Strange Days, Indeed

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 - 12:28pm

Most peculiar, mama...

There's so much weird stuff going on, some days it's nearly impossible to know where to start. The Fed and other central banks have so gummed-up the system with their money printing, that almost all traditional methods of analysis, both technical and fundamental, are useless. The financial media, which is either completely uninformed/uneducated or complicit (or both!), SPINs and MOPEs nearly every headline into something it's not, adding significance to the unsignificant and downplaying or outright misreporting those items which truly are important. The result is this current state of bewilderment, a house of mirrors where nothing is as it appears to be.

I just wrote a lengthy essay about this back in October ( so it's not productive to plow that same territory again today. However, I have found some very strange divergences for you to ponder and I need you to consider them within this context.

Below is a table of data taken from various silver CoT reports over the last two years. I've tried to pinpoint information from six, different periods of either price tops or price bottoms. You'll note that, though this is not an exact science, we'll nonetheless be able to draw a few conclusions at the end.


12/31/12 38,291 9,104 4.2:1 45,415 90,751 2.00:1 $29--> ?

8/14/12 32,317 16,730 1.93:1 47,797 71,199 1.49:1 28-->35

12/27/11 24,026 17,171 1.40:1 41,224 55,356 1.34:1 27-->37

10/4/11 23,859 11,959 1.99:1 39,584 58,507 1.48:1 28-->35

6/28/11 27,439 11,441 2.40:1 36,894 66,060 1.79:1 33-->44

1/25/11 38,699 10,473 3.70:1 29,818 72,964 2.45:1 28-->49

So, what deductions, if any, can we draw from this relatively small sample size?

  • First of all, don't get too sidetracked by the gross numbers as they are relative to the total open interest. This is why I've calculated the net long ratio of the specs and the net short ratio of the Cartel.
  • If you throw out the 1/25/11 data, which preceded the HUGE move from 28-49, you see that the average net long ratio of the specs at the bottoms is around 2:1. Additionally, the net short ratio of The Cartel at the bottoms is generally around 1.5:1.
  • Note the gradual increase in the gross long position of The Cartel versus the variance of the gross short position.
  • OK, now let's look at some data from price tops.


    11/27/12 51,804 12,351 4.14:1 42,525 99,317 2.34:1 34-->29

    9/18/12 43,205 10,650 4.06:1 31,884 82,358 2.58:1 35-->30

    2/28/12 38,012 8,009 4.75:1 33,802 78,395 2.32:1 37-->27

    10/25/11 23,660 12,638 1.87:1 38,176 61,692 1.62:1 35-->26

    8/23/11 38,756 11,745 3.30:1 34,281 81,380 2.37:1 44-->28

    4/26/11 43,078 18,083 2.38:1 35,763 78,297 2.19:1 49-->33

  • Note that all three price peaks of 2012 coincided with spec long ratios exceeding 4:1.
  • Outside of 4/26/11 (when they made a pile of $$$), the spec shorts are almost always near 11,000 or so.
  • With the exception of the 10/25/11 top (right before the MFG liquidations), all five other tops occurred when the Cartel net short ratio was in the 2.30:1 area.
  • Excluding the 11/27/12 top, The Cartel gross long position averages about 40,000 at the tops.
  • Now, what kind of general statements can we make, again given this somewhat small sample size?

    • The gross amount of large spec long contracts has grown over time.
    • Regardless of tops or bottoms, the large spec short position remains relatively constant, generally in the 12,000-14,000 area.
    • Though clearly larger in size at bottoms rather than tops, note how The Cartel gross long position has grown over time.
    • Similarly, note the steady growth of The Cartel gross short position.
    • Again, with the exception of the top that occurred with the failure and liquidation of MFG in early November of 2011, the most consistent indicator of tops and bottoms is The Cartel net short ratio. Anywhere near 1.5:1 is a clear buy signal and anything near 2.3:1 is a sell signal.

    Now lets's look at the data released yesterday, based off the closing positions of last Tuesday, the 5th.


    42,449 6,588 6.45:1 46,293 98,239 1.99:1

    So what in the world do we make of this? Can you see where this is all so confusing?

    • At 42,449, the Large Spec gross long position looks more toppy than bottomy.
    • And 6,588 gross shorts is an amazingly low number. The only number even close is the 8,009 from the highs of 2/28/12. Additionally, this puts the spec net long ratio is all the way up 6.44:1.
    • But, before you conclude that the data is indicating a major top, look at the Cartel gross long position. At 46,293 it's just below the high of 47,797 that we saw at the price lows of August, right before the announcement of QE∞ and a price rally from $28 to $35.
    • And the overall Cartel net short ratio is neutral at just under 2:1.

    So, I'm not even going to attempt to draw conclusions from this...because I don't think you can! The main items that I think are significant are these, however:

    1. Currently there's hardly any spec interest in being short. Therefore, very little fuel for a spec short squeeze.
    2. Though there is some fuel for a long liquidation, at $31 how many can be forced out on a dip?
    3. An even if they did, would other "commercial" buying inhibit the ability of JPM et al to cover extensively?
    4. In the end, the single most intriguing aspect of the current reports is the brewing/ongoing Civil War between JPM and everyone else. Uncle Ted has proclaimed that this current data shows that JPM has become the "seller of last resort" and the only remaining "fresh shorter". I think he's right and the stage is set for a massive squeeze, not of the specs but of JPM. We simply need a spark.

    The charts would seem to confirm this stagnation, too. Though I was hoping that the pennants on the hourly charts would close and propel prices higher, instead prices broke down and out back on Thursday. So now we await the closing of the pennants on the daily charts, instead. March, it would appear, is going to be a very interesting month. Until then, it looks like more sideways churn.

    Just a couple of other items you might like before we call it a weekend. First, several folks found this presentation yesterday and emailed it to me. Basically chart porn but fun to look through anyway:

    One of our sponsors, JMBullion, sent me this handy link. Please take a moment to check it out. You'll likely find it helpful.

    And I'd like to close with this. There has been lots of debate here over the past few days over what information is important on "Main St" and what should be taken to the forums. Frankly, since I can't police the site 24 hours a day, you all have quite a bit of latitude. The number one thing that we all must keep in mind is this: I built this site to help and to educate. Though prepping and conspiratorial topics are sometimes interesting and enlightening, the main focus must remain on metals and investing. To that end, please consider this email that I received late yesterday. My goal is not to be some type of draconian czar who rules content with an iron fist, however we must remain relatively on-point at all times if we are to do the greatest good. I ask you to always use discretion when posting and to consider whether or not your are helping the site to succeed in its overall mission.

    Hi Turd
    I've been a member of this site for a year and 4 months and a reader for a while before that. I am not typical of those who make up the vast majority of membership. I am female, unmarried and make under $40k a year. I am just an average person who, by a most fortunate turn of events, found your site and it changed my life. Blinders came off and I began to see the world for what it really was. My very small stack is held by very strong female hands. Thank you for helping me see ways to save my financial future. I suspect the creation of this site was to reach as many people like myself..former sheeple.
    I live on Mainstreet...I read every post, every day and am energized by the thoughtful and insightful posts...even the provocative ones..however..
    I am in the camp of common sense. This is a metals blog and all things relating to it, and I accept and appreciate the ancillary topics that get brought up and the subsequent discussions that result. What I am really really REALLY finding difficult these days is the proliferation of all these posts that you have repeatedly asked folks to take to the forums, ESPECIALLY the political wing nuts. The "you must have issue with my smarmy, irrelevant and arrogant posts which push my own agenda and bring nothing of value to this blog because you're a liberal bastard" kinds of thing going on. I adore Dr. J, Ivars, Steve, Green Lantern, Cal Lawyer and of course..DPH! Many others too...Mainstreet is FILLED with wonderful minds and I am in awe of these folks. I know you make requests periodically to us members to keep Mainstreet "clean", but these same individuals will behave for a short while then decide to vomit all over this forum yet again.
    I have an ignore button and yes, I do know how to use it, but it's the discourse that those posts create that I find particularly distressing. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect there are many many more like me who have fled in silence rather than deal with the muckrakers. So I respectfully someone who truly loves this site and visits every day and listens to your message..can something be done to keep Mainstreet focused?
    Thank you for all you do, **********

    Have a great weekend. See you Monday and be prepared for volatility as the Chinese New Year holidays begin.


    About the Author

    turd [at] tfmetalsreport [dot] com ()


    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:40am


    You are correct, there are some damn good cops. But the evilness in government has run many of the good ones away.

    I don't know where I first saw it, but watching corruption across the country has proven it true.

    If the AJ, the Chief of Police, and the City Manager can be controlled. The town/city is taken over.

    Think about it, the AJ controls who gets prosecuted, the Police Chief can control who gets harassed and brought to court, and the City Manager controlls the purse strings.

    Probably works to control a country as well.

    Motley Fool
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:50am


    Better to be thought a fool and be quiet, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    Granted on some topics all people don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. Why you feel the need to disparage a theory you don't understand, at a venue where people are mostly unaware of it or do not care for it is beyond me.

    Nevertheless, let me ask some questions. Is there any government interference in Argentina as to how much dollars one can hold, how much of it can cross borders, or at what rate it may be exchanged? If you answer yes to any of these questions (and you will need too, if you are being honest) then your analogy falls flat on it's face.

    Motley Fool
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:50am



    Bongo Jim
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:52am
    Wicker Jones
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:53am

    TF Metals Report

    This will be my first blog on TF Metals Report. Turd, I first found out about you and your excellent reports on precious metals, especially silver, when you used to blog on zero hedge. When you decided to form your own website, I was ecstatic! I've been following your analysis on the various markets, daily, ever since.

    I became involved in stacking physical silver in 1973, two years after Nixon blew up Bretton Woods Agreement and took the United States off of the gold standard. This began our long 41 year, and counting, march toward economic disaster. I was a college sophomore then and so was a childhood friend of mine starting a major in economics. We were seated in the Student Union building one day and he casually mentioned that it might be a good idea to buy some silver coins in dime denominations. That way when fiat went south, we could use our silver dimes to buy stuff and not worry about receiving change in funny money. So, at around $4/oz, we both went out and bought silver dimes. When the Hunt brothers came around in the late 70s I did it again only this time I purchased a bunch of 90% 1963-4 Kennedy half dollars way before the price hit $50/oz. I did not sell and still have them. Since 2007, I've been stacking harder and faster.

    My point is, Turd, Andrew MacGuire and others such as Eric Sprott, John Embry and the folks at GATA who understand the importance of owning real money, in the form of precious metals (PM) during the catastrophic global macroeconomic situation occurring at this time. The currency wars are heating up red hot with Japan leading the way to devalue drastically in order to increase their exports. Other countries are devaluing their in currencies in rapid succession with Venezuela doing so by 6.3% just recently. More & more countries are also following suit to repatriate their physical gold. I wonder if the Boyz (JPM,HSBC et al) ever thought that so many people around the world, Central Banks included would ever call for delivery. Hmmmm! With all that gold & silver leased and scattered out all over the world and probably sold three times over, the same bullion bars sold to more than one entity and some sold laced with tungsten, what to do, what to do? Scrambling to find it, raiding the SLV, LBMA, COMEX, shifting PMs from one vault to another, borrowing back and forth, OMG, when will the Cartel run out of nafarious & secret ways to procure PMs and then will have no choice but to buy gold & silver on the open market. That is when the price explosion in gold & silver will happen.

    It's not a matter of IF. It is a matter of WHEN. The Cartel is real close to running out of options. REAL CLOSE.

    Katie Rose
    Feb 10, 2013 - 2:37am

    excellent GMO Documentary

    I thought I had a fair handle on GMO foods and feed. Then a friend gave me a thumb drive with a documentary about GMO on it.

    I got my Mom and Sister, and we settled down for a night of good entertainment with lots of popcorn.

    Now I am shell shocked. It is much, much worse than I had thought.

    If you have children, please watch this.

    If you have allergies, please watch this.

    If you have half a brain, please watch this.

    It is long. It is a documentary. It is worth your time.

    Feb 10, 2013 - 2:55am

    Cheers to you KR

    Jeff Smith is remarkable.

    Really we should have gm pathogens working in our guts?

    Feb 10, 2013 - 3:50am

    re: crazy world out there..

    the more i look into this story..christopher dorner.. especially his manifesto.. about gun control...

    quote "If you had a well regulated AWB, this would not happen. The time is now to reinstitute a ban that will save lives. Why does any sportsman need a 30 round magazine for hunting? Why does anyone need a suppressor? Why does anyone need a AR15 rifle? This is the same small arms weapons system utilized in eradicating Al Qaeda, Taliban, and every enemy combatant since the Vietnam war. Don’t give me that crap that its not a select fire or full auto rifle like the DoD uses. That’s bullshit because troops who carry the M-4/M-16 weapon system for combat ops outside the wire rarely utilize the select fire function when in contact with enemy combatants. The use of select fire probably isn’t even 1% in combat. So in essence, the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle is the same as the M-4/M-16. These do not need to be purchased as easily as walking to your local Walmart or striking the enter key on your keyboard to “add to cart”. All the firearms utilized in my activities are registered to me and were legally purchased at gun stores and private party transfers. All concealable weapons (pistols) were also legally register in my name at police stations or FFL’s. Unfortunately, are you aware that I obtained class III weapons (suppressors) without a background check thru NICS or DROS completely LEGALLY several times? I was able to use a trust account that I created on quicken will maker and a $10 notary charge at a mailbox etc. to obtain them legally. Granted, I am not a felon, nor have a DV misdemeanor conviction or active TRO against me on a NCIC file. I can buy any firearm I want, but should I be able to purchase these class III weapons (SBR’s, and suppressors) without a background check and just a $10 notary signature on a quicken will maker program? The answer is NO. I’m not even a resident of the state i purchased them in. Lock n Load just wanted money so they allow you to purchase class III weapons with just a notarized trust, military ID. Shame on you, Lock n Load. NFA and ATF need new laws and policies that do not allow loopholes such as this. In the end, I hope that you will realize that the small arms I utilize should not be accessed with the ease that I obtained them. Who in there right mind needs a fucking silencer!!! who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook. Whether by executive order or thru a bi-partisan congress an assault weapons ban needs to be re-instituted. Period!!!

    Mia Farrow said it best. “Gun control is no longer debatable, it’s not a conversation, its a moral mandate.”

    Sen. Feinstein, you are doing the right thing in leading the re-institution of a national AWB. Never again should any public official state that their prayers and thoughts are with the family. That has become cliche’ and meaningless. Its time for action. Let this be your legacy that you bestow to America. Do not be swayed by obstacles, antagaonist, and naysayers. Remember the innocent children at Austin, Kent, Stockton, Fullerton, San Diego, Iowa City, Jonesboro, Columbine, Nickel Mines, Blacksburg, Springfield, Red Lake, Chardon, Aurora, and Newtown. Make sure this never happens again!!!

    In my cache you will find several small arms. In the cache, Bushmaster firearms, Remington precision rifles, and AAC Suppressors (silencers). All of these small arms are manufactured by Cerberus/Freedom Group. The same company responsible for the Portland mall shooting, Webster , NY, and Sandy Hook massacre.

    You disrespect the office of the POTUS/Presidency and Commander in Chief. You call him Kenyan, mongroid, halfrican, muslim, and FBHO when in essence you are to address him as simply, President. The same as you did to President George W. Bush and all those in the highest ranking position of our land before him. Just as I always have. You question his birth certificate, his educational and professional accomplishments, and his judeo-christian beliefs. You make disparaging remarks about his dead parents. You never questioned the fact that his former opponent, the honorable Senator John McCain, was not born in the CONUS or that Bush had a C average in his undergrad. Electoral Candidates children (Romney) state they want to punch the president in the face during debates with no formal repercussions. No one even questioned the fact that the son just made a criminal threat toward the President. You call his wife a Wookie. Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama. A woman whose professional and educational accomplishments are second to none when compared to recent First wives. You call his supporters, whether black, brown, yellow, or white, leeches, FSA, welfare recipients, and ni$&er lovers. You say this openly without any discretion. Before you start with your argument that you believe I would vote for Obama because he has the same skin color as me, fuck you. I didn’t vote in this last election as my choice of candidate, John Huntsman, didn’t win the primary candidacy for his party. Mr. President, I haven’t agreed with all of your decisions but of course I haven’t agreed with all of your predecessors decisions. I think you’ve done a hell of a job with what you have been dealt and how you have managed it. I shed a tear the night you were initially elected President in 2008. I never thought that day would occur. A black man elected president in the U.S. in my lifetime. I cracked a smiled when you were re-elected in 2012 because I really didn’t think you were going to pull that one off. Romney, stop being a sore loser. You could’ve exited graciously and still contributed significantly to public service, not now. Mr. President, get back to work. Many want to see you fail as they have stated so many times previously. Unfortunately, if you fail, the U.S. fails but your opponents do not concern themselves about the big picture."

    it doesn't feel right when he put stuff about gun control and phrase the POTUS and government in his manifesto ... apparently he is well armed and danger... and now..they want to re-open his case... what if..just what if when they re open his case..and find out everything he said was a lie? he would be just another lunatic..with assault riffle and gun that is dangerous to the community and a cop killer...especially the part that he said

    "In the end, I hope that you will realize that the small arms I utilize should not be accessed with the ease that I obtained them. Who in there right mind needs a fucking silencer!!! who needs a freaking SBR AR15? No one. No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook. Whether by executive order or thru a bi-partisan congress an assault weapons ban needs to be re-instituted. Period!!!"

    something tickle the back of my neck about this...he stand up for what he believe..his intergrity.. his name...but he won't stand up for 2nd amandment... everything doesn't add up that well... everything is too coincidence at this time...could the martial law be in effect ?..i donno...something is sure up sure create alot of conflict between law enforcement and people...and all the new that cop shot innocent people keep coming out..make people angry...40 shot in the back of the truck..but none hit...just minor scratch..the women either super lucky..or super lucky.. it 2 people..and 40 bullet barely hit them....hmmm....i think imma go brain

    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:51am

    It is a rare bird

    for me to be 'on topic' but S Roche said:

    It is in the OTC market that JPM claim to have created a net neutral position in silver.

    Well, I felt this important insight was worthy of further comment.

    SRoche's understanding of these subjects/matters is clearly relatively high. I will however say that this point about 'net neutral' needs labouring here on TFMR, as I am not sure Turdites quite realise the importance of the change in the legal filing relating to what Roche describes as JPM being 'net neutral OTC'.

    The fact is that the suit now explains simply how it is NOT POSSIBLE to hedge an OTC long book with COMEX shorts - the costs and price discovery impact of the futures market are far greater than OTC - hence how the LBMA can shuffle trillions in the OTC Bullion Banking system and can run a 92:1 ponzi (yes futures included) with relatively little impact on price. This point has very important implications for JPM as they (confirmed by CLawyer) will likely now be forced to discovery by the Judge in the class action - ie they will be told settle or show us your books. The read across for the CFTC investigation are clear as day and will be impossible to fudge. Blythe made a big boo-boo by coming out and claiming HEDGE HEDGE - she will now have to serve it up, preferably cold.....

    The whole point here is that JPM have been claiming forever that their big concentrated short position on COMEX is a hedge for their equally big OTC long positions (yeah really, why would we query unavailable proprietary bank information, lets just take MS Masters word for it). Not so, and this is now cooking up formally due to the arcane joys of the world of law, Judges and lawyers. Blythe, I hope someone sent you a copy of the new suit with a pretty silver bow attached, maybe the CFTC would accept that as part of your paper hedge for the interim....

    Anyone here know if an English-language version of the book about Blythe is coming out this year? I have plans for a book club....

    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:54am

    It is a rare bird

    apologies, duplicated

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