Gold: Delivery or Default?

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - 3:59pm

Jeez, Louise. Where does the time go? It's now 12:08 EDT and I'm just getting started. Where to begin? How do I put all of the stuff that's swimming around in my head into some kind of coherent format?

Primarily, I'm trying to connects these dots with the idea that "history doesn't necessarily repeat but it does rhyme":

  • Strong physical demand
  • Declining Comex reserves
  • The draining of the GLD, with "inventory" now down 18.16% YTD
  • Paper price raids with attendant margin hikes
  • Lease rates and cash vs futures backwardation
  • Bullion bank default
  • You see, I've come to the conclusion that the current situation is far more complicated than I had expected it to be. Rather than a simple sell-stop washout, it seems that there is something considerably more serious lurking just behind the scenes and out of our field of vision.

    Yesterday, I had a conversation with an old friend. He's a sharp guy who has been in financial services industry for over 20 years. He reads this site and has come around to the idea of "market management", not just in the metals but nearly everywhere. He asked me two simple questions:

    1. How? How did the big banks get in this position of being so heavily short?
    2. Why? Why are they heavily short and what are they trying to accomplish?

    Because we were trying to get caught up after after having lost track of each other for several months, I only had the time to answer a part of the two questions...the "why"...and forgetting that, as an industry veteran, he's far more sophisticated than the average person who asks "why". But this got me thinking. In fact, this whole exercise of dot-connecting has been rolling around in my head ever since. I'm typing this up today, not because I've solved the puzzle but because I'm hoping that the sheer exercise of typing will help the thought process.

    So I suppose I should start by revisiting my friend's question. The bullion banks are short for a number of reasons, one of which is this: For the longest time, leasing gold and selling it into the market was free money. You borrowed some gold from the BIS. You sold it at 100:1 leverage on The Comex. You took the cash from the sale and bought something else. Stocks. Bonds. Whatever. And you kept the spread. Pretty simple. And when the time came to repay the leases, you bought some gold back or simply rolled the contracts. As long as physical demand stayed low, you could theoretically play this game ad infinitum. These "bets" got larger and larger and eventually more and more banks joined the fray. And now, in some sense, here we are.

    The banks have leased, hypothecated and rehypothecated just about every ounce of gold that they can get their hands on. And again, from their point of view, all should be well.


    And the problem is...Physical Demand. Again, as stated two paragraphs ago: "As long as physical demand stayed low, you could theoretically play this game ad infinitum". But the jig is up. The cat is out of the bag. The wrench is in the works. And it all goes back to debt and quantitative easing.

    You see, the game is over. The Banks don't want to believe this but you know it's true. I know it's true. Millions worldwide know it's true. High Net Worth individuals trying to protect their assets know it's true. Sovereign Wealth and Pension funds know it's true. And, most importantly, Creditor Nation Central Banks know it's true. All of us are demanding physical gold (and silver) and it is putting incredible strain upon this current, highly-leveraged, fractional reserve bullion banking system.

    So now lets get back to trying to project the future by connecting the dots of the past and present.

    • Strong physical demand. Where do I start? 1000 mts delivered through Shanghai YTD. 15-25 mts allocated and delivered in London each day. Feb13 and April13 Comex contracts totaling deliveries of 2.5 million ounces. Sales records at the U.S. Mint. I could go on and on with links galore but you get the picture.
    • Declining Comex reserves. Registered gold reserves at the Comex have fallen to multi-year lows. As of yesterday, registered reserves were only 2.28 million ounces or enough to settle just 22,800 contracts or 5% of the total open interest.
    • The draining of the GLD, with "inventory" now down 18.16% YTD. As you know, we've been watching this closely and with amusement. Yesterday alone, the GLD shed 18.35 metric tonnes. That's 590,000 troy ounces or 1,475 London bars. Back on April 11, 2013 the GLD had "inventory" of 1,181.42 metric tonnes. As of yesterday, it was just 1,104.71. This means that since the recent paper price beatdown began seven trading days ago, the GLD has shed 76.71 metric tonnes of gold. For all of 2013, a total of 245.21 metric tonnes of gold has egressed from the GLD. That's 7,883,684 troy ounces or 19,709 London bars. (I could C&P all of the pallets necessary to hold these bars but I don't want to crash my servers.) Note the numbers, however. Almost 8MM troy ounces have been withdrawn ytd. As of yesterday, the total Comex warehouse stock of eligible (unallocated, non-deliverable) and registered (available for delivery) gold was just 8,781,909 ounces.
    • Paper price raids with attendant margin hikes. This next link isn't very much fun to read but I ask you to review it, regardless. You'll even find a comment in there from yours truly. (I like the "Franz Ferdinand" just didn't work out that way...yet.) In trying to get this point across, though, reading this old story and considering it from the perspective of current events is helpful. Note the date it was written. Think about what happened next. Then think about what has happened over the past two weeks.
    • Lease rates and cash vs futures backwardation. Now this is where it gets really interesting. Back in the late 1990s, Gordon Brown ordered the liquidation of a vast amount of English gold. He's since been ridiculed for selling at the low which has subsequently been called "Brown's Bottom". But was he really just blindly and foolishly dumping gold or was there something far more significant taking place behind the scenes? Please stop here and read this: You see, once again the "public story/narrative" is nowhere near the truth. We now know that Brown was actually forced to sell England's gold in order to stave off a bullion bank collapse, a collapse that posed a systemic risk to the global financial system. Gold was delivered for the purpose of covering Goldman Sachs' grossly mismatched leases. Deliveries were made and the system was saved. Physical demand subsided as the dot-com and real estate bubbles were inflated. With the goal of avoiding a repeat of this near-disaster, the banks began to actively manage an ascending gold price in order to keep supply and demand in some sort of equilibrium. It worked pretty well until 2008. It really began to get away from them in 2009, with the advent of overt quantitative easing. Then, in September of 2011, with the U.S. downgrade and the Swiss Franc devaluation, it was decided that price must be crushed (a plan which continues to this day) in the hopes of controlling demand. To the bankers dismay, demand for metal did not decrease. After slowing in 2012, it has increased significantly since the QE∞ announcement last autumn. Crushing price only served to buy time. And now it appears that time has run out.
    • Bullion bank default. Which then brings us to this. About four weeks ago, the Dutch bank, ABN AMRO, declared that it would no longer deliver physical gold to its clients. & & Now combine those three articles with these two bits of analysis, written in just the past 24 hours: &’s-gold-and-silver-price-slam-will-backfire-and-how. We also hear anecdotally how both Andrew Maguire and Jim Sinclair know of contacts who have recently been denied delivery of supposed "allocated" gold from their bullion bank accounts: &

    OK, so now it's 3:08 pm EDT and what have I accomplished. Are the dots connecting? Can we draw any conclusions or even educated guesses as to what might happen next? You know what...I don't know. But I do know this:

    The current situation has many parallels to past events. Is there enough evidence to conclude that the end of the fractional reserve bullion banking system is right around the corner? Perhaps "conclude" is too strong of a word. Put it this way: Is there enough evidence to infer that its a near-term possibility? Yes. Absolutely, yes.

    So what do we need to watch going forward? How about these seven items:

    1. Physical demand. If it begins to wane in the days ahead OR if it declines or ceases after the next price drop, then the banks will likely be able to buy more time.
    2. Lease rates. If the gold lease rate spikes positive like it did in 1999 or how silver did in 2011, you'll know that supply is getting extremely tight.
    3. The CoT structure. Though they haven't been able to pull it off yet, the banks may try to cover shorts to the point of being net long, thereby transferring the "short risk" to the Specs.
    4. Paper price. Do the banks dare rig price even lower, risking an even greater surge of physical demand and an increase in the rate of inventory depletion.
    5. GLD "inventory". Someone in the previous thread made mention of something that FOFOA noted recently. The GLD is down 245 tonnes YTD. It took over two months to "lose" the first 100 tonnes (1/2/13 - 3/7/13). It took about 6 weeks to lose the next 100 tonnes (3/8/13 - 4/16/13). And we have now lost 41 tonnes in the four days since. Will this acceleration continue?
    6. Comex warehouse inventories. They currently hold enough gold to settle and deliver the June and August contracts. Then what? From where will they get their gold to replenish these stocks.
    7. Global tonnage demand. Not through New York but London, Shanghai and Dubai. Does the pace of these allocations and deliveries increase or decrease with price?

    So, I've given you a lot to think about today. (Welcome to my world!) I hope I've left you with the impression that things are extremely complicated at this moment. Far more complicated than what you're being told, where the "mainstream" opinion claims that gold is declining because of a lack of global inflation or the sunny prospects of economic growth. That analysis seems a little shallow now, don't you think?

    To me it seems that the banks have once again walked the world to the precipice. If physical demand continues unabated, the fractional reserve bullion banking system will likely collapse as member firms and exchanges are eventually forced to default. Rest assured, we'll keep our eyes wide open, looking for additional clues and warning signs. For now, though, just continue to practice your primary safety drill: Buy metal, take delivery and add it to your stack. While you still can.


    About the Author

    tfmetalsreport [at] gmail [dot] com ()


    Apr 24, 2013 - 3:08pm

    CoT week

    For the reporting week, gold was UP $22 and OI rose by 2,000. Silver was down 81¢ and OI rose by 1,700.

    Also, total silver OI is rising again. Up another to 1,706 yesterday to 158,970. Remember the recent peak was on 4/10 at 166,621.

    Apr 24, 2013 - 2:59pm

    Specialties II

    from earlier post:

    ============= Specialties April 21, 2013 - 9:13am.
    Turd has his specialties, and is doing a marvelous job. Many Hat tips. We all should be thankful for the site. BRAVO is the word that comes to mind.

    An observation is the use of "TURD", in that it is self-ridicule, which is very disarming when surrounded by hot heads, in a contentious theater. Bravo comes to mind, again.

    Manipulation also can serve objectives, like lighting off dyno sticks for the rocket jocks, when raw raw is needed, to chilling out the mirv bombs to preciously focus, when targeted peace is needed, indicating to one, that a master is at work. Bravo comes to mind, yet again.
    ===== So lets continue, if you have your double dutch bus faire.

    A turdville trademark or a service mark: Ever notice, if you look real hard, the yellar, hint is its yellow and big and sits atop a worthy head, well that helps turd distinguish himself in the market place of gold heavies, a logo, an insignia, used to differentiate others in the market place of gold heavies. It is a fantastic mark, used as such to avoid trademark and service mark infringement, and now if you combine yellar with the use of "turd, bingo, you hit the jackpot, avoiding confusion in the market place with a conspicuous logo, and this doves tails into disarming hot jocks throwing mirv bombs on mushrooms, the use of "turd" in combination with that dump stupid looking hat, is just superb in disarming hot jocks and unique indication in the market place. I swear he must have seen a TM attorney beforehand, setting the theater before blastoff, and BRAVO still further, therefore.

    And since it has been historically used for RAW RAW, a precious item sought by all, in a precious forum in a precious market, its actually a hat trick, as a RAW RAW prise, a uniqueness mark, in combination with the name, disarming, for the in-the-park stand up triple, an indication of 3rd order analysis capabilities, very impressive, for an out of this world and into the cosmos business savvy, and so, BRAVO still again.

    Spirituality: as self admitted, it comes together, in the 4th order, squares up, for yet another, BRAVO still further, not to make nonspiritualists wet their pants, please close your eyes. LMAO!!!


    Sincerely Yours and Most Respectfully

    It is an honor to be your obedient Servant.

    Apr 24, 2013 - 2:17pm


    Your clumsy abuse doesn't impress me in the least. When you examine your personal definitions of inflation and the value of assets, you'll realise that they are valueless if not shared by others. You'll just be another gold fantasist with Kool-aid dripping out of their ears and no wealth, watching from the gutter as more rational people sweep past you. That dull pain behind your eyes that never goes away? It's called being wrong about everything.

    How's that for abuse? Am I getting the hang of the how to argue this way? It doesn't seem very productive, does it?

    Apr 24, 2013 - 1:40pm

    @ turd re the default scenario

    Really excellent commentary, Turd....!!!!

    I thought I would paste in my two cents too - an email I sent over morning coffee to our little group of concerned citizens up here. I should add by way of context that mine production for gold is a bit north of 2500 mt per year globally, so the draw-downs out of London (15-25 tonnes) and GLD (about 15 tonnes off the top of my head) is both significant and all about hypothecation and fraud....So is the stuff going to hit the fan sooner or later?

    COMEX DEFAULTING may be here.
    Buried in this morning's Sinclair piece is a CGIA who writes in that when he went to the COMEX to get out his two contracts of metal, was given warehouse receipts instead....Possibilities 1) COMEX is defaulting over a measly 200 ounces of gold 2) he is lying to stir the pot and 3) if he is not lying he represents the first indication that the COMEX paper market is finished and a moratorium is about to be called....Note that one normally receives a warehouse receipt when taking delivery but the CME is also supposed to give up the metal if requested to do so....The point is this fellow reporting this to Jim Sinclair (remember only 2 contracts of gold involved) would be one of many...His reaction was to notify Jim. Others would be to declare a default against the CME... It is clear by now that they are fighting price in the paper markets even when a feeding frenzy is the result...This STRONGLY indicates that the defaults have begun as Sinclair mentions below,,,,and we are only days away from some announcement...I could be wrong (hope so),,,,but it should be clear to the bullion banks that their manufactured crash of last week did not work,,,,is backfiring on them, OR the crash was simply to clear the short positions and lower prices for cashing out of all long positions by the specs and small commercials (or both goals, of course) because the time of defaults has begun...There are numerous indications of the illiquid nature of the exchanges now - and defaults (AMRO) - and that includes the irreplaceable leased metal short positions of the bullion banks...The latter will be forgiven by the central banks (it is GONE), but the panic of the clients of the bullion banks who suspect now that they hold only paper positions in their allocated accounts or even in some storage facilities (MONEXÉ) will continue to support a strong run on the remaining stockpiles of gold and silver at the LBMA and COMEX...And needless to say, even the fully backed paper contracts of the Shanghai Exchange is facing a run for their metal too...If all this does indicate that the whole paper gold market SYSTEM is in default, we should have our moratorium on gold buying (and selling in these markets in NY and London) in DAYS not months.... And they will keep the paper markets papered down and going sideways for show and potential cash-out of longs and forwards.... They will go nowhere as I have been speculating about for months on this forum....IMHO. If that guy mentioned who was stiffed for metal is not lying then he will represent MANY out there who have experienced a default..The CME does not have the metal either....If this is true this will resolve VERY quickly with a cascade of news of similar events at the COMEX!!!! This IS the beginning of the big one - the separation of the physical markets from the rigged paper ones - but it remains to be seen whether there will be any continuation of the paper markets at all - as mentioned....We are looking at trillions of dollars of cashing out of these defaulted metal positions and the chaos will be systemic and very serious for the paper currency markets.... As Sinclair has mentioned we could see $3000 gold almost overnight is the public begins to realize that there is no gold available...The rest of the public (who are too distracted to pay attention) will still miss the boat - we are only talking about 2% who have bought enough gold (hopefully all of our group has enough for what is coming) - while the majority of the public will start to experience the financial chaos I have so often referred to... Yep, it is time for another GBSG meeting.... (the name of our group is tongue in cheek, the Gold Bug Support Group....) FWIW, G.
    Apr 24, 2013 - 12:32pm

    New Note, changes afoot?

    This is interesting...

    The redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on October 8, 2013. This note, which incorporates new security features, will be easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. The 3-D Security Ribbon that is woven into the paper and the Bell in the Inkwell were developed for the $100 note because they are technologically advanced, but also quick and easy to use in day-to-day transactions. Several highly effective features were also retained from the previous design, including the portrait watermark, the security thread, and the color-shifting numeral 100.

    To learn more about the new-design $100 note and to obtain training and educational materials, visit the U.S. currency education website at

    Apr 24, 2013 - 12:14pm

    @Dr Jerome Coins

    I would suggest going to any jewelry stores nearby that buy gold and ask them to put you on their email list or give your phone number to them in case someone comes in with some coins to sell.

    This is how I managed to get the Saudi Aramco coin/ingot. About 2 years ago I took the hobby up and learned how to grade, it can be daunting but the better a coin looks the rarer it usually is. To those suggesting getting a coin for spot as a numismatic play it ain't going to happen. It's the rarity of a coin that makes it valuable.

    I would suggest going here to learn what the market dynamics are:

    As always take what they say with trepidation as they are selling high end coins, But from what I have sourced the market this year is HOT just like 2008, yes that WAS a bad year!

    High end coins are for high net worth individuals, if you are not one stay away from these coins. What the purpose of these are is an alternative place to store wealth, when you have a lot you need to spread it around. Recently a 5 cent coin sold for $250,000. Are any of you willing to this? Are you willing to spend $23,000 on a $2 1/2 dollar gold piece?

    It takes a LOT of RESEARCH and time to learn how to grade, different compostitions grade differently and trying to sift out what is good vs bad is a challenge.

    Now the best advice I can give is do what Mike Maloney suggests, stay away from numismatics, stack in ounces. You can buy collectors coins after this has reached its defining point in history.

    Key Economic Events Week of 10/19

    10/19 11:45 ET Goon Chlamydia
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    Apr 24, 2013 - 12:13pm

    Ummm Harald

    The team logo is on the front-right side. .

    Apr 24, 2013 - 11:47am

    No shadow

    It's the Houston Texans, could be under the dome.

    Hate the way "real" football teams wear their sponsor's logo instead of the team name or city on their uniforms. The fellow in the red jersey is Wayne Rooney who plays for Manchester United but you would have no way of knowing that by looking at his shirt. Guess I'm a traditionalist. They pay the players millions, they can't be that hard up for money.

    Apr 24, 2013 - 11:21am

    Football problem

    It's not football.

    THIS is football:

    Dyna mo humwoofwoof
    Apr 24, 2013 - 11:09am


    15th On screen also one player has blood red shoes on.

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