Another Thought Experiment

139
Wed, Dec 18, 2013 - 3:35pm

About a month ago, I was maligned and pilloried by some detractors for having the audacity to suggest that the reported Comex vault stock numbers were obviously dubious. Other bloggers suggested that the deposits in question were easily explained by the deposit of 99.99% pure, Asian kilobars. OK, maybe. For fun today, I thought we'd take these folks at their word and see where it leads us.

First, some histoire....

Back in the middle of October, some very odd and very precise deposits were made into the eligible vault of JPMorgan. Over three days, the total amount of gold booked in was exactly and precisely ten metric tonnes. It looked like this:

These oddly precise eligible deposits prompted me to write this: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/5182/more-deception-comex

The chagrin and malignment came about when it was suggested that, instead of being "bullshit", these deposits are simply the reflection of Kilobars of gold being deposited at The Comex. Of course, given that dealings on the Comex are so deliberately opaque that the CME Group itself "disclaims all liability whatsoever with regard to the accuracy or completeness" of these reports, there's no point in continuing to debate whether or not these are simple paper shenanigans or Kilobar deposits. We can't know for certain so, in the end, we are just arguing for arguments sake and getting nowhere.

So, today, I thought it'd be more fun to just simply take as fact and accurate the CME Group reports. Let's go ahead and presume that the deposits of late October really were perfect, one kilogram bars....and then let's see where that takes us. And, again, a disclaimer: I'm not claiming to have all of the answers here. This is just a thought experiment and I'm simply trying to lay out the information that I see every day and asking you for your opinion. What do you think?

POINT #1

Some have suggested a simple explanation for the 10 metric ton delivery in October. This addition was the gold that JPM stopped during the October Comex gold delivery process. Hmmm. OK. But here's the problem. JPM only stopped 1,054 contracts that month between their House and Customer accounts. That works out to be about 3 1/3 metric tonnes, yet JPM booked in 10 metric tonnes over the three days in question. Again, hmmm.

JPM also stopped 3,414 contracts in August and that's a little more than 10 tonnes. Could the October bookings simply be the delivery to their vaults of the August metal? That seems plausible, I guess, but more likely just leads us to...

POINT #2

Here's how the Comex math works. According to the CME Rulebook (https://www.cmegroup.com/rulebook/NYMEX/1a/113.pdf), this is how deposits and deliveries are accounted:

The contract for delivery on futures contracts shall be one hundred (100) troy ounces of gold with a weight tolerance of 5% either higher or lower. Gold delivered under this contract shall assay to a minimum of 995 fineness and must be an Approved Brand.

Gold meeting all of the following specifications shall be deliverable in satisfaction of futures contract delivery obligations under this rule:

  1. Either one (1) 100 troy ounce bar, or three (3) one (1) kilo bars.

  2. Gold must consist of one or more of the Exchange’s approved brand marks, as provided in Chapter 7, current at the date of the delivery of contract.

  3. Each bar of Eligible gold must have the weight, fineness, bar number, and brand mark clearly incised on the bar. The weight may be in troy ounces or grams. If the weight is in grams, it must be converted to troy ounces for documentation purposes by dividing the weight in grams by 31.1035 and rounding to the nearest one hundredth of a troy ounce. All documentation must illustrate the weight in troy ounces.

  4. Each Warrant issued by a Licensed Depository shall reference the serial number and name of the Approved Producer of each bar.

  5. Each assay certificate issued by an Approved Assayer shall certify that each bar of gold in the lot assays no less than 995 fineness and weight of each bar and the name of the Approved Producer that produced each bar.

  6. Upon receipt of the gold bar by the Licensed Depository who must also qualify and be designated a Licensed Weighmaster for gold, each gold bar shall be weighed in the lot measured to 1/100 of a troy ounce (two decimal points). In accomplishing such measurement, each bar shall be weighed to the nearest 1/1000 of a troy ounce (three decimal points); weights of 4/1000 of a troy ounce or less shall be rounded down to the nearest 1/100 of a troy ounce and weights of 5/1000 of a troy ounce or more shall be rounded up to the nearest 1/100 of a troy ounce.

OK, now this is getting interesting. There are several things to note here.

  • Comex good delivery bars are 995 fineness. This is important because the "Asian Standard" that so many folks are discussing these days is 999 fineness. A difference that is not insignificant. Because of this variance in quality, it would seem quite foolish for an owner of a 999 bar to "register" and sell it on The Comex.
  • Time for a little math. Point #3 from the rulebook states: If the weight is in grams, it must be converted to troy ounces for documentation purposes by dividing the weight in grams by 31.1035 and rounding to the nearest one hundredth of a troy ounce. Hmmm. The actual math then looks like this: One Kilogram = 1000 grams. Divide 1000 grams by 31.1035 and you get 32.1507226 troy ounces. The CME ten says you can "round to the nearest hundredth". This give us 32.15. Multiply that by 1000 and you get...VOILA...32,150.000 troy ounces for every 1000 Kilobars deposited.
  • Problem solved.
  • Not quite.
  • Where I take issue with this is in the accounting. Remember, we're dealing with bankers and bean counters here. They often do not take kindly to "rounding errors". What if we don't "round to the nearest hundredth"? The math changes slightly. Not much to begin with but, with increasing size, it becomes significant.
  • 32.1507226 X 1000 ounces = 32,150.7226. Note that this is NOT 32,150.000. There's 0.7226 troy ounces of gold "lost" in each of these one metric ton bookings. For just one metric ton, that's about $1000. Maybe not much to you and I but, to a soulless, greedy banker, a $1000 rounding error should raise some eyebrows.
  • Then, when you book in ten metric tonnes this way, the error becomes 7.226 troy onces. At current prices this is about $9000. Now we're talking some more serious cheese.
  • POINT #3

    Let's get back to the "fineness" issue. If we're dealing in Kilobars, it is very likely, given all of the reports of Asian demand and refinery backlogs, and given the method through which they were booked in, that the Kilobars allegedly deposited into JPM's eligible vault are of the 999 fineness variety. IF THAT'S THE CASE, these bars are not, and will not, ever be switched to registered. Why? Because the owner would be crazy to do so. If the minimum Comex standard is 995 then, as stated in Point #2 above, wouldn't it seem foolish to sell your 999 bars in New York? Therefore, the only likely way that a 999 bar would ever be registered and sold is if The Comex changes their purity rules. (Hold onto that thought. We'll get back to that in a minute.)

    Perhaps here we have actually stumbled upon our answer to this entire riddle:

  • These really are Kilobars, temporarily held for safekeeping in the NY vault of JPM, before being shipped overseas.
  • They are the product of American refiners. They are perfect, brand new 1KG bars destines for China etc. The JPM bankers don't necessarily care about the rounding errors because the very same bars will soon be shipped back out of the vaults, to destinations East.
  • If this is the case, we should eventually see equivalent, ten metric ton withdrawals take place. So far though, in the 2 months since, this hasn't happened. In fact, quite the opposite, which leads us to...
  • POINT #4

    Last Wednesday, JPM booked in another perfect and precise, two metric tonnes of eligible gold. But that wasn't the only day...the four days since have all seen identical deposits. This makes five, consecutive days of exact and precise, two metric ton deposits. It looks like this:

    (As rounding errors go, now we're really getting somewhere. 20 metric tonnes X 0.7726 troy ounces/ton = 14.452 troy ounces. Misplacing/disregarding 14.452 troy ounces equals almost $18,000 at current prices.)

    Again, some might suggest that this is simply the gold that JPM has stopped during the December delivery month. As we've painstakingly noted each day, JPM has now stopped exactly 5,000 of the total 5,207 December deliveries or 96%. Five thousand contracts is 500,000 ounces and, as shown above, over the past five days JPM has taken delivery of about 643,000 ounces.

    But now what do you make of this? Below is the CME Gold Stocks report for November 29, right before the December delivery period began. Note the inventory levels of HSBC and Scotia. Why? Since this report was generated, the House account of HSBC has issued/delivered 2,939 contracts (293,900 ounces) and the House account of Scotia has delivered another 1,225 (122,500 ounces). Here's the 11/29 report:

    And here's another look at the report from yesterday:

    Note the changes. The amount of gold in the vaults of each have gone UP, not down. In fact, if you go back to the report of 12/9, you'll see that HSBC even got in on the 32,150.000 act:

    POINT #5

    And I guess this is the main point...These "markets" are broken. The futures markets were set up as a place where producers could hedge and manage risk. Speculators were free to take the other side of these trades if they felt they could profit. Underlying these exchanges was the promise to actually deliver the physical commodity. Without this promise and process, you have an empty shell...a "market" comprised of nothing but paper derivatives and deliveries made with book-entries and the shuffling of warrants and warehouse receipts. The Comex was not designed to "discover price" but that's exactly what it does, and it does so at the whim of HFT speculators and bullion banks. And this has real world consequences.

    Look at the past two weeks of market activity. There has been tremendous volatility with price swings from day-to-day of 2-4%. The CFTC-generated CoT reports demonstrably show that all of this price action was due to the squeezing of Spec shorts one day, only to have them and replaced and put back on the next. Nowhere in this price action were the real world, supply and demand fundamentals of the producers ever in play. You tell me, did the fundamentals for silver mining production suddenly improve on December 10th, when price surged 62¢ or 3%? If so, then the fundamentals must have immediately turned back around two days later when price fell by 90¢ on December 12th.

    The global pricing mechanism for precious metal is now almost entirely the domain of speculating hedge funds and bullion banks. They do this through The Comex where rarely, if ever, anyone has to deliver against a paper short obligation. By rigging and momo-chasing prices lower, the banks and hedgies are forcing mining companies out of business and real jobs are being lost, often in places where there is no alternative employment. Lives and families are ruined, all to prop up confidence in The Great Ponzi and enrich and fatten some banker bonus pools.

    The good news is...Like all fraudulent schemes that distort the laws of supply and demand, this pricing structure will eventually come to and end. For me, it can't happen soon enough.

    POINT #6

    Just for fun, let's explore one other option....and this is pure speculation and conjecture.

    • What if the twenty metric tonnes of gold deposited into JPM's eligible vault over the past two months really is 20,000 Kilobars, of the 999 fineness variety?
    • Why would JPM be holding, at a minimum, 20 metric tonnes of Asian Kilobars in their NY vault?
    • Could these have been acquired for a big Asian client (China)? If so, does this give credence to the idea that JPM's client is China and, by extension, China is the big NET LONG on the Comex, converted from NET SHORT after successfully driving price down by over 30% in the past year? Lots of folks think this is possible and why not? Our buddy Koos Jansen pegs Chinese imports this year alone at 2,500 metric tonnes.(https://www.ingoldwetrust.ch/shanghai-gold-exchange-physical-delivery-eq...) If you were buying that much gold and had easy access to smash the price first, wouldn't you do it that way?
    • I've often stated that JPM's verifiable NET LONG Comex gold futures position is a market corner and it gives them the ability to break and take control of The Comex at a time of their choosing. If this position is actually China's...well, that certainly changes the dynamic a bit, doesn't it?
    • And now JPM (China) is stashing away 2 metric tonnes per day of Asian-standard Kilobars?
    • And a Chinese company just purchased One Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City? (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-18/jpmorgan-tower-sale-sets-recor...)
    • And One Chase Manhattan Plaza is the building which has, at it's sub-9 grade level, the largest precious metals vault in the world (https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-02/why-jpmorgans-gold-vault-largest-world-located-next-new-york-fed), directly across the street from the NY Fed vault?
    • And, just last year, the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world's largest market for industrial metal futures, was purchased by....wait for it...Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-24/lme-shareholders-poised-to-vot...)

    So the question (thought experiment) becomes...Is China planning a takeover/buyout of The Comex? It would seem that The Chinese are readying themselves to dominate metals trading in the 21st Century...They own the LME already and Shanghai is supplanting London as the world's largest volume precious metal delivery hub. Why not take global control of precious metal futures, too?

    IF that were to happen, what would this mean for price? With "control" of precious metals futures pricing and trading, would The Chinese perpetuate the manipulation or would they eliminate it? If The Chinese are moving toward the eventual backing of the yuan/renminbi with gold and/or silver, would it benefit them to have higher prices or lower, once they have physically taken control of the majority of the world's gold?

    Whoa. That's some heavy stuff. I've been mentally compiling this post for about a week and then physically typing it for the past three hours. Can you now see why it has taken so long? Anyway, welcome to my world! Please roll this information and these ideas around in your head for a while. Let me know what you think. Once again, maybe old William of Ockham provides the best answer....Newly-minted, American-made Kilobars, temporarily stored in JPM's New York vault, on their way to wherever. Then again, maybe not...

    TF

    About the Author

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    turd [at] tfmetalsreport [dot] com ()

      139 Comments

    agNau
    Dec 18, 2013 - 11:16pm

    I don't believe......

    this will continue very much longer.....we are very near the end of the rope. The signs are everywhere to see. All presented before you now is an elaborate lie. Take $85Billion/month. There is no way that has covered the new issues AND redemptions since the September blow....no one can seriously believe that to be true.......and then buy a tapering of that!!!! The number of people out of work is mind numbing......and shows no relent from reported figures. Those on the government dole are staying there......permanently residing.......with government plastic firmly in hand. Those claiming fatigue from paying the bills of others don't realize they really aren't......the print key is obliging.....a debt never to be repaid....the grandest of lies. China....Russia......Iran.......numerous other countries....even down to long term allies are now accepting deals outside the US dollar......their respect for our country slowly withering. No one should be able to believe that the "smart money" or Major players(China) in the gold market are about to reverse course on their G&S buying because the FED is tapering. If anything they will accelerate purchases and actually move price higher themselves because they know the truth, and know the days are drawing to a close on the capping/supply. Unless there is GLOBAL COLLABORATION to destroy and replace our currency system, then highly doubtful the military push and shoving is just a show. History indeed bears this out in repitition/rhyme. American exceptionalism is about to shine.....or at least the reality of same. The bully is about to jump on the world because he lost the game. How we arrive here is going to be quite dicey......messy.....and shocking. So be prepared mentally and physically. It is coming and I think soon. A genuine appearance will indeed demand real violence......ie....it will be convincing.....and push for war will be a drumbeat driven demand from all corners!! Interest rate derivatives.....what is about to happen to them? Paper this, paper that,...lie here/there...at some point reality bites and a price will be payed. This is what happened will all fiat currencies prior to this one.......this one will differ in the repercussions broad path, but will die nonetheless.....it is already dead.......the sheep have yet to be informed(slaughtered)to finalize the deal. The taper is merely another shovel full on a heaping pile.....methane.....the match is next.

    DAGEORGE42Ojibwemowin
    Dec 18, 2013 - 11:16pm

    Dude what inflation term are

    Dude what inflation term are you using? The monetary base (which gold is 94 pct correlated to since went went off golf standard) has risen over 30 pct this year and more than tripled since the crisis. The m0 is now only 8.5 pct backed, the cheapest of all time. Keep in mind the current 3.715 trillion of monetary base will still grow a ton at 75b per month. The average backing is over 22 pct. the only time gold was a bubble was in 1980 when a 800 dollars was 130 pct of the base money. Guess what 100 backing would be. 14350/oz.

    This afternoon at the close I went from 30 to 50 pct PMs. An additional 1000 oz on the close today. This valuation of gold is unsustainable and sentiment is beyond terrible. This will turn and when it does it will shock people.

    You keep your dollars, I'll keep my gold. You'll be buying it at 3000. And you'll still make money.

    mac
    Dec 18, 2013 - 11:24pm

    Chinese not Gold Friendly?

    Wow! A new meme from...?

    why do I even botherBugzy
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:02am

    China's inflation as a driving force behind Gold accumulation

    Can I just clear something up, please? One of the commentators cited below - I think it was Cooper - referred to 'local currency hyperinflation' in China as a causal factor in the influx of Gold into that country

    -

    Whatever is currently going on in China - spiking interest rates, insatiable demand for physical Gold, incidents in the South China Sea - it's NOT because of 'hyperinflation'. China currently has an official CPI target of 3.5%, and is currently recording 3% (which is not only low, but is half of what it was 2 years ago.) I agree that you probably can't trust Chinese economic data, but is that really unique? Does anyone trust US, EU and Japanese economic data either?

    The notion that Chinese wages are spiraling out of control betrays utter ignorance of both the facts and the dynamics - manufacturing wages have risen by double-digit percentages every year this century, but are more than outpaced by increases in productivity and demand: https://www.economist.com/node/21549956

    In contrast, consider this: (from https://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/inflation-rate )

    1. Brazil 5.77%
    2. Hong Kong 4.30%
    3. India 7.52%
    4. Indonesia 8.37%
    5. Mexico 3.62%
    6. Pakistan 10.90%
    7. Philippines 3.90%
    8. Russia 6.50%
    9. South Africa 5.30%
    10. Turkey 7.30%

    I live in China, and whilst that in itself is no qualification for claiming to know everything about that country's economy, I can tell you point blank that there will be no sudden collapse in the residential property market, because it is not debt-fuelled in the same way that subprime and Alt-A mortgages set fire to Western markets. I own several properties in China, and on even the first one it is almost impossible to get more than 50% LTV finance. By the third or fourth you are having to put down 80% equity. Reports about mysterious 'Shadow Banking' and hang-on-an-Asset-is-now-a-Liability-or-don't-you-understand-basic-accounting? Wealth Management products as signiicant lending sources are utter nonsense - certainly in the retail property sector. There is just not the same degree of consumer/householder leverage as in the West - witness the highest domestic savings rates in the world: https://www.thechinamoneyreport.com/2013/10/22/dudewheres-my-qe-chinas-personal-savings-rate-has-increased-from-1-trillion-to-7-trillion-in-a-decade/

    There may indeed be a problem with state-owned enterprises and provincial/municipal Government debt, but it is all domestic and it certainly is not about to topple the (State-owned) banking system. There are indeed 'Ghost cities' - many of which I doubt will be inhabited in the next 10 years - but this is absolutely typical of the Chinese real estate market. Firstly, until less than 20 years ago they couldn't own their own homes; Secondly, when you buy a new home in China, it isn't all neatly fitted out with power and water - there are no floors and no rendering on the walls. It is a shell, and the cost of fitting it out can add a further 20% to the purchase price. But Thirdly - and most importantly - that's the way the Chinese like their 'new' properties: fit yours out to a high standard (maybe as a Show Home) and it will lose value, because it is no longer 'new'. Believe me, the Chinese real estate market is very very different from anything you have experienced in the West, and whilst major metropoles such as Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen are certainly expensive (though less so than Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong), there is extremely affordable property available in the suburbs and satellite towns

    And finally, to Vanity Projects, Infrastructure, Highways that lead to Nowhere, and pollution. The scale and pace of infrastructure development in China is simply flabbergasting, and the faster they build their 'better mousetraps', the faster people come to use them. Far from the roads being empty, I have been stuck in an 8-hour 180 km long traffic jam between Beijing and Tianjin, and I can tell you that major arterial routes are every bit as congested as anywhere in the West. The new railways are reliable, fast, luxurious and - by any international standards based on passenger-km - extremely safe (same can't be said about domestic airlines though). Far from infrastructure investment being a financial and economic handicap, this is what differentiates China from e.g. India and Vietnam (and potentially the USA) - the supply chains, logistics and transportation infrastructure are world class https://www.wright.edu/~tdung/China_v_India_McKinsey.htm and https://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTSOUTHASIA/Images/graph1.jpg

    Aah, but the pollution! We've seen the photos, and the US Embassy publishes PM2.5 air quality data, so we know that China is literally choking on its industrial success! Oh really: https://science.time.com/2013/10/18/the-10-most-polluted-cities-in-the-world/ & https://qz.com/136606/here-are-the-worlds-worst-cities-for-air-pollution-and-theyre-not-the-ones-youd-expect/ None of these is in China

    You can't always believe what you are told by the MSM - sometimes they have an agenda. The Truth is out there...

    Hammer
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:58am

    My experimental thought is

    My experimental thought is based on The Hobbit.

    Last year, I was warned not to get too greedy in 2012 when this came out and listening to this, I made some coin by not buying coin so to speak lol.

    The Hobbit - First Battle Scene - Full HD

    and now this month, this has come out......

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) Enter The Mountain Clip [HD]

    Tolkien is my financial advisor ? We shall see.........

    lol, this is my thought experiment for the day........

    philipat
    Dec 19, 2013 - 1:24am

    Comex Inventory

    I posted several times recently regarding the discrepancy between Comex Registered inventory and the JPM stops, noting that there was not enough registered inventory to have met deliveries to JPM. There was no response in the earlier posts, perhaps I was not explaining myself clearly enough.

    It is now obvious that the published Comex inventory levels are totally meaningless. So can we PLEASE stop all the discussion about the Comex being at risk of being pushed into default? It is now obvious that inventories can be adjusted miraculously in retrospect without explanation.

    I agree that it's broken, but what is the point of further analysis of the Comex data, when even Comex itself disclaims all responsibility for the accuracy thereof. IMHO, there WILL be a time when the Fed loses control as a result of some black swan but, in the meantime, let's just forget trying to make sense of data that makes no sense??

    Stratajema
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:42am

    It's always about Marsha, Marsha, Marsha

    It's always about China, China, China in the gold bull camp. So why isn't Germany buying gold? Germany knows their gold in the U.S. won't be returned to them. They know what China has planned. So why the inaction on their side?

    According to the gold bullsh-tters, today's taper announcement was not suppose to happen because tapering would destroy the markets and the economy. Oh sure! QE to infinity!

    Eight months and counting regarding the lie about a gold shortage. The only question I have is what lie will replace the current one over the next few months?

    Hammer
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:48am

    Weeeeeeeeeeeee...............

    Weeeeeeeeeeeee...........................at the end of the day now here but some early morning fun awaiting most here. Almost, almost broke the 1200 mark just now. This could be a double slam day......i.e. now and then again later...........maybe.......dyodd

    G-RodMickey
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:26am

    @Mickey - GLD Closes down ....

    When the London Gold Pool broke down in the 1960s, up to 30 tonnes of gold were being moved per day.

    Watch for the acceleration of the depletion of GLD.

    As the price goes lower the Sovereign buyers move in.

    Stratajema
    Dec 19, 2013 - 5:00am

    >>As the price goes lower the

    >>As the price goes lower the Sovereign buyers move in.<<

    Ha. The same was said by gold bulls when gold fell to $1,600. Any sovereign that intended to buy gold should already being doing so.

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