Gold and Silver Backwardation

273
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 - 12:12pm

I am not backing down from this and it is OK for otherwise agreeable people to disagree. No one has all the answers, regardless of their level of expertise and experience, and differing opinions are what make a market.

And I'm expecting a bottom here, too. The charts are looking better...which, admittedly when compared to last week, isn't saying much.

Let's start by revisiting DrC, crude and Sylvia. Ten days ago, they gave us clues that a period of "general commodity weakness" was coming. What are they saying now? Well, all three look poised for a rebound. Will they? And again, why is this important? Because buying interest in these 3 will almost always spark some spillover interest in the PMs, regardless of that day's Bullion Bank intentions or POSX movements.

Let's start with crude. Recall that I urged traders and even those with UCO to consider taking profits at $98. I expected a drop to $93 and we got it. So, now what? It would appear that the $95 level holds the key. Above there and the possibility exists for a jump back to the $98-100 level and a possible breakout. Below $95 and you have to guard against a drop toward $90, maybe even $88.

And what about copper? On the drop last week, it seemed everyone and their brother was mentioning how we all need to keep an eye on "DrC". That is, of course, true but I'm not here to sound any alarm bells...at least not yet. As you can see, after failing to hold the breakout that we were closely monitoring two weeks ago, copper has simply fallen back into the pennant which has contained it for over a year. Until and unless a sustained breakout occurs, it remains rangebound and, within the range, subject to support and a bounce right near these current levels.

And then there's Sylvia. How many times did we discuss that old dame 2-3 weeks ago, closely watching the $1735 level for a breakout? In the end, it's hardly a surprise that it didn't break out and what you see now is what always happens when a breakout fails. Namely, everyone attempts to head for the exits at once! The result is a sharp drop. But look what has happened. Successive attempts to press it even lower and under $1600 failed late last week and now she's likely primed for a sharp, short-covering, snapback rally.

So, in this context, what can we expect this week from the metals? First of all, anything is possible. You should know that by now. However, both charts are clearly oversold in the short-term and look poised for a rebound. We may even be able to generate some momentum and then create a virtuous cycle of short-squeezing. We'll see about that but, at a minimum, I am confident that the lows of last week are going to hold.

Of course, we may not get much today because of the expiration of the March13 silver options. We also need to keep in mind that Thursday will be First Notice Day so expect a lot of volatility. Again, though, I think we've found an end to this latest downdraft and I firmly believe that March is going to be very interesting and very fun. (Ides+7)

OK, now onto this backwardation stuff. As mentioned above, this will be a hot topic around here this week as I plan to record a podcast with our pal, Andy, either tomorrow or Wednesday. (It just kind of depends on how busy things are in the markets.) I also hope to visit with the ultimate expert in this topic, Sandeep Jaitly of The Gold Basis Service newsletter. My goal is to give you plenty of information so that you can make your own decision as to the significance of the data. Again, no one has all the answers and we must always be willing to study and learn.

So, what are we looking at when measuring for backwardation in gold and silver? (Particularly gold, which is NOT a commodity, it is a currency. Don't think so? Ask the Turks or the Iranians or the Chinese what they think.) For this purpose, we measure what are called the BASIS and the C0-BASIS. Well, what are those?

BASIS = Front delivery month Comex future bid vs the SPOT ask/offer.

Co-BASIS = SPOT bid vs Front delivery month Comex future ask/offer.

Let's put that in numbers. Let's say that SPOT is currently bid at 1579 and offered at 1580 and that the April13 contract is bid at 1580 and offered at 1581. This gives us a BASIS of 0 and a Co-BASIS of 2. This is fine and this is normal "contango". But when we speak of current backwardation, that's not what we have. When we see backwardation, it begins when the BASIS turns negative and the Co-BASIS moves toward zero. So, now another example:

SPOT is still at 1579 by 1580 but the future is also 1579 by 1580. Now the BASIS is -1 and the Co-BASIS is 1. This is mild backwardation. Nothing crazy and it could simply be caused by front month liquidation as we head toward contract expiration and First Notice Day...kind of like where we are now in March13 silver.

Alarm bells begin to ring when BOTH the BASIS and Co-BASIS move into negative territory. Again, for example, when SPOT is 1579 by 1580 yet the nearby future is 1578 by 1579. This creates measurable and actionable backwardation as the BASIS is now -2 and the Co-BASIS is now zero. Again, this could be just a temporary situation caused by overdone, waterfall declines and other, assorted Cartel shenanigans.

The key word, though, is TEMPORARY. When the Co-BASIS reaches into negative territory, arbitrage should almost immediately turn it back positive. WHY? Because at a negative C0-BASIS, you should be able to sell your physical on the spot market and then immediately purchase, with the intent of taking delivery, a front month futures contract. By doing so, you are locking in a RISK-FREE PROFIT. Again, you might be asking why and how?

Look at the numbers in the backwardation scenario above. You can sell 100 ounces of physical at $1579. You can then guarantee the return purchase of your physical in 2-6 weeks by buying a futures contract for $1578. You just made $100. Do that with 100 contracts and you make $10,000. Do that with 1000 contracts and you make $100,000. Do it every day for a week and you make $500,000. Because people are willing and able to do that, the backwardation closes and the market flips back into contango.

But here's the deal...April13 gold, which will expire in about 5 weeks, is now consistently in backwardation, not just on the BASIS but on the Co-BASIS, too. WHY??? Why aren't the arbitrageurs jumping at the free money? THAT is the question.

Later this week, when I speak with Andy, we'll attempt to definitively answer this question and provide a further explanation as to what this signals for future price. For now, though, I'm going to leave this right here for your discussion. If you want to do some of your own homework on this subject, I strongly suggest you start with this excellent piece from Dr. Antal Fekete. It's worth your time and very informative.

https://www.professorfekete.com/articles/AEFGoldFever.pdf

Have a great day. I look forward to a very interesting and exciting week.

TF

About the Author

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

  273 Comments

Punk-Assets
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:19pm

Maund is Gartmans twin brother

otherwise known as Flip and Flop

The Vet
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:29pm

The US dollar can't collapse....

The Yen, Pound and Euro are weakening at an ever increasing rate. The USD measured against those shrinking fiats looks strong, but in truth it is simply weakening at a slightly slower rate. When measured against all of the other fiats, gold is holding its own and appreciating as it should be as the only true money that isn't being printed like there will be no tomorrow.

Don't confuse ratios with absolute values; that's something that the MSM in the US do on a daily basis....

koan
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:30pm

I know this pondering/dots

I know this pondering/dots connecting will have been done by many here already (if my understanding isn't flawed!) but thought it worth throwing out:

1. Santa talked of a straddle trade strategy the cartel have employed before in the metals (knowing which, he played them to make his money decades ago) i.e. they first amass an equal amount of long/shorts.

1b. Turd's COT analysis - instead of solely covering shorts the cartel are adding longs. Did I interpret correctly they potentially have a similar amount of longs/shorts at present i.e. the straddle is potentially in place?

2. Santa says the straddle ends with the shorts being dumped - burning all other shorts in the process and letting their longs fly.

2b. Santa believes something good cometh in the next few days/weeks...

ancientmoney Punk-Assets
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:39pm

@P-A re: Gartman's twin bro . . .

Actually, Maund has pretty much nailed things recently.

Punk-Assets
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:41pm

Maund

I agree. For now he'll be right - until he isn't.

The Watchman
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:41pm
Ilya Repin
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:44pm

Anonymous have hacked Capitol

Anonymous have hacked Capitol One and Bank of America BOA -3.33%

Feb 25, 2013 - 3:48pm

Overnight, watch the fight at

Overnight, watch the fight at 1595-1600.

atomic180
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:50pm

Those LS don't like the sign of things to come...

going to be an interesting few weeks...

ancientmoney
Feb 25, 2013 - 3:51pm

Maund likes silver going forward too . . .

https://www.silverseek.com/article/silver-market-morning-9866

Although not as bullish as gold, at least through last COT . . . undoubtedly even better since then, as we saw.

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 8/19

8/21 10:00 ET Existing home sales
8/21 2:00 ET July FOMC minutes
8/22 9:45 ET Markit Manu and Svc PMIs
8/22 Jackson Holedown begins
8/23 10:00 ET Chief Goon Powell speaks

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

Forum Discussion

by NW VIEW, 1 min 34 sec ago
by Porros, Aug 21, 2019 - 5:00am
by sierra skier, Aug 20, 2019 - 5:12pm
by zman, Aug 20, 2019 - 4:53pm
by NW VIEW, Aug 20, 2019 - 3:08pm