, we are seeing heavy buying by well capitalized long buyers who have probably read Andrew McGuire’s emails. They now know the score. They know that this is simply a manipulation event. As of May 5, 2011, the open interest had already risen to 134,804. The evil “Empire” is facing 5,093 new long positions. Two hundred sixty six of those are “same-month” positions, bought with a 100% cash, and need to be delivered this month.
Tens of thousands of other positions have changed hands. The trading “bots” managed to close most of their intra-day shorts into margin calls and stop loss orders, but have not accomplished much in terms of the level of open interest. Tens of thousands of existing contracts plus 5,093 additional hard long positions were unintentionally created by the trading bots, and all of these are now transferred from undercapitalized longs who would never have taken delivery, into much stronger hands.
The percentage of contracts, going forward, that will be forced into delivery as the months pass, will rise as a result of the transfer from weak to strong hands, and the silver short sellers’ problem is now bigger. New buyers have streamed in and bought at lower prices. That is the natural response of any bull market to a major manipulation event like this one. Silver is in a secular bull market. That has not changed as a result of a manipulation event. In fact, nothing has changed, except the unfavorable position of the silver short side manipulators, who are facing a much worse picture now than they did before they started this manipulation.
They have collected performance bond “candy” from undercapitalized investment “babies”. But, they need much more. Short sellers need to create the type of dispirited shell-shocked market they managed to create in late 2008. The effort, back then, made use of the demise of Lehman Brothers to offload hundreds of billions of dollars worth of short positions in all the precious metals in the OTC derivatives market. So far, however, this manipulation event isn’t working very well. The only way to bring the number of positions down is to allow the price to rise substantially.
If they abandon the effort now, as Friday’s action implies they might, it will be impossible for them to shift their short term price reduction into a longer term situation of altered market perceptions, which is their end goal. The Federal Reserve can give them as much cash as they need to mount as many paper-based attacks as they want, but it can’t give them physical silver. Short sellers will need to “put up” or “shut up”. They need to pay the price for their misconduct over many years.
Short sellers have proven to be so bull-headed that one has to doubt whether they will do the smart thing. The next move might be to flood physical markets with newly “cashed out” baskets of silver bars from the SLV silver trust stockpile. That might dampen pressure from increasing demand, and might even meet the immediate need for physical delivery in the OTC cash markets. Over the long run, however, assuming that the price remains discounted, the bars will quickly disappear and as they raid the stockpile, others will buy SLV shares and also raid the stockpile. SLV may end up stripped of its silver.
Does SLV really have the full amount of silver claimed? It does have a solid-seeming inspection report that says it does. If it doesn’t, we may be finding out soon enough. If those who have been dismissed as paranoid people end up being right, and there is not enough silver in the stockpile to cover claims, jail cells will be waiting. The CME Group clearing house risk committee can raise performance bonds to 100% of the amount that long buyers paid for their positions in silver. They can even raise it higher than that, but only at the risk of jail cells, and/or triple damages that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy for its individual members. Meanwhile, manipulators can continue to flood the market with bidding-bots and intra-day transient short positions. They can theoretically absorb all the buying pressure if they are stubborn enough.
They can continue to raid the SLV stockpile to make deliveries, and spin those withdrawals to the media as the “public getting out of silver”. But this is not 1980. No one remotely similar to Nelson Bunker Hunt is relying on bank financing to corner the silver market using leveraged positioning. Price pressure is from the cash physical market, not derivatives. COMEX is relatively irrelevant. Nothing the manipulators can do in derivatives markets will relieve the physical market pressure.
Short sellers have replaced weak hands with strong ones who are much more likely to take delivery. This manipulation episode will dramatically unwind, just as it dramatically began, when silver short sellers capitulate, as they must. Prices will shoot far beyond the recent high levels. “Bottom picking”, therefore, may be nice but it isn’t absolutely necessary. The prospective price appreciation over the next few months or years should overwhelm any differences in price right now. It won’t matter whether you bought at $50, $40, $35, $20 etc. In a few months, the price will likely be back up, and, in a few years, the price will be many multiples of all those numbers.
Technical support levels still have meaning because manipulators want it to be so. Cash fueled trading “bots”, filled to the brim with Federal Reserve funny money, can be programmed to open as many transient intra-day short positions as needed to punch right through any support levels. But manipulators must preserve an illusion of natural market movement. We can expect loose adherence to chart patterns, allowing bounces where appropriate, and then, punch-throughs.
The only way a psychologically depressed market could now be achieved is by crash prices beneath the long-term trend line, which is around $22.50 per ounce. This would require hundreds of millions of additional trading bot dollars to do. They might try it, at some point, but more likely, they will give up for the moment and return to a slow capitulation. Even if they do push prices down below $22.50, we doubt it would work for very long. Such a battering would cause heavy technical damage, but as noted, this market is not being driven by technical trends.
If they don’t achieve the sub-$22.50 level, even most technical analysts relied upon by the big non-manipulation-involved hedge funds and other big players will assume that the silver bull market is still running and that this is merely a deep correction. They will buy back in and run the price back up. In other words, if the manipulators do not achieve a sustainable self-perpetuating shell-shocked market, as was achieved in late 2008, the manipulators will not be able to close short positions without great losses.
It may be possible to use technical analysis to make intra-day, or multi-day gambles on bounces. We would not feel comfortable, however, with recommending that this be done with substantial capital, because the manipulators could suddenly attack again at any time. If they decide to punch through the strong technical support level at $33-34, they will do so with everything they’ve got. They will need to take down the price very quickly because they need to get it done before so much of the month has passed that they will be impaired in their ability to gather silver to make delivery in the OTC market.
You must think long term now before entering this silver market, because you may well get stuck with a silver position for a longer term than you may expect. But if the manipulators do press the price down below the $22.50 level, you should buy with every dollar you have available, because even though things will look bleak by then, with every media outlet heralding the “bursting of the silver bubble”, a few months later, the price will be back to way above $50 again. Prefacing the big fall will probably be a huge technical rally in the U.S. dollar, and a big fall in the stock market. These events may not happen until the end of QE-2 in late June.
On the other hand, if you don’t buy now, and, instead rely on the forlorn hope that manipulators will push hard enough to take prices into $20-22 level, you may well lose the excellent opportunities that now exist. There is no way to know, in a manipulated market, whether the manipulators will decide to punch through a particular support level. As we have stated in previous articles, the better way to deal with this is to pick a reasonable price level acceptable to your pocketbook, put in a buy order, and wait. If your buy order is successful, and the price turns up immediately, great. If not, be secure in knowing that you have a long term view, and a position in an asset destined for much more appreciation than we’ve ever seen before, over the next few years.
In short, it is time to stop thinking about short term gambling, because no metric you use is safe against the depredations of a manipulation that regulators refuse to stop. Buy with the long term in mind and wait for the market to punish the manipulators, which it will. Take physical delivery if you buy at the futures markets. Remember, the primary value of precious metals is NOT in making “big money” from gambling in the banker-controlled gambling casinos. We have always strongly suggested that only very small gambles like those you would make in Las Vegas should be made on a speculative basis. But buying on big dips, like this one, is not a speculative undertaking. It is long-term investing. The long term power of silver, like gold and platinum, is to preserve the buying power you’ve worked for all your life.
The powers-that-be want the U.S. dollar and all other paper fiat currencies to lose value every year. In fact, 2% inflation is their openly stated goal. If you consider compounding, that is an inflation rate that destroys the value of money very rapidly. But the true inflation rate in America is already closer to 6%, not anywhere near the low official numbers that the government likes to report to the media. With a huge increase in the amount of circulating funny-money liquidity around the world, including but not limited to the U.S. dollar, inflation is likely to rise much more sharply from here forward all over the world, not just in the U.S.A. The willingness to tackle this inflation, on the part of policy-makers, is very limited because serious efforts involve a lot of pain to powerful constituencies.
Investing in precious metals means converting U.S. dollars, pounds, euros, etc., into hard “money” that can be manipulated in price, but which cannot be debased. Manipulation has its limits, and since it appears to have been happening in the gold and silver markets for decades, in one form or another, the unwinding that is now beginning will just get more intense with time. No matter what technical support levels they target and take out, the short sellers are not going to extricate themselves without paying big bucks. Knowledge of how the price suppression scheme operates is in the public domain, and it is highly unlikely that manipulators will succeed in shell-shocking markets with their shenanigans, nor suppressing prices, for any significant period of time.
The next step to control prices for several more months will be borrowing enough money from the Fed’s loan windows to keep their trading bots active whenever some type of opportunity presents itself, and to become even more aggressive using control of exchange mechanisms to continue sudden increases in performance bonds. Because SLV shareholders tend to be unaware of the fact that they are dealing in a manipulated market, they continue to buy and sell the trust at whatever the spot price may be manipulated to. Thus, short sellers can use opportunistic futures markets attacks to raid SLV silver stockpiles “on the cheap”.
This should allow them to obtain enough silver to meet physical delivery demands, and even to periodically flood physical markets. Meanwhile, the reduction in the stockpiles will be spun into a claim that the “bubble is bursting” as “big players” “sell” SLV shares. In fact, they are not selling at all but, rather, cashing shares for silver to meet delivery demands. We doubt, for this reason, that the speculations about impending COMEX defaults have any basis in fact.
Silver investors should understand that the ride is going to be a roller coaster, as it always has been. Going forward, the intensity of that thrill ride is likely to increase proportionally to the desperation of short sellers. The biggest threat to silver prices will be the supposed end of QE-2. Short sellers are likely to view it as another opportunity to attack. But July is also a big delivery month in silver, and the delivery demand will be considerably higher than now, as a result of this price attack and the replacement of weak hands with strong ones.
If the manipulators had strong faith that the cessation of QE will save them, they wouldn’t have launched the ongoing attack we are now suffering through. The most likely outcome of the end of quantitative …
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