Strange Days, Indeed

Most peculiar, mama...

There's so much weird stuff going on, some days it's nearly impossible to know where to start. The Fed and other central banks have so gummed-up the system with their money printing, that almost all traditional methods of analysis, both technical and fundamental, are useless. The financial media, which is either completely uninformed/uneducated or complicit (or both!), SPINs and MOPEs nearly every headline into something it's not, adding significance to the unsignificant and downplaying or outright misreporting those items which truly are important. The result is this current state of bewilderment, a house of mirrors where nothing is as it appears to be.

I just wrote a lengthy essay about this back in October ( so it's not productive to plow that same territory again today. However, I have found some very strange divergences for you to ponder and I need you to consider them within this context.

Below is a table of data taken from various silver CoT reports over the last two years. I've tried to pinpoint information from six, different periods of either price tops or price bottoms. You'll note that, though this is not an exact science, we'll nonetheless be able to draw a few conclusions at the end.


12/31/12           38,291           9,104            4.2:1            45,415                       90,751              2.00:1       $29--> ?

8/14/12             32,317          16,730           1.93:1          47,797                       71,199               1.49:1          28-->35

12/27/11           24,026          17,171            1.40:1          41,224                      55,356               1.34:1          27-->37

10/4/11             23,859          11,959           1.99:1           39,584                     58,507               1.48:1         28-->35

6/28/11             27,439          11,441           2.40:1          36,894                      66,060             1.79:1          33-->44

1/25/11              38,699         10,473          3.70:1           29,818                      72,964              2.45:1          28-->49

So, what deductions, if any, can we draw from this relatively small sample size?

  • First of all, don't get too sidetracked by the gross numbers as they are relative to the total open interest. This is why I've calculated the net long ratio of the specs and the net short ratio of the Cartel.
  • If you throw out the 1/25/11 data, which preceded the HUGE move from 28-49, you see that the average net long ratio of the specs at the bottoms is around 2:1. Additionally, the net short ratio of The Cartel at the bottoms is generally around 1.5:1.
  • Note the gradual increase in the gross long position of The Cartel versus the variance of the gross short position.

OK, now let's look at some data from price tops.


11/27/12      51,804             12,351            4.14:1            42,525                     99,317               2.34:1          34-->29

9/18/12       43,205             10,650           4.06:1            31,884                    82,358              2.58:1          35-->30

2/28/12       38,012             8,009            4.75:1             33,802                    78,395              2.32:1          37-->27

10/25/11      23,660            12,638            1.87:1            38,176                     61,692               1.62:1          35-->26

8/23/11       38,756              11,745            3.30:1            34,281                     81,380              2.37:1          44-->28

4/26/11       43,078              18,083           2.38:1            35,763                    78,297               2.19:1          49-->33

  • Note that all three price peaks of 2012 coincided with spec long ratios exceeding 4:1.
  • Outside of 4/26/11 (when they made a pile of $$$), the spec shorts are almost always near 11,000 or so.
  • With the exception of the 10/25/11 top (right before the MFG liquidations), all five other tops occurred when the Cartel net short ratio was in the 2.30:1 area.
  • Excluding the 11/27/12 top, The Cartel gross long position averages about 40,000 at the tops.

Now, what kind of general statements can we make, again given this somewhat small sample size?

  • The gross amount of large spec long contracts has grown over time.
  • Regardless of tops or bottoms, the large spec short position remains relatively constant, generally in the 12,000-14,000 area.
  • Though clearly larger in size at bottoms rather than tops, note how The Cartel gross long position has grown over time.
  • Similarly, note the steady growth of The Cartel gross short position.
  • Again, with the exception of the top that occurred with the failure and liquidation of MFG in early November of 2011, the most consistent indicator of tops and bottoms is The Cartel net short ratio. Anywhere near 1.5:1 is a clear buy signal and anything near 2.3:1 is a sell signal.

Now lets's look at the data released yesterday, based off the closing positions of last Tuesday, the 5th.

          L.S.LONG       L.S.SHORT      RATIO      CARTEL LONG     CARTEL SHORT     RATIO

            42,449               6,588             6.45:1             46,293                        98,239                1.99:1

So what in the world do we make of this? Can you see where this is all so confusing?

  • At 42,449, the Large Spec gross long position looks more toppy than bottomy.
  • And 6,588 gross shorts is an amazingly low number. The only number even close is the 8,009 from the highs of 2/28/12. Additionally, this puts the spec net long ratio is all the way up 6.44:1.
  • But, before you conclude that the data is indicating a major top, look at the Cartel gross long position. At 46,293 it's just below the high of 47,797 that we saw at the price lows of August, right before the announcement of QE∞ and a price rally from $28 to $35.
  • And the overall Cartel net short ratio is neutral at just under 2:1.

So, I'm not even going to attempt to draw conclusions from this...because I don't think you can! The main items that I think are significant are these, however:

  1. Currently there's hardly any spec interest in being short. Therefore, very little fuel for a spec short squeeze.
  2. Though there is some fuel for a long liquidation, at $31 how many can be forced out on a dip?
  3. An even if they did, would other "commercial"  buying inhibit the ability of JPM et al to cover extensively?
  4. In the end, the single most intriguing aspect of the current reports is the brewing/ongoing Civil War between JPM and everyone else. Uncle Ted has proclaimed that this current data shows that JPM has become the "seller of last resort" and the only remaining "fresh shorter". I think he's right and the stage is set for a massive squeeze, not of the specs but of JPM. We simply need a spark.

The charts would seem to confirm this stagnation, too. Though I was hoping that the pennants on the hourly charts would close and propel prices higher, instead prices broke down and out back on Thursday. So now we await the closing of the pennants on the daily charts, instead. March, it would appear, is going to be a very interesting month. Until then, it looks like more sideways churn.

Just a couple of other items you might like before we call it a weekend. First, several folks found this presentation yesterday and emailed it to me. Basically chart porn but fun to look through anyway:

One of our sponsors, JMBullion, sent me this handy link. Please take a moment to check it out. You'll likely find it helpful.

And I'd like to close with this. There has been lots of debate here over the past few days over what information is important on "Main St" and what should be taken to the forums. Frankly, since I can't police the site 24 hours a day, you all have quite a bit of latitude. The number one thing that we all must keep in mind is this: I built this site to help and to educate. Though prepping and conspiratorial topics are sometimes interesting and enlightening, the main focus must remain on metals and investing. To that end, please consider this email that I received late yesterday. My goal is not to be some type of draconian czar who rules content with an iron fist, however we must remain relatively on-point at all times if we are to do the greatest good. I ask you to always use discretion when posting and to consider whether or not your are helping the site to succeed in its overall mission.

Hi Turd
I've been a member of this site for a year and 4 months and a reader for a while before that. I am not typical of those who make up the vast majority of membership. I am female, unmarried and make under $40k a year. I am just an average person who, by a most fortunate turn of events, found your site and it changed my life. Blinders came off and I began to see the world for what it really was. My very small stack is held by very strong female hands. Thank you for helping me see ways to save my financial future. I suspect the creation of this site was to reach as many people like myself..former sheeple.
I live on Mainstreet...I read every post, every day and am energized by the thoughtful and insightful posts...even the provocative ones..however..
I am in the camp of common sense. This is a metals blog and all things relating to it, and I accept and appreciate the ancillary topics that get brought up and the subsequent discussions that result. What I am really really REALLY finding difficult these days is the proliferation of all these posts that you have repeatedly asked folks to take to the forums, ESPECIALLY the political wing nuts. The "you must have issue with my smarmy, irrelevant and arrogant posts which push my own agenda and bring nothing of value to this blog because you're a liberal bastard" kinds of thing going on. I adore Dr. J, Ivars, Steve, Green Lantern, Cal Lawyer and of course..DPH! Many others too...Mainstreet is FILLED with wonderful minds and I am in awe of these folks. I know you make requests periodically to us members to keep Mainstreet "clean", but these same individuals will behave for a short while then decide to vomit all over this forum yet again.
I have an ignore button and yes, I do know how to use it, but it's the discourse that those posts create that I find particularly distressing. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect there are many many more like me who have fled in silence rather than deal with the muckrakers. So I respectfully someone who truly loves this site and visits every day and listens to your message..can something be done to keep Mainstreet focused?
Thank you for all you do, **********

Have a great weekend. See you Monday and be prepared for volatility as the Chinese New Year holidays begin.



reefman's picture

Billwilson, NEM is down 1.5%


NEM is down 1.5% in pre-market.

reefman's picture

Gold, Silver Plunge In Sympathy With Popexit

recaptureamerica's picture

Gold, Silver Plunge In

Gold, Silver Plunge In Sympathy With Popexit

The precious metals market appears to have found a size seller this morning. Despite record breaking demand for physical coins from the Mint, gold and silver prices hit an air pocket around 8amET but had been sold all day in Europe. We humbly suggest that his Holiness spread out his retirement selling... of course we saw a similar gap last Tuesday and Thursday as Europe's risk-asset markets continue to slide (and perhaps collateral margin calls come due). Of course, the more important questions remain: which TBTF bank will the pope end up as vice-chairman in, and which ex-Goldman Managing Director/Partner will be the next head of the Vatican bank... and incidentally Catholic Church (it appears a Canadian is front-runner, rather coincidental given Carney's recent appointment).

philipat's picture

Same Old Shit

Pigatha up 0.1%

PM's down 1%

This shit is getting ridiculous!! And obvious, but they have no shame anymore. And you can;t fight The Fed/JPM. I'm stacked but not stacking any more!!

dannyhaha's picture

re: The Pope

He said he is old and tired and he's just too pooped to Pope.

billwilson's picture


Curious to see the sudden call for civility when it comes to one religion, but the previous open season on liberals, gun control, Obamacare, .... because if you think about it Jesus was a liberal, he would have favored gun control, and he would have been all for a form of single payer medicine, and for higher tax rates on the rich, ..... But hey, such is the upside down Alice in Wonderland world that we inhabit these days. I guess to be religious you have to be capable of holding multiple contradictory (and fact defying) ideas in your head.

Tabberto's picture

Sorry Roche, me again

RE your LINK....while I wholly applaud the endeavour to weigh up every side of the argument in Silver, I must point out that while 'Kid Dynamite' may or may not be neutral (didnt he write silly anti-Maguire stuff etc?) FT Alphaville is in my opinion thoroughly biased.  The article may not be by her specifically, but Ms I Kaminska rules that shop with an iron fist (note the 'we think this' language), and I heard from her own mouth that she 'doesn't like goldbugs' indeed she likes to pick a fight with them at every turn in peurile fashion.  Apparently we should all eschew safety and stacking and be putting our savings into productive businesses for the common good....enough to make the head spin were it not such obvious and ill-informed drivel.  Alphaville seems to feel the need to overcomplicate and persistently justify the status quo (think nature of money and existence of trading bots).

There you go, I feel it is pertinent to point out that while the 'ra-ra-ra' cheerleader crowd may get an earful at every turn for pointing out clear fraud and manipulation, often these more mainstream naysayers are let off scot free.  Not at my end, indeed they must depart scolded and bitter.  When push comes to shove, SLV is a great big hypothecation and counterparty blob of risk, any numbers they report just go in the same trashcan as the 'JPM reported numbers'.

argentus maximus's picture


Doh ! -- double post - hit "return" twice  blush

argentus maximus's picture

But the best time to stack is

Quote from Sameoldshit "This shit is getting ridiculous!! And obvious, but they have no shame anymore. And you can;t fight The Fed/JPM. I'm stacked but not stacking any more!!"


But the best time to stack is just arriving now ...

Groaner's picture

17,500 contracts dumped in 15 minutes in gold

Who and why?   guess,,, and to manipulate price only...

The evil empire at your service..

Send you kids off to die for the Bankers,, yeah,, rah rah,, we are the greatest and they are the bad people. 

A simplified version of your entire life being brain washed!

StevenBHorse's picture

CBO nonsense....

Bruce Krasting at zerohedge posted an article about the laughability of the CBO estimates.  Here is that article.

I looked at their 10 year budget projections starting in 1998, and then compared their forecasts versus that actual results that occurred during 1999-2012.  The results were SHOCKING (lol).  Obviously trying to project anything 10 years into the future is difficult in a dynamic system with an almost infinite amount of input variables.  Here is the average data errors for the period.

        Projections vs Actual 1999-2012          
  P+1 P+2 P+3 P+4 P+5 P+6 P+7 P+8 P+9 P+10 P+11
Revenues  1.3% 6.1% 10.3% 13.2% 14.8% 15.1% 15.4% 16.7% 19.6% 24.4% 28.4%
Outlays -0.2% -3.8% -7.0% -10.2% -12.8% -15.8% -18.8% -22.8% -26.7% -32.8% -38.2%
Gross Federal Debt -1.1% -4.2% -9.7% -16.7% -24.2% -30.9% -37.5% -48.4% -64.7% -90.0% -114.3%

Where P+1 is the next years estimate i.e. 1999 report P+1 is he estimate for FY 1999.  Fiscal Year (FY) for government run from 10/1-9/30.

As you can see from the table the out years drastically underestimate both outlays and federal debt, while overestimating revenue.  So if you apply that error table to the current 2013 projections you can adjust and get a better idea of where the actual results will end up in 10 years (assuming that they suck as bad they do now).  The out years only contained 3 data points, so you can't attach a confidence interval to these adjustments.  Nonetheless I still think it's a good visualization of what we could reasonably expect.

Projections from CBO Annual Report 2013-2024 ($B)
                   2013                  2014              2015                   2016            2017            2018          2019              2020             2021            2022              2023
Revenue  $             2,708  $             3,003  $             3,373  $             3,591  $              3,765  $              3,937  $             4,101  $              4,279  $              4,496  $              4,734  $              4,961
Outlays  $             3,553  $             3,618  $             3,803  $             4,067  $              4,300  $              4,542  $             4,811  $              5,078  $              5,350  $              5,691  $              5,939
Deficit/Surplus  $              (845)  $              (615)  $               (430)  $               (476)  $                (535)  $               (605)  $               (710)  $                (799)  $               (854)  $                (957)  $                (978)
Gross Federal Debt  $            17,047  $           17,864  $            18,479  $            19,143  $             19,915  $             20,769  $            21,711  $             22,729  $             23,784  $             24,911  $             26,052
Projections using the average CBO error from 1998-2012 ($B)
            2013               2014             2015        2016          2017              2018               2019            2020               2021                2022             2023
Revenue  $              2,673  $             2,820  $              3,024  $              3,115  $               3,206  $               3,343  $              3,469  $               3,563  $               3,617  $               3,581  $               3,552
Outlays  $              3,560  $             3,756  $              4,069  $              4,480  $               4,851  $               5,260  $              5,718  $               6,235  $               6,777  $               7,555  $               8,210
Deficit/Surplus  $              (887)  $              (936)  $            (1,045)  $            (1,365)  $             (1,645)  $            (1,918)  $           (2,248)  $             (2,672)  $            (3,161)  $            (3,974)  $            (4,658)
Gross Federal Debt  $            17,228  $            18,613  $            20,274  $            22,344  $             24,728  $             27,185  $            29,849  $             33,725  $             39,171  $             47,328  $             55,828

Why does the market give any credence to their projections? 

It's all apart of the big game.  Most everybody in the industry knows its all a scam, they are just trying to keep sucking out fees and commissions  before the music stops for good. 

I'm going to also assume that the lady in the email wasn't talking about me.  If Mrs. Horse finds out that I have a female admirer, she might put me out to pasture sooner than I had previously forecasted, or just castrate me. 

GS_PHYS's picture

looks like metals with broken

looks like metals with broken trendlines. What gives ?

dannyhaha's picture

re: Jesus was a liberal, he would have favored gun control,

"... Jesus was a liberal, he would have favored gun control..."  ,Really?

American King James Version
Then said He to them, "But now, he that has a purse, let him take it, and likewise his money: and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."  Luke 22:36

Wizdum's picture

vatican gold

this has to do with their fat-ass stack

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

Global warming alarmists and TFMR

Stay with me here, I promise there is a point to be made.

In pointing out the hypocracy of 'advocates' for the theory of global warming jetting around the world (burning more fuel in a year than a dozen average families burn in a decade) to give lectures, living in 9,000 square foot mansions while writing NYT Op-Ed pieces on how we all have to reduce our carbon footprint, Libertarian law professor Glenn Reynolds has famously quipped: "I'll start believing its a crisis when the people who keep telling me its a crisis start actually acting like its a crisis".  In other words, by their actions ye shall know them. 

Which brings me to the topic at hand:  I would humbly submit that, no matter how much "The end is near" rhetoric is posted here, anybody who truly believes the end is near would not spend entire days on end sitting at a computer posting at TFMR, constantly proclaiming "The end is near".  Posting 37 times in a 24 hour period does not indicate any REAL concern that serious prepping needs to be done in order to survive the imminent end-times.  By their actions ye shall know them.

I posted once yesterday, mainly because I spent most of my precious Sunday time doing spring prep work on my fruit trees and preparing for the arrival of a little "high tunnel" moveable greenhouse I just bought so I can increase my food production, lengthen my growing season, and improve my self sufficiency.  You see, personally I am quite convinced we will see some seriously hard times, but how these play out is anyone's guess- and the timing of this could be as early as this Spring or as far away as many years down the road.  The harsh reality of all this is that none of us know when it will occur.  None of us.  So the only prudent course is to calmly and carefully prepare to take care of you and yours- one project, one prep, one garden, one tree at a time.  And steadily work your ass off to ensure you can put food on the table for your loved ones, and can keep them safe for an extended period. 

So what I am saying, basically, is chill the hell out.  Some of us have been at this for five years or more, so the 'sky is falling' rhetoric sounds less like a clarion call to us, and more like an emotional submission to defeatism.  Because we have had our eyes open for quite a while and saw all this coming, we didn't panic but instead worked on long-range preps and accumulation of tools, skills, lead, stacks, etc, we are now in a far better place than we were years ago.  And we still aren't panicking. 

Everyone knows things are bad, this isn't news.  The real question is, what are you going to do about it?  Deeds, not words.


Wizdum's picture


The beginning of the "Oh sh*t I'm holding paper!" enlightenment?

Wizdum's picture

apmex is bogged down

go figure

Byzantium's picture

The bear's view.

I find myself currently being a bearish cheerleader, because I expected one last spike down before the cartel cover some shorts before allowing the price to rise a bit higher. So I sold some positions during the recent highs, and put in some buy bids in various currencies, intended to start kicking in initially at a modest gain.

What I can tell you is that this cartel pressure these last weeks, is just a holding pattern. Few of my buy stops have been triggered. If this is an all-powerful cartel, then they are not doing a very good job so far. In fact, they are frustrating everybody, both the bulls and the bears. Whatever you are planning Blythe, please just get on with it.

Maybe they will show their hand soon. A massive smack-down will likely be very temporary. They just want to cover some shorts before they pull back to higher prices.

Maybe I am just one small part of wall of buyers, just waiting to pounce. This holding pattern suggests that all is not well at cartel HQ; perhaps they are hemmed in with no good options. From their citadel, they see that there be dragons if the price rises, and there be dragons if it falls. What are you going to do Blythe? The clock is ticking.

Eric Original's picture

Really Turd?

You allow people on your blog to pound the agenda, day after day after day, that billions will be starved/poisoned to death, the survivors will be slaves to a dictatorship, that has been planned to perfection for a hundred years or more, that the country and thus the world is ruled by a commie marxist anti-christ, and that there is no hope whatsoever for any of us, except of course if you stack plenty of silver and lead, but now a tiny bit of snark about the Pope has you all uncomfortable?

Mindboggling.  Simply mindboggling.

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

OK Eric

If that is what you think, and if you believe TFMR is a pathetic "death cult" as you famously put it, then why are you here

If I genuinely thought that most of a blog was a bunch of psychotic fucktards, I doubt I would spend much time there.  Yet here you are again...  

Larry's picture

Fundamental reasons for gold being smashed

Sunday: London Bridge sold to the Chinese. Gold down.

Monday: Pope is pooped and Vatican ATM broke. Gold down.

Tuesday: PresBO's teleprompter talks up economy. Gold down.

Wednesday: Rogue cop shoots down drone. Gold down.

Thursday: DOW goes up. Gold down.

Friday: DOW goes down. Gold down.

Saturday: Dollar goes up. Gold down.

Sunday: Russia outpaces world in gold. Gold deemed bad. Gold down.

Green Lantern's picture


Where did all the pagan religions and their false gods and customs that were deeply entrenched disappear to by the 3rd century when Constantine started the Catholic religion which means Universal go?

They went into the Greek, Roman, Norse, and Native American mythologies that nobody understands and falls asleep in school when they encounter it because even the great mythbusters like Joseph Campell couldn't find the origin of many of these myths and misinterpreted them as psychological archetypes and has been reemphasized in scores of Hollywood movies about these Gods from Percy Jackson to Thor to at least a 1/2 dozen.   Forget all the mythologies of vampire's and blood cults that have taken Hollywood by storm in recent years. 

If you can crack the code of these symbolic stories, you've pretty much encapsulated the financial history back to the Tower of Babel.   

I suspect that if anybody even understands what the hell we are talking about then they have truly gone down as far as the rabbit hole goes and then some.   Anything less is an incomplete picture of the metals market.

If you need me, I'll be hanging around archeological websites looking at what science is now discovering but never gets reported.    I'm really excited about all the gold and silver they now think is at Machu Pichu which is less important than what they might find and not report.

GS_PHYS's picture

APMEX is running fine and

APMEX is running fine and well stocked...... must be momentary delay

ag1969's picture

Drone Strikes: Murder is Illegal-Paul Craig Roberts

ltcolkilgore's picture


Groaner's picture


Where did they go? To the great apostasy that was foretold to occur

They were grafted into one Universal State religion by Constantine the Great to Unite his empire called Catholic.. 

He changed the names of their false gods to so called Christian names and allowed them to keep their pagan festivals..

When you walk into a grandiose church or basilica nothing has changed from the pagan buildings that were used by the romans and greeks. Everything, the priesthood, the garb, the hats of Dagon, the cross, the image worship the pope and they beliefs are the same..

For example look up Easter in a encyclopedia.. Easter, the name is for a false god.. Astarte.. Queen of heaven..  That's were Mary Worship comes from..Thats outrageous. Eggs, bunnies all fertility symbols! Totaly pagan.. What they did was keep that festival and said its now in honor of Christs resurrection.. Something that is NOT COMMANDED in the Bible.. Made up,, a false teaching..

Everyone is happy..

Why do you think they murdered Jesus..? Because he exposed the false religion of the Jewish leaders of his day and spoke the truth from God. That's why true Christians are hated too, they expose false hoods.

Unlike the CFTC is willing to do.

Let me say this.. I dont mean to make personal attacks on others, however I am motivated to help others see that these erroneous beliefs mean their lives.  

Bollocks's picture

Larry - you forgot ...

I make a cup of coffee - GOLD DOWN
I dare to drink the coffee - GOLD DOWN
I make another cup of coffee - GOLD DOWN
Having learnt something, I refuse to drink the coffee - GOLD DOWN


brad_pitts_betterlooking_brother's picture

re: b wilson, et al

i have not posted about much other than the metals here.      but when people attack or assume erroneous information relating to what is truly THE most important aspect of a person's life if that person is a believer, maybe one comment in response is ok.

Jesus never forced his way or belief on anyone.   He did try to change the hearts and souls  of man through his teachings however.      (just a tad different than the socialists today seem to conduct business wouldn't you agree?)

as far as Jesus being anti-gun....   well maybe not.    the gun of his day was the sword.     when judas handed him over wasn't it one of his own disciples that severed the ear of the roman guard?     so maybe Jesus was pro-gun and concealed carry?

i don't claim to know for sure - but i am sure you certainly don't.

Grigeo's picture

Thank you Pining

I did not taking the bait thrown out there by EO, and getting drawn into some unpleasantries that started here immediately after his "stink bomb".   But enough already.

"then why are you here"

Exactly, I don't know how it is possible not to come to the conclusion that the person has serious personal issues. 

Urban Roman's picture

Pope story

Not being a Catholic, it doesn't mean that much to me personally, but here's another Pope story. Make what you will of it. 

The Church is one of those centralized concentrations of political power, and retains some of the vestiges of the Roman Empire. Whether you are a believer or not, its demise will almost certainly be a Big F'n Deal. 

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