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Friday, April 18: Today in Gold and Silver

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- [ NOTE: Unless the precious metal markets are open in New York today---and there's something worth reporting if they are---I can absolutely guarantee that I won't have a column tomorrow.]

Gold chopped around the $1,300 price mark for all of the Far East and early London trading sessions yesterday.  The price rallied a bit more convincingly above the $1,300 mark once the noon silver fix in London was in---but that ended an hour later---20 minutes before the Comex open.  It was all downhill from there, with an extra kick in the pants starting at noon in New York.  By 1:10 p.m. EDT, the price was down another $7---and then traded sideways into the close.

The CME Group recorded the high and low ticks at $1,304.40 and $1,292.80 in the June contract.

Gold closed in New York at $1,294.60 spot, down $7.60 from Wednesday.  Volume, net of April and May, wasn't overly heavy at 111,000 contracts.

Not much happened in silver yesterday---and the price action really doesn't merit any comment at all---except for the fact that it was the only precious metal that didn't get kicked in the teeth during the New York lunch hour.  The low and high ticks aren't worth looking up, either.

Silver closed in New York at $19.65 spot, up two cents from Thursday.  Net volume was very light at around 19,500 contracts.

Platinum traded pretty flat up until about 12:30 p.m. in New York---and at that point, the roof caved in.  Platinum finished down $26 on the day.  And I thought for sure that palladium was finally going to close well above the $800 spot price mark, but JPMorgan et al. showed up shortly before 1 p.m. EDT and put an end to that.  Palladium closed down $5---and back below $800 per ounce.

Now there was news on the strike front that Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum had made a "startling" offer to AMCU, but if that was the real reason for the selloffs in both platinum and palladium, why did they occur at different times---and not simultaneously?  Just asking.

The dollar index finished the Wednesday trading session in New York at 79.83---but by 10:45 BST in London, it was down to its 79.59 low.  The subsequent rally took the index back up to 79.84 by 12:30 p.m. EDT---and the index didn't do much after that.  It finished the Thursday session almost where it started---at 79.85.

Once again the gold stocks opened in positive territory---and for the most part remained in the black until the gold price got sold down $5 starting around lunchtime in New York.  Then the shares headed south as well, and the HUI finished down another 0.92%---and on its absolute low of the day.

Despite the fact that silver outperformed gold in the New York trading session---and actually finished up on the day, that didn't affect the silver equities, as they continued to sell off as the Thursday trading session wore on.  Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 1.17%.

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that five gold and 20 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  ABN Amro was the short/issuer on the 20 silver contracts---and Canada's Scotiabank took delivery of all of them.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

Another day---and another withdrawal from GLD.  This time an authorized participant took out 105,965 troy ounces.  And as of 9:10 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.

Joshua Gibbons, the " Guru of the SLV Bar List" updated his website with the internal goings-on within SLV for the end of their reporting week on Wednesday---and this is what he had to say:  " Analysis of the 16 April 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list.  No bars were added, removed, or had serial number changes.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 39.6 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list."  As you know, dear reader, despite the big decline in the silver price recently, there has been no in/out activity over at SLV worthy of the name---and I'm really starting to wonder why that is.  The link to Joshua's website is here.

There was no sales report from the US Mint.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they showed that only a tiny 353 troy ounces of gold were shipped out---and none was reported received.  I shan't bother with the link.

Of course it was a different story in silver, as it almost always is.  There was nothing reported received---and 802,042 troy ounces were reported shipped out.  It was JPMorgan and Canada's Scotiabank doing the honours---and the link to that activity is here.

Here's a FRED chart that Casey Research's BIG GOLD editor Jeff Clark sent my way yesterday---and it has finally cracked the $4 trillion mark.  Jeff mentioned that " It was $855 billion in April 2008, so that's a 368% increase in six years."

I have the usual number of stories for a weekday column---and I hope you find some you like.  Because of the Good Friday holiday,  I probably won't have a column tomorrow, because all the market are closed, so I've included all the stories that I've been saving for that---and some of them are truly incredible.

¤ The Wrap

The additional commonality is that the silver, platinum and palladium concentrated short position is dominated by a U.S. bank or banks, according to the latest Bank Participation Report of April 4. I know Ed Steer has raised this issue before, but as I said, I wasn’t interested in delving into palladium and platinum. Now, it’s hard not to. The Bank Participation Report leads me to conclude that JPMorgan, in addition to being the big short in Comex silver, is also the big short in Nymex platinum and palladium. (There is no big U.S. bank short position in cocoa).

What I believe this means is that JPMorgan is the prime manipulator of all five major Comex/Nymex metals; silver, platinum and palladium on the short side, gold and copper on the long side. The one sure thing you can say about a concentrated position is that if it did not exist, the price of the commodity in question would be markedly different because it would need to be replaced by many other traders responding to current prices. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 16 April 2014

Since I won't have a column tomorrow---here's your pop "blast from the past."  It's by a Canadian pop group from back in the mid to late 1970s---and this was one of their biggest hits.  I heard it on the radio earlier this week---and couldn't get it out of my head, so now you have to put up with it. The link is here---and if you wish to listen to others by this group, they're in the right sidebar.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra [ Memories of the Alhambra] is a classical guitar piece composed in 1896 in Granada by Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega. It uses the classical guitar tremolo technique often performed by advanced players.

The piece showcases the challenging guitar technique known as tremolo, wherein a single melody note is plucked consecutively by the ring, middle and index fingers in such rapid succession that the result is an illusion of one long sustained tone. The thumb plays a counter-melody on the bass between melodic attacks. Many who hear this piece initially in a non-live setting can mistake it for a duet, rather than the challenging solo effort it actually is.

South Korean classical guitarist Kyuhee Park does the honours---and she's fantastic.  I thank reader U.D. for bringing this recording to my attention earlier this week---and the link is here.  Enjoy!

It was a pretty quiet trading day in the precious metals up until noon in New York.  Then the gold price got docked $5---and at 12:30 EDT the platinum price got hit hard---and at 1 p.m. it was palladium's turn.  You have to wonder why palladium and platinum didn't head south at the same time on the news out of South Africa---and it's for that reason alone that the declines in these two precious metals look "engineered" to me.

Here are the updated six-month gold and silver charts.

Gold closed below its 200-day moving average once again---and it will be interesting to see how it "performs" at the open in New York on Sunday evening.  Silver is well below any of its moving averages---and has been for many weeks, so the technical funds will be in no rush to cover short positions, or go long in a big way until one or both are broken to the upside.  At that point it will be interesting to see if JPMorgan increases its already grotesque short position in that metal as a seller of last resort.

Ted mentioned the April 4, 2014 Bank Participation Report in his quote above---and I thought I should post Nick Laird's famous charts from that report once more.  They're for all four precious metals---and show the Comex short and long contracts held by the the US banks---and also the non-US banks.  JPMorgan's long position in gold stands out, as do its short positions in the other three precious metals as well.  The "click to enlarge" feature is useful here---and all eyes should be on Charts 4 and 5 in each one, along with a quick glance at Chart #3.

As I say every month when this report comes out, the precious metals price management scheme is 100% "Made in the U.S.A." with JPMorgan Chase as the capo di tutti capi---with Canada's Scotiabank thrown in for a little international "spice" in silver and gold.

I don't know how much more obvious the price management scheme in the precious metals can get.

And here is Nick Laird's " Days of World Production to Cover Comex Short Positions" chart.  It's a week old, because this week's COT Report doesn't come out until later today---and with the exception of gold---it's looked like this for years.

That's all I have for today.  I understand that the new Commitment of Trader Report will be posted on the CFTC's website, but the play-by-play on that will have to wait until my Tuesday column.  And, as I said at the top of today's column, unless the precious metal markets are open in New York today---and there's something significant to report---I can absolutely guarantee that I won't have a column on Saturday.

Enjoy your long weekend, if you get one---and I'll see you on Tuesday.




This is an abbreviated version of Ed Steer's Gold & Silver Daily Sign-up to have to the complete market review delivered to your email inbox each morning for free.

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