Friday, December 19: Today in Gold and Silver

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Along with the rallies in early Far East trading on their Thursday morning, the rallies in all four precious metals that I watched unfold between 5:05 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. EST was all there was to yesterday's 'fireworks'.  From its high at that point, gold got quietly off into the London p.m. gold fix---and 'da boyz' took care of the rest, as they dropped the price back below the $1,200 spot mark---and it's 50-day moving average.  That's where it stayed for the remainder of the day.

The low and high were recorded by the CME Group as $1,188.50 and $1,213.90 in the February contract.

Gold closed in New York on Thursday afternoon at $1,197.90 spot, up $9.00 from Wednesday.  Volume, net of December and January, was 145,000 contracts.

Silver's price path was very similar, except the price got sold off its London high until it was back to $15.90 spot, which occurred around 11:20 a.m. EST.  From there it chopped sideways into the 5:15 p.m. EST close of electronic trading.

The low and high ticks were reported as $15.74 and $16.23 in the March contract.

Silver was closed at $15.875 spot, up 12.5 cents on the day.  Net volume was 34,500 contracts.

Platinum's price chart was similar to silver's, as its 10:30 a.m. GMT high got sold down to just above unchanged by 12:15 p.m. EST---and from there it chopped sideways until it popped a few bucks going into the close of electronic trading. Platinum finished the Thursday session at $1,198 spot, up 12 dollars from Wednesday.

Up until 10:30 a.m. GMT, palladium followed a very similar price path to the other three precious metals.  But after getting sold down a few dollars from its high, the price chopped sideways until a tiny rally began shortly after 10 a.m. EST---and palladium closed almost on its high of the day, up $15 at $791 spot.

The dollar index closed in New York late on Wednesday afternoon at 89.075---and chopped around mostly above the 89 mark, hitting its 89.37 high shortly before 9 a.m. EST.  From there it got sold down quietly into the close.  The index finished the Thursday session at 89.23---up about 15 basis points on the day.

The gold stocks gapped up about 3 percent at the open---and then chopped sideways in a mostly narrow range, before catching another bid shortly after 2:30 p.m. EST---and the HUI closed almost on its high tick, up another 5.26%.

The silver equities rallied around 3 percent in the first few minutes of trading, before getting sold down just into negative territory about 10:45 a.m. EST.  From there, they took off to the upside with barely a backward glance---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed almost on its high tick as well, up 5.31%.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 144 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.  Canada's Scotiabank was the short/issuer for all of them---and JPMorgan stopped all of them: 3 for its customer account---and the rest in its in-house [proprietary] trading account. The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest in December declined by 24 contracts down to 740 contracts---minus the 144 posted for delivery in the previous paragraph.  Silver's December open interest was unchanged at 101 contracts.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 7:27 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

Since yesterday was Thursday, Joshua Gibbons, the " Guru of the SLV Bar List", updated his website with the goings-on over at the Internet site for their week ending at the close of business on Wednesday---and this is what he had to report.  " Analysis of the 17 December 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list: 4,214,748.9 oz were removed (all from Brinks London), no bars were added or had serial number changes."

"The bars removed were from Britannia (0.8M oz), Russian State Refineries (0.7M oz), Australian Gold (0.4M oz) and 34 others.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 319.0 oz."

"There was a withdrawal of 2,011,401.0 oz on Wednesday that is not yet reflected on the bar list. Again, over 99% of the bars removed were old bars, that had been in SLV for many years."

The good folks over at Switzerland's Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their gold and silver ETFs for the week ending Friday, December 12.  It showed that their gold ETF declined by 28,216 troy ounces---and their silver ETF actually added 9,243 troy ounces.

And, for the second day in a row, there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.

Ted and I are still amazed at the weak gold sales so far this month, as nothing has been reported sold for more than two weeks now---and it's the Christmas season.  Normally gold sales would be reasonably brisk---but not this year it would appear.  The only buyer right now are the 'Mr. Bigs' in silver eagles---and with no sales reported in them for the last two days, I'd guess we're done for the year in silver eagles as well.

It was another quiet in/out day in both gold and silver over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday.  In gold, only 2,612 troy ounces were reported received---and 1,479 troy ounces were shipped out.  In silver, 50,824 ounces were received---and 34,082 troy ounces were shipped out the door.

I have another decent number of stories for you today---and I hope you have the time to read the ones that interest you.

¤ The Wrap

A number of readers asked my opinion on the story circulating about the CME Group instituting various circuit breaker regulations on various metal futures on the COMEX and NYMEX.

Seeing as the CME and the COMEX are the main mechanism of the gold and silver price manipulation, it is prudent to be wary of anything they propose in precious metals trading. And I would agree that any changes the CME propose are most likely for their, as opposed to our, benefit.  I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but these proposed changes by the CME are much ado about nothing.

The circuit breaker revisions that the CME is proposing have nothing to do with daily trading limits. If those circuit breaker limits are hit, the no trading chill out period is for a few minutes, not for the whole day, and will expand as often as necessary to generate trading. I understand the general distrust of the CME (and believe I have contributed to it), but I believe too much is being read into the proposals. After all, there were similar circuit breakers in effect for the last several years, including May 1, 2011 and every big sell-off in COMEX silver and gold. - Silver analyst Ted Butler: 13 December 2014

Well, except for the willfully blind, it was another day where gold got hammered back below its 50-day moving average---and the $1,200 spot mark.  Silver's sojourn above the $16 price mark was also short lived courtesy of JPMorgan et al.  The same can be said for platinum.

Nothing has changed, as 'da boyz' still have a headlock on the precious metals despite world economic, financial and monetary events unfolding that would normally have it over the moon by now.  But that's why these not-for-profit sellers are there, aren't they?

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals--- plus WTIC.

I have no idea how long this current situation in the precious metals is going to continue, or rather, be allowed to continue.  I have no special clairvoyant powers that allow me to see future events---and I'll happily leave those powers in the hands of the 'lunatic fringe' and their 'excessive hyperbole'.  The fact is that nobody knows, except maybe the powers-that-be, and they're not about to tell us.  But the day that it does come to an end, we won't---as Ted Butler has so eloquently put it---have to ask: "Is this it?" --- as it will be self-evident.

I mentioned the excellent precious metal share price action on Wednesday---and note once again that these particular equities put on a similar show yesterday.  Whether or not it was insiders loading up on cheap shares, or just a matter of them being dragged along for the ride on this melt-up in the general equity markets, because at these price levels I'm still not breaking out the party favours---or prepared to read anything to it.

One thing that I do know for sure, is that the precious metal mining companies will never lift a finger in defence of their shareholders or their industry.  However, I do acknowledge the comments on this issue by Keith Neumeyer over at First Majestic Silver from some months ago, but it's all been talk so far---and no action that I can see. 

Silver analyst Ted Butler, a world authority on such matters, has volunteered to help him wordsmith a letter to the CFTC that would really put the fox amongst the chickens.  But, as of yesterday, Ted's phone hasn't rung---and there's nothing in his in-box.

It's at events and times such as these that a quote from Susan B. Anthony comes to mind---and one that has graced this column many times since I began to write for Casey Research over eight years ago.  It's been a few years, so here it is again:

" Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates---and bear the consequences."

Amen to that!

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is just under twenty minutes away.  Gold poked its nose about a dollar above the $1,200 mark in afternoon trading in the Far East on their Friday, but is now below it again.  Silver's 'rally' is now approaching $16 the ounce---and platinum and palladium aren't doing anything.  It's a 'nothing' market at the moment, not a creature is stirring.

Gold volume is miniscule---just under 13,000 contracts.  Silver's volume is a hair under 3,000 contracts---and the dollar index has barely moved through the entire Far East trading session on their Friday.  No creature stirring here, either.

Today we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the 1:30 p.m. EST close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.  Hopefully, all the big price/volume action from Monday and Tuesday will be in it---and I'm expecting to see some decent improvement in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver.  But, more importantly, it will be changes under the hood that Ted will be looking for---and I'll certainly be talking to him about it later this afternoon.  Whatever the numbers show will be in my Saturday column.

And as I send this out the door at 5:15 a.m. EST I see that very little has happened during the first two hours of London trading---and the prices of all four precious metals are still more less hovering around their closing prices in New York on Thursday afternoon.  Gold volume is just over 20,000 contracts---and silver's volume is 4,700 contracts.  The dollar index is up 8 basis points at the moment.  Nothing to see here once again.

Since today is Friday---and the precious metal market has been as quiet as the proverbial church mouse up to this point---I'm not really expecting much in the way of price action for the remainder of the day.  But, having said that, we've had a couple of Friday surprises in the last six weeks---and I must admit that my " Spidey senses" are still tuned for just such an event.

Before heading off to bed, I'd like to point out that Casey Research's energy guru Marin Katusa is shouting from the rooftops about making 25 percent return on a certain stock---or your money back!  It certainly cost nothing to check out this investment opportunity---and you can find out all about it by clicking here, which I urge you to do.

That's all I have for today.  Enjoy your weekend, or what's left of it if you live west of the International Date Line---and I'll see you here tomorrow.

Ed Steer

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