Mystery Theater: GOFAUX artifacts and Germanic bankster tragedy

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 4:09pm

As you may have noticed, there has been a bit of discussion lately about the GOFO – the Gold Forward Offered Rate, published by the LBMA and generated by the member banks. According to the LBMA, it “represent the rates at which dealers will lend gold on a swap basis against US dollars”.

In more detail from the official LBMA FAQ (emphasis mine):

“The contributors are the Market Making Members of the LBMA: The Bank of Nova Scotia–ScotiaMocatta, Barclays Bank Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Bank USA London Branch, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Société Générale and UBS AG.

The means are set at 11 am London time. These are the rates shown on the LBMA website. To show derived gold lease rates, the GOFO means are subtracted from the corresponding values of the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rates) US dollar means. These rates are also available on the LBMA website.

At 10.30 am London time, the Reuters page is cleared of all rates. Contributors then enter their rates for all time periods. A minimum of six contributors must enter rates in order for the means to be calculated. At 11.00 am, the mean is established for each maturity by discarding the highest and lowest quotations in each period and averaging the remaining rates.

They provide a basis for some finance and loan agreements as well as for the settlement of gold Interest Rate Swaps.”

All of the numbers displayed in the charts below can be found at these sources:

LBMA Gold Forwards

LBMA Gold Fixings

SPDR GLD Historical Data

The more recent activity of the various maturities can be followed here:

The longer-term picture looks thus:

Unsatisfied with the clarity these charts provide as to HOW exactly GOFO may presage up- or downturns in gold price (which is a perennially popular, yet to my feeble mind insufficiently explained 'truism'), I decided to play around with the numbers a little bit. Everything that follows on this topic is pure ‘sophistry’ for lack of a better term. None of the metrics displayed have been sanctioned by any precious metals gurus, analysts, bankers or economists (that I know of – though examples of similar approaches would be very welcome).

So, what is a lad to do when trying to analyze a trend over time, and the straight numbers don’t offer clarity? Why, make the dataset more complicated, of course! What I’ve done below is remarkably simple (and only debatably useful) – calculated the per-ounce cost of borrowing gold on a swap basis against USD, adjusted to the prevailing gold price at the time. Behold: GOFAUX™

In the interest of saving a bit of time, I will spare you the other (less productive) rabbit holes I went down and try to cut straight to the chase. But one interjection is needed – why plot the data only from 2000? A strange little set of things happened from 1999 onwards, timeline courtesy of Bloomberg:

May 1999: Bank of England announces sales of gold reserves in five auctions.

August 1999: Gold falls to low of $251.95

September 1999: First Central Bank Gold Agreement announced where 15 European central banks including the European Central Bank agreed to limit collective sales to 2,000 metric tons over five years through 2004.

2003: First gold-backed exchange-traded fund started.

March 2004: Second Central Bank Gold Agreement limiting collective sales of European central banks to 2,500 tons through 2009.

November 2004: SPDR Gold Trust, world’s biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, created.

So, suspending disbelief for a moment, please consider the following in light of the fact that you are reading the ramblings of a dope with a spreadsheet and a penchant for goal-seeking patterns that he WANTS to be able to see:

  • There is an odd similarity in the shape of the GOFAUX™ (daily GOFO x daily gold PM London fix price) curve and that of the prevalent gold prices ca. 1358 days later (the average of the timespans between ‘peaks’ and ‘lows’ on the chart).
  • Any and all economic, financial, demographic data – heck ANY data controlled and disseminated by .gov, banks and MSM is suspect. The very basis of all of this could very well be mere fantasy based on garbage in, garbage out.
  • There could be NO rational connection between DAILY gyrations in GOFO and gold prices from 4.5 years ago to the activity of the gold markets TODAY. Could there? This has all got to be irrelevant, arbitrary conjecture from a dilettante.
  • Well, I thought there has GOT to be some fallacy involved in my train of thought. There MUST be a fundamental (and quite simple) obvious explanation for seeing this. And there very well may be, I look forward to your thoughts on this.

    But taking this madness one step further, I did one more transformation – I shifted the dates for this arbitrary and artificial GOFO/ounce metric by the average number of days between peaks/troughs ‘observed’ (capriciously picked by eyeballing the chart in haste, due to a lack of graphing/analytic software to plot and capture ACTUAL highs and lows, slopes, differences and retracements). The chart below displays gold price in ‘real’ time, and lined up with it shows the GOFAUX average values from 1358 trading days prior.

    The correlation coefficient for the 1,130 data points involved: 0.9063. If the thought process and underlying data could be considered sound, the odds of this occurring by chance would be VERY CLOSELY asymptotic to zero.

    In the interest of getting this posted, further detailed speculation on this imaginary and potentially specious metric will have to wait for another day. But some baseline assumptions/questions:

  • Is it POSSIBLE that entities (banks, dealers, hedge funds, ETFs, sovereigns and agents of all of the above) engaged in MASSIVE amounts of gold leasing and lending in the 2004-2008 timeframe, creating (unreported) long-term lending agreements with (unreported) swap/lease rates, with a maturity of, oh I dunno, 5 years or so?
  • Could the current activity we are witnessing in both gold prices and GOFO rates be in part due to the expiration of these contracts on a very literal, day-by-day basis? What, exactly WOULD we expect to be happening if this were the case? How would registered/disclosed gold inventories change? What exactly would the lessor and the lender be doing, what specific assets would they be moving (or not moving) upon reaching the maturity of these make-believe long-term gold lending contracts?
  • GOFO can clearly go negative, while actual gold price cannot (at least in accounting terms). The correlation depicted above HAS to break at some point between now and 4.5 years from now (when the negative average GOFO rate would drag the GOFAUX in to subzero values). WHEN, exactly, can this be expected to occur?
  • Completely non-sequitur (?) secondary mystery of the week -- question for the German-speaking Turdites (and perhaps Jim Willie's source):

    There is a potentially very bizarre (though of course possibly explained via completely mundane reasons) scandal of sorts in the German/Swiss financial sector that caught my eye. There was an article (and embedded compilation of links to background stories) that sounds like something straight out of Jim Willie’s accounts:

    “New details are emerging about the suicide of Pierre Wauthier, the 53-year old CFO of Zurich Insurance, that can only be bad for Josef Ackermann, his boss and the former CEO of Deutsche Bank. After Wauthier took his own life last week Ackermann promptly resigned as Zurich’s chairman, saying it was because Wauthier’s family was blaming him—an explanation that seemed dubious to some. Now, various reports published over the last 24 hours have revealed a troubled relationship between the two men. […]

    The CFO’s body was discovered by police on Monday, August 26, when he didn’t show up for work. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ackermann called a meeting of Zurich’s board of directors the next day. During the meeting, he read Wauthier’s suicide note, which repeatedly heaped blame on Ackermann and his tough management style. Ackermann was apparently deeply affected, and wouldn’t respond to directors’ phone calls after the meeting adjourned.

    When the meeting commenced the next afternoon, Ackermann dropped a bombshell: he announced his resignation, effective immediately.

    (Pierre on the left, Herr JosefA on the right)

    Think of it this way, as a matter of perspective – JamieD resigns from the top dog spot at JPM to enjoy his spoils of war, and to take the ‘golf-intensive’ job of replacing aging Uncle Warren as the head of Berkshire Hathaway. Two years later, instead of resigning in protest (and taking an even-better option at another financial powerhouse), the CFO of the latter company commits suicide and scrawls a dying condemnation of the top bankster in his own blood.

    Is it just ME that thinks this is EXTREMELY unusual for Swiss financial circles? That there may be more behind this tragedy of avoidable, violent catharsis presumably stemming from gargantuan hubris on the part of Uncle Josef? A true moral conflict on the part of Pierre coming out of the realization of what he had done (presumably under the direction/pressure of JosefA)? Bankster infighting collateral damage, aimed at removing JosefA much as DSK was publicly drawn-and-quartered – and Pierre was a mere bishop sacrificed to checkmate the King (aka guided-projectile Arkancide)?

    About the Author


    Sep 6, 2013 - 5:17pm

    great work


    Motley Fool
    Sep 6, 2013 - 5:19pm


    You are welcome.

    Sep 6, 2013 - 5:51pm

    Not to hijack the topic, but look at this bovine excrement

    Dear Mr.XXXX

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the ongoing situation in Syria. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter.

    I am currently reviewing the language of the proposed legislation that Congress is debating to authorize military action against Syria. I am deeply concerned about the atrocities committed by the Assad regi me against the Syrian people. I continue to support humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and military aid to moderate fo rces in the Syrian opposition. However, I have serious questions about the strategic goals and outcomes of a U.S. military strike in Syria. I look forward to learning more from the Obama Administration on its end goals and its strategy to avoid open-ended involvement in this conflict. At the same time, our nation must work with our allies to protect American interests in the region, including Israel.

    On September 4, 2013, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved by a 10-7 vote a draft resolution that would authorize President Barack Obama to use U.S. military force in Syria. If enacted, this resolution would prohibit U.S. troops on the ground, and would set a limited timeframe for any U.S. military involvement. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that the full Senate will debate and vote on the resolution no later than the week of September 9, 2013.

    On August 31, 2013, President Barack Obama announced he would seek Congressional authorization for a limited U.S. military strike in Syria. The President's announcement was made shortly after the White House released an intelligence assessment to the public which concluded with "high confidence" that the Syrian government deployed chemical weapons on its citizens during the morning of August 21, 2013.

    The United States and the international community have strongly condemne d the use of chemical weapons. I have heard from many Washingtonians who are concerned about the atrocities committed and th e safety of the Syrian people. I have also heard from many Washingtonians who are deeply concerned about the potential use o f U.S. military force in Syria. As the United States recovers from a decade of war that has put a strain on our military families and our country , it is important that Congress and the President exercise caution in this decision. A government's illegal use of chemical weapons on its own people is indefensible and unacceptable; however, the use of U.S. military force should not be taken lightly.

    Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as this situation develops.

    Maria Cantwell
    United States Senator

    For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

    Needless to I'll be responding and voting this bitch out!!!

    Sep 6, 2013 - 6:14pm


    Here's another winner (not). They all must use the same template. I especially like the typos.

    Dear XXXX,

    Thank you for contacting me about the violence in Syria and U.S. involvement in the conflict. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this important issue.

    We need to refrain from overly committing the United States to an internal conflict, while addressing the very real national security and humanitarian crisis in Syria. Thus far, President Obama's strategy has not worked. Russia and Iran openly support the Syrian regime, Hezbollah terrorists are in Syria fight ing against the Syrian opposition , the regime is using chemical weapons against its own people, the death toll continues to rise, the number of refugees spilling into Jordan and Turkey is increasing, and the more moderate elements of the Syrian opposition face growing competition from jihadist grou p s for control of the movement. It is clear that we have not been doing enough to address an escalating crisis that threatens to cause real damage to our allies and interests throughout the region . We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.

    While there is a need for a more coherent and active U.S. strategy in Syria, we must do everything we can to ensure that any aid we send goes to the right people and does not empower the g roups and individuals whose goals do not align with U.S. objectives. We must also proceed cautiously to avoid overcom mitting ourselves to the conflict. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that whatever involvement we have in Syria follows a clearly-defined plan.

    Thank you for taking that time to share your thoughts on this important issue. I value your opinion and will keep it mind as I continue to monitor American involvement in Syria. For more information, please visit my website at .


    Rob Portman
    U.S. Senator

    Sep 6, 2013 - 7:00pm

    California Gold Rush - 1848

    Geological Survey Reveals Numerous Gold Sources in Yemen


    On January 24, 1848, while examining the tailrace draining water from his sawmill by the American River, James Marshall spotted some gleaming yellow lumps in the bottom of the channel. This documentary tells the story of what happened next.

    The Californian Gold Rush drew prospectors from all corners of the globe, eager for the easy and rich pickings available. Within the space of five years, San Francisco grew from a sleepy village of just 800 people to a cosmopolitan city boasting 12 daily newspapers and 27 foreign consulates. Entire communities sprang up, with the service industries supplying tools, food, women and liquor often making more money than the prospectors themselves.

    The film follows the stories of a small group of diverse characters -- Chinese and Chilean, Northerner and Southerner, black and white -- from the early euphoria to the darker times of fierce competition for the few lucrative mines. The Gold Rush made many people very rich, but James Marshall was not one of them. His discovery robbed him of his land and his livelihood. He invested in one failed mine and ended up penniless in a cabin after a state pension dried up. In 1886, a year after his death, a monument was erected to him as the man who started it all. James was not the only loser in an event that transformed a city, a fledgling state and an entire nation.

    1 of 5 California Gold Rush 1848 mp4
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    3 of 5 California Gold Rush 1848 mp4
    4 of 5 California Gold Rush 1848 mp4
    5 of 5 California Gold Rush 1848 mp4
    So It Goes
    Sep 6, 2013 - 7:00pm

    This is obviously very bad news

    This is obviously very bad news.

    There is no way to game this as a positive. If true it is lose/lose time.

    But a comment made me spit out a drink through my nose - it so hits the mark. I laughed so hard that I thought I would share: Gotta keep laughing - I'm going for a walk.


    I graduated college 11 short years ago. The possibilities sucked ass, and it's been all downhill from there.

    I have this stupid grin on my face and I can't get rid of it. I don't know if it's because I think they've fucked up this time, or if I know we're completely screwed and this is all so retarded it's funny.

    I'm also leaning heavily in favor of the idea that I've finally gone insane.

    Sep 6, 2013 - 7:27pm

    The Orwellian Debate Over Isolationism

    The Orwellian Debate Over Isolationism

    By James R. Holmes

    September 6, 2013


    Amazing, isn't it, how much of political discourse comes down to hanging an unflattering label on your opponents? After all, if people assume your opponent is a nasty so-and-so of one type or another, no one will listen to him. You win by default. This practice infuriated George Orwell, mainly, it seems, because it involved using words imprecisely. Name-calling debased and impoverished the English language, whereas restoring clarity and precision to the language was Orwell's lifelong quest.

    Exhibit A: the term fascist. Orwell published a hilarious essay in the Tribune in 1944, showing that serious people had called every major political movement in English society fascist. Conservatives, socialists, godless commies, pro-war types, war resisters — all were fascists!

    A term that describes everything describes nothing. From this Orwell concluded that the term had become "essentially meaningless." He returned to this point in his classic essay on "Politics and the English Language," with which I torment new students at the beginning of every term. Orwell concludes that "The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable.'" Many different abstract words — "democracy" and so forth — likewise stand at risk of losing all meaning.

    The great George would have a field day with the debate over whether to intervene in Syria. In some quarters it appears that opposing military action qualifies a skeptic as an "isolationist." This is clearly something not desirable in the dominant reading of U.S. diplomatic history.

    Isolationism — or "isolationism, so called," in the words of University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall — ran rampant in interwar America, fueled by inordinate fears of a new world war. It neutered the League of Nations while delaying rearmament for the eventual showdown with the Axis. Lesson: Isolationism = Bad.

    But were the isolationists really isolationist? America was no Hermit Kingdom like North Korea. It was no Japan under the Tokugawa shoguns, a country that secluded itself from the world for over two centuries until being pried open by Commodore Perry's black ships at gunpoint. Now that's isolation.

    Isolationist politicians like Senator Arthur Vandenberg and Senator William Borah were comfortable with carrying on foreign commerce, and with maintaining diplomatic relations with foreign countries. At most they were selectively isolationist, imploring the United States to shun military alliances and other entanglements. McDougall maintains that "unilateralism" — retaining Washington's liberty of action rather than committing in advance to the use of force — is a more fitting term for the Vandenbergs and Borahs of the foreign-policy world.

    So let's infuse some Orwellian perspective into the debate over Syria. If an opponent of intervention wants not just to forego punishing the Assad regime but to cancel all overseas ventures involving force, then fine. He may qualify as an isolationist to the limited extent that the interwar isolationists did. If not, it's time to find another term — even though it may not be as much fun as tarring those with whom you disagree.

    Mr. Fix
    Sep 6, 2013 - 7:29pm

    I just love all the scandal and conspiracy,

    but the charts and numbers don't mean squat.

    Sep 6, 2013 - 7:49pm

    Is Iran planning revenge strikes if US hits Syria?

    Is Iran planning revenge strikes if US hits Syria?

    Published September 06, 2013

    U.S. officials have intercepted intelligence indicating Iran recently urged militants to strike the U.S. embassy in Baghdad -- raising the possibility that the country is looking to orchestrate revenge attacks if the United States launches missiles at its ally Syria.

    The Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. had intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq, telling them to attack if there is a Syria strike.

    A senior military source told Fox News that there is indeed such an intelligence intercept, but the intelligence has not been completely vetted.

    Still, a separate senior U.S. official said it's quite common for Iran to be giving orders to hit the embassy in Baghdad. When rockets hit the compound, the orders are often traced back to elements in Iran.

    This official said he was not aware of any increased security at the Baghdad embassy, or any reductions in embassy staff, as a protective measure. The Baghdad embassy remains the largest, most heavily fortified embassy in the world.

    Amid the heightened tensions, though, the U.S. is taking other precautionary measures. The warnings and precautions underscore the risk the U.S. could be taking by launching a military hit on a Middle East country embroiled in civil war.

    The State Department on Friday ordered nonessential American diplomats and the families of staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut to leave Lebanon immediately due to security concerns as Congress debates whether to authorize an attack on Syria. The department also authorized the voluntary departure of diplomats and families at the U.S. Consulate in Adana, Turkey, which is the closest American diplomatic post to Syria in Turkey.

    In a new travel warning for Lebanon, the department said it had instructed nonessential staffers to leave Beirut and urged private American citizens to depart the country "due to threats to U.S. mission facilities and personnel."

    "The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains," it said.

    The step had been under consideration since last week when Obama said he was contemplating military action against the Syrian government for its alleged chemical weapons attack last month that the administration said killed more than 1,400 people near Damascus.

    Hezbollah, an Assad ally that has sent fighters into Syria, is based in Lebanon and the department noted that Hezbollah "maintains a strong presence in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley and areas in South Lebanon."

    The Journal report also quoted U.S. officials saying they fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

    The message purportedly from Iran was intercepted recently, according to the Journal, and came from the head of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force. It reportedly went to Shiite militia groups in Iraq.

    Read more:

    Mr. Fix
    Sep 6, 2013 - 8:10pm

    "Against all of humanity."



    Aeschylus stated, In war, truth is the first casualty.”
    The Third World War has clearly already begun, as it is a war being waged by the global shadow banking system against all of humanity. [Read more...]

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