Raiding the GLD

313
Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - 12:26pm

Time to broach this subject again.

Just yesterday, the GLD saw a withdrawal of 8.88 metric tonnes. This followed a drawdown of nearly 23 tonnes on Wednesday. In fact, since the start of 2013, the GLD is now down 59.61 metric tonnes or 4.42% of "inventory".

Hmmm. Now where has that gold gone?

  • Has it simply been returned to the Authorized Participants' vaults as investors reduce their exposure to precious metals?
  • Have GLD investors liquidated shares and taken delivery?
  • Or, as argued back in November, are the APs using the GLD as a store of gold that they can easily access anytime they struggle to find legitimate physical metal to deliver to clients demanding immediate allocation and delivery?
  • If the third bullet is true, then GLD drawdowns would be symptom of very strong, global physical demand.

    So, for your consideration, let's revisit this issue. First, here's a reprint of the points that Andrew Maguire made initially. The full link can be found here: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/4327/guest-post-price-suppression-me...

    THE PRICE SUPPRESSION MECHANICS OF GLD & SLV

    The bullion banks finance their ‘physical inventory’ by leasing it or selling it to GLD and SLV shareholders/investors, then the bullion banks in turn use these ETF’s inventories as a ‘flywheel’ to both manage and leverage their physical reserves. For this walk-through, I will use GLD as an example. (One can substitute SLV for all that is described below relating to GLD except the basket sizes are smaller, constituting 50,000 shares).

    Baskets of GLD shares are bought and sold through a limited number of Authorised Participants. The authorised participants, (AP’s), are JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Newedge (a joint venture between Société Générale and Credit Agricole CIB), RBC, Scotia Mocatta, UBS and Virtu Financial. This is how it is supposed to work. The size of each GLD basket comprises of 100,000 shares, each share representing just less than 1 troy oz. The AP’s, transfer ALLOCATED physical gold to the trustee who in turn creates the required number of new baskets of shares and then transfers these newly created shares back to the AP. To redeem the shares for physical gold or silver, the AP’s transfer any number of the baskets of 100,000 shares back to the trustee who then redeems these shares and transfers allocated gold back to the AP.

    This is all well and good on the face of it, but there are a number of ways this ‘allocated’ gold backing the shares in the ETF can be diluted /hypothecated in order for the bullion banks to ‘manage’ their physical reserves.

    If, as is often the case, there is insufficient allocated inventory available to the bullion bank at the current Comex driven & discounted spot fix price to create the necessary new GLD shares backed by allocated gold, then it is possible for a bullion bank to borrow short these GLD shares from the ETF instead of providing the required Allocated physical to the trustee to meet this obligation thereby ‘fly wheeling’ this physical demand in order to meet obligations elsewhere, likely at the day’s gold fix. This obviously has the effect of manipulating price lower vs. the true immediate supply demand fundamentals as no allocated physical metal has to be bought on the open market at that days fix to meet this new share demand as should be the case.

    This is now the point where transparency evaporates. The AP claims to be Short GLD while concurrently claiming to be backing it with an equal size long ‘UNALLOCATED’ spot gold position. However, LBMA unallocated gold accounts are run upon a fractional reserve requirement and leveraged around 100/1 so there is very little need to back this transaction with any real physical at this point; this is left until later as explained below. To unwind this short GLD position, the bullion bank has to ALLOCATE the required amount of unallocated gold and then transfer this gold back to the trustee thereby receiving back the required # of shares in order to repay the original GLD shares sold short.

    However, in conjunction with concurrent concentrated short futures positions, the sole object of this entire charade is to assist in depressing the price of gold at times of strong physical demand so that the futures price can be capped, usually at key inflection points where the price would break out and also swamp the very large concentrated Comex short positions. If this were not the case, the bullion bank would simply bid up that days fix price until it reflected that days true supply demand price levels for that fix and provide allocated gold to meet this real demand at that higher price.

    The resulting distortion now created between the real and paper market price is exacerbated through the use of heavy position concentration and leverage in the futures and derivatives markets, where these very same bullion banks then seek to profitably repay the shorted GLD shares at a lower price at the point at or below where the lines cross profitably. This then puts these bullion banks in a position to finally spot index UNALLOCATED gold against this naked short position only then moving to buy the now discounted unallocated gold into the Comex contrived dips. These discounted unallocated long spot index positions are then ALLOCATED at the upcoming fix, enabling both the repayment of the GLD short position at a profit but most importantly controlling the rise in price against much larger derivative positions elsewhere.

    Conversely, as evidenced by the steady 12-year stair step rise in prices easily observed in the daily and weekly charts, despite this many-year capping, we have also seen an ever larger and untenable LBMA unallocated short positions grow to what I now consider to be extreme danger levels. The reason is as follows: When the Bullion bank needs to make good on the unplanned/unanticipated CB and sovereign physical allocations at the fixes, they have regularly achieved this by going long GLD vs. short/selling UNALLOCATED gold. They then immediately turn around and transfer the required number of baskets of GLD shares to the trustee and receive ALLOCATED gold in return. Instead of settling/covering the short UNALLOCATED leg with this ALLOCATED gold, they are forced to satisfy these CB and Sovereign allocations by providing them this metal instead. The longer term price charts reveal this stair step higher, whereas we see no reduction, in fact from 2008 an increase, in the naked short Comex, (and unallocated OTC), bullion bank positions.

    I hope this has been helpful in providing an insight into the internal dynamics of the ETFs and how the bullion banks continue to operate in the shadows.

    Quite a few folks found this explanation a little too technical and slightly confusing. To help the cause, a few days later I took a stab at deciphering Andy's message:

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Finally today, please allow me to take a stab at explaining in greater detail the "Guest Post" from Andrew Maguire. I posted it on Wednesday as we were leaving for Thanksgiving and I can see now where it caused some confusion. As you know, one of my favorite techniques for explanations is the chronological layout so let's give that a try. Additionally, I think I'm laying this out accurately. This is how I understand it. I'll check with Andy on Monday to ensure that this is at least close to being accurate. If it's not, I'll post some additional clarification then.

    1. The "Authorized Participants" have a special relationship with the fund whereby they issue metal, 100,000 ounces at a time, to the fund in exchange for 100,000 share blocks.
    2. This should function as a two-way street where the AP can get its metal back by redeeming shares and the AP can also supply additional metal in exchange for additional shares. THIS, HOWEVER, IS WHERE THE TRICKERY AND MANIPULATION BEGINS.
    3. On big UP days in paper price, there is often a big physical demand in London and a big demand for additional shares in GLD.
    4. This is a double whammy of demand. The Bullion Bank (and Authorized Participant) should have to not only supply metal at the London allocation but this same BB/AP might also have to deliver metal to GLD to cover all of the newly-issued shares.
    5. I think you can see where that's a lot of metal and, in an environment of limited inventories, rapid BB/AP supply depletion would lead to shortages and even higher prices.
    6. So, here's the trick they employ to manage the situation, even doing so at a profit: The GLD delivers the gold back to the AP without the AP actually redeeming their shares. The AP is considered to be "short" the shares, instead.
    7. These shorted shares provide the "offer" against the investment world "bid" for GLD shares that day on the NYSE. Since no new shares are needed to be created that day, no new demand for physical deposit is created, either.
    8. On the other side of this trade, GLD delivers metal to the AP as if it had redeemed the shares, though. The AP uses this metal to settle the physical allocations for that day.
    9. So, where there should have been two, separate demands for physical, the demand was met by short-selling GLD and then using this GLD metal to meet allocations in London.
    10. The effect is then chronicled by Harvey and others as "gold went up $20 but, mysteriously, GLD shed 2.72 tonnes".
    11. Here, then, is how they reverse these "trades" and return everything to where they were. The BB/AP that is short the metal to the GLD needs to put it back in at some point. The next time a paper price raid is effected on the Comex, the AP itself takes delivery of some metal in London.
    12. This metal is then returned to the GLD in exchange for a "covering" of it's short position.
    13. This, typically, takes place on a DOWN day where Harvey et al notice that "though gold declined $15, the GLD added 2.72 tonnes of metal today. Go figure."

    Anyway, I hope this helps explain the process. Again, the Bullion Bank that is also an AP of the GLD can "flywheel" metal into and out of the GLD and/or SLV anytime they need to in order to meet physical demand elsewhere. In the process, the BB/AP conveniently provides liquidity for GLD/SLV share demand, which negates additional GLD purchasing which would have otherwise been necessary. It's a true WIN-WIN-WIN for the BB/AP as they are able to cap and control price while appearing to have no problem meeting London demand and then they turn around and cover all the positions at a profit on the next bout of price weakness.

    Again, THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HOW IT WORKS. The banks are supposed to supply metal to both the GLD and the London buyers. There is not, however, sufficient supply to make this happen at the current price levels. So, instead of allowing price to rise to the natural equilibrium of buying and selling interest, the BB/AP uses the tricks outlined in Andy's guest post to manage and cap the situation. On the bright side, THIS CANNOT CONTINUE FOREVER and, WHEN it fails, the reset in price will be spectacular to behold.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    By the time the next week rolled around, there was an active discussion on the internet regarding the accuracy of this analysis. (No doubt this post will reinitiate the "discussion" and bring out many of the same commentators.) Here's a link to the follow-up discussion, posted a few days later. Before you form an opinion on the matter, you'll definitely want to read both sides of the issue: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/4354/cage-match-bron-vs-denver-dave

    So there you have it. All of this should all make a very interesting reading assignment for you as we wait for today's GLD numbers. Could there be another huge drawdown? If so, what does it mean? Does it even matter? I look forward to reading your comments.

    TF

    p.s. Andy just recorded this morning another interview with KWN. Be sure to check that site later today for the full interview.

    About the Author

    Founder
    turd [at] tfmetalsreport [dot] com ()

      313 Comments

    question
    Feb 22, 2013 - 1:57pm

    @Fr. Bill


    Do please update on the ViaMat situation as you get info.

    Maybe GM and BV will set up their own vaults or go with someone else but it looks like the writing is on the wall and another door is closing, especially for US dwellers. Doug Casey, and others, have been warning about this for years. I barely have enough with GM to pay storage fees with but it was just a "cool" thing to have stash elsewhere. Oh well, time to lower my head even further below the radar beam

    The Vet
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:05pm

    Just to put Turd's figures above in perspective....

    So far this year GLD has had almost 60 tonnes of their gold pilfered by this scam of the AP's and if you check the figures there is still around another 65 tonnes sold short (over 20 million GLD shares short at just under 1/10 oz per share) where they have taken gold and not yet replaced it. These figures demonstrate that it's not just a "flywheel" it's a permanent but uncontrolled contribution from GLD to the physical market. Shorted GLD shares DON'T show up in the COT short position.

    https://shortsqueeze.com/?symbol=GLD&submit=Short+Quote%99

    fast mover
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:09pm
    question
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:13pm
    Xeno
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:13pm

    Bankster FlyWheels

    The Thames, East, or Chicago rivers... it doesn't matter. Bankster FlyWheels is all that does.

    DayStar
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:19pm

    RE: Storing the Shiney

    Texas Sandman, unless you have tonnes of the stuff, which most of us don't, burying the shiney in some known only to you location is probably the best option and one that's been used for millennia. The downside is if you get whacked without anyone knowing where it is, well, it has returned to its native state. The problem I have with BV and Miles Franklin's Canadian Brinks storage facility is access. IMO, people using these vaults vastly underestimate what is coming down the pike. We will revert to the 1880s technology, and most of these vaults may as well be on the moon as far as accessibility after the fit hits the Shan. Your shiney will do you no good if it is 6000 miles away and your only transportation is walking. IMO, storing shiney in a vault in Singapore or Switzerland is essentially giving it away, because the owners will likely never see it again.

    FWIW,

    DayStar

    Katie Rose
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:20pm

    I get it!

    They are all crooks.

    The AP's are crooks.

    The BB's are crooks.

    The CFTC is crooked.

    The CB's are crooks.

    There is no Sheriff because the Justice Dept is crooked as well.

    Seems to me the only thing to do is move to WA State, smoke a legal joint , and chill out.

    Otherwise it is just too untenable...

    Or build a greenhouse, plant a seed of two, and watch the miracle of life unfold before your eyes. Add some goats , and just let the world be what it is.

    I really don't see a whole lot of other choices....

    Edit to add:

    And because this is a metals blog it goes without saying, add to your stack as often as you are able. There is no way of knowing what is going to be most valuable in the future - the PM's, the marijuana, or the goats!

    SIlverbee
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:23pm

    About 6 months ago

    Did Cameron not say he was looking to purchase more gold?

    dropout
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:26pm

    Cross and Double Cross. Getting Cross?

    Since 1972 gold has had 22 "death cross" formations.

    Which all led to a gain of 1.29% (in the month after) and 3.17% in the following 6 months!

    The "golden cross" formation appears to be similarly irrelevant for gold. The returns between 1 and 6 months after the formation are neutral to negative. Since the most recent "golden cross" in gold in September are down 11%.

    So, all this wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, as concerns the infamous CROSS OF DEATH is nothing but a bunch off hot air. Mainly from the gold bears hoping to beat the price lower. Bear in mind (pun intended) that the CROSS OF GOLD has about as much bearing on gold as does the other cross!

    https://www.goldsilverworlds.com/gold-silver-general/gold-here-is-the-good-news/

    ¤
    Feb 22, 2013 - 2:26pm

    The Vet stated...

    ..."Shorted GLD shares don't show up in the COT short position."

    Wow! That's pretty incredible to consider given the large short positions that must be present at any given time in the worlds largest gold fund that is supposedly ranked approx. 6th (I think) in global gold reserves.

    That lack of COT short position exclusion is almost like a CB's gold activity not having a known or public effect on golds price eventhough it probably should have moreso then what we've seen. How can the CB's activity have no real upside price effect when huge record amounts are being procured?

    It's almost mind boggling to watch what's underway without knowing exactly what is underway underneath it all. Is this time period right now the beginning of the great siphoning of GLD and SLV's phyz back into it's original mother bankers hands? Something big is up with gold bullion just prior to and after that G7 imho.

    Is there anyway for anyone to numerically illustrate what the effect would've been last week on that COT if the GLD shorts had been included heading into this weeks sell off? It seems like it might've been or still is a huge number.

    Subscribe or login to read all comments.

    Contribute

    Donate Shop

    Get Your Subscriber Benefits

    Private iTunes feed for all TF Metals Report podcasts, and access to Vault member forum discussions!

    Key Economic Events Week of 8/12

    8/13 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
    8/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
    8/14 8:30 ET Productivity & Labor Costs
    8/14 8:30 ET Philly Fed
    8/14 9:15 ET Ind Prod and Cap Ute
    8/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories
    8/15 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Permits

    Key Economic Events Week of 8/5

    8/5 9:45 ET Markit services PMI
    8/5 10:00 ET ISM services PMI
    8/6 10:00 ET Job Openings
    8/8 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
    8/9 8:30 ET Producer Price Index

    Key Economic Events Week of 7/29

    7/30 8:30 ET Personal Inc/Spending & Core Inflation
    7/30 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
    7/31 8:15 ET ADP employment
    7/31 2:00 pm ET FOMC Fedlines
    7/31 2:30 pm ET CGP presser
    8/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
    8/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
    8/2 8:30 ET BLSBS
    8/2 10:00 ET Factory Orders

    Key Economic Events Week of 7/22

    7/23 10:00 ET Existing home sales
    7/23 10:00 ET Richmond Fed Manu Idx
    7/24 9:45 ET flash Markit PMIs
    7/25 8:00 ET Count Draghi/ECB policy meeting
    7/25 8:30 ET Durable Goods
    7/25 8:30 ET Wholesale Inventories
    7/26 8:30 ET Q2 GDP first guess

    Key Economic Events Week of 7/15

    7/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed Index
    7/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales and Import Price Index
    7/16 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
    7/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
    7/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Building Permits
    7/18 8:30 ET Philly Fed
    7/19 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment

    Key Economic Events Week of 7/8

    7/9 8:45 ET Fed Stress Conference, three Goon speeches
    7/10 8:30 ET CGP Hump-Hawk prepared remarks
    7/10 10:00 ET CGP Hump-Hawk House
    7/10 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
    7/10 2:00 ET June FOMC minutes
    7/11 8:30 ET CPI
    7/11 10:00 ET CGP Hump-Hawk Senate
    7/11 12:30 ET Goon Williams
    7/12 8:30 ET PPI

    Key Economic Events Week of 7/1

    7/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
    7/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
    7/1 10:00 ET Construction Spending
    7/2 6:35 ET Goon Williams
    7/3 8:15 ET ADP June employment
    7/3 8:30 ET Trade Deficit
    7/3 9:45 ET Markit Services PMI
    7/3 10:00 ET ISM Services PMI
    7/3 10:00 ET Factory Orders
    7/4 US Market Holiday
    7/5 8:30 ET BLSBS

    Key Economic Events Week of 6/24

    6/25 10:00 ET New Home Sales
    6/25 1:00 pm ET Chief Goon Powell
    6/25 5:30 pm ET Goon Bullard
    6/26 8:30 ET Durable Goods
    6/27 8:30 ET Q1 GDP final guess
    6/28 8:30 ET Personal Income and Consumer Spending
    6/28 8:30 ET Core Inflation
    6/28 9:45 ET Chicago PMI

    Key Economic Events Week of 6/17

    6/18 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Building Permits
    6/19 2:00 ET FOMC Fedlines
    6/19 2:30 ET CGP presser
    6/20 8:30 ET Philly Fed
    6/21 9:45 ET Markit flash June PMIs

    Key Economic Events Week of 6/10

    6/11 8:30 ET Producer Price Index
    6/12 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
    6/13 8:30 ET Import Price Index
    6/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
    6/14 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
    6/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories

    Forum Discussion

    by sierra skier, Aug 17, 2019 - 7:14pm
    by sierra skier, Aug 17, 2019 - 8:30am
    by Boggs, Aug 16, 2019 - 7:46pm
    by Boggs, Aug 16, 2019 - 7:07pm