Friday, May 29: Today in Gold and Silver

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After trading flat through the first half of the day in Far East trading, the gold price began to inch higher in afternoon trading in Hong Kong on their Thursday.  But shortly after 9 a.m. BST it was obvious that a willing seller appeared.  The low tick came in a down/up move centered around the London p.m. gold fix---and after that the price didn't do a lot.

The high and low ticks were recorded by the CME Group as $1,192.00 and $1,179.60 in the June contract.

Gold finished the Thursday session at $1,187.80 cents, down a whole 20 cents on the day.  Gross volume was pretty wild at 209,000 contracts---and even the net volume was chunky at 156,000 contracts, but most of that was roll-overs out of the June contract and into future months---and mostly August, which is the new front month.

With some variations, the silver chart was similar to gold's right down to the love tap shortly after 9 a.m. in London trading.  The tiny rally at the COMEX open was dealt with in the usual manner---followed by the down/up spike at the London p.m. gold fix, etc.

The high and low in this precious metal was reported as $16.75 and $16.555 in the July contract.

Silver finished the Thursday trading session at $16.66 spot, up a whole penny.  Net volume was only 25,000 contracts, with another huge amount of volume rolled into September and December.  As I mentioned in yesterday's column, I asked Ted about this---and he figures that it's just early rolls out of the July contract and nothing else.  I wasn't looking for black bears in dark rooms that weren't there, just an explanation---and the fact that there was nothing nefarious about it was fine by me.

Platinum was the same as gold and silver, complete with capping at 9:15 a.m. BST---and the down/up dip at the p.m. gold fix in London.  Nothing free market about this.  Platinum closed on Thursday at $1,115 spot, down two bucks from Wednesday.

The chart pattern in palladium sort of looked the same, but the metal rallied strongly after its p.m. gold fix low---and was the only precious metal to close up on the day, finishing Thursday at $783---up 3 dollars.

The dollar index closed late Wednesday afternoon in New York at 97.30---and chopped lower to the 97.00 level around 2:40 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday afternoon.  After bouncing off that price three time over the next few hours, it rallied anew, taking it up to its 97.59 high tick around 9:35 a.m. in New York.  From there it began to head for the nether reaches of the earth---slicing through the 97.00 mark in the process.  The index closed at 96.88---which was down 42 basis points on the day.

You should carefully note that from its high tick to its low tick in New York trading, the index fell about 72 basis points, but gold, silver and platinum prices weren't allowed to reflect that.

After opening down, the gold stocks rallied into positive territory to stay shortly after 11 a.m. EDT.  Then after trading flat for about two hours, they rallied anew---and, wonder of wonders, the HUI closed on its absolute high tick, up 1.65 percent.

The price path of the silver equities was very similar---and Nick Laird's Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 1.79 percent.

The CME Daily Delivery Report showed what I wanted to see---and that was the fate of the last 20 silver contracts in the May delivery month that I'd been talking about in yesterday's report.  HSBC USA turned out to be the issuer on all 20---and the CME Group was the stopper.  The 20 contracts issued and stopped is a one hundred 1,000 troy ounces silver bars, which the CME immediately turned around and delivered to Jefferies as 100 contracts to fill the 1,000 ounce silver futures contracts outstanding for May delivery.  Mystery solved.

Of the 2,840 silver contracts delivered during May, JPMorgan stopped 808 of them [4.04 million troy ounces] for its own account.

First Day Notice numbers for the June delivery month showed that 43 gold and 197 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.  In gold, the only short/issuer of note was JPMorgan out of its client account with 32 contracts---and HSBC USA stopped 24 contracts.  In silver, ABN Amro was the only short/issuer and Canada's Scotiabank was the biggest long/stopper with 193 contracts.  The link to yesterday's Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.

There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday---and as of 10:18 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.

Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his website yesterday with the happenings over at the iShares.com Internet site as of the close of business on Wednesday---and here's what he had to say. 

" Analysis of the 27 May 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week's list.  No bars were removed, added, or had serial number changes.  As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 420.8 oz."

" A 1,003,543.8 oz withdrawal on Tuesday---and 143,354.0 oz deposit Wednesday---are not yet reflected, and should be on next week's list."

The folks over at shortsqueeze.com updated their website with the short positions in both SLV and GLD yesterday---and they must have done it after 5:00 a.m. EDT yesterday morning, because I checked their website a half dozen times while I was writing yesterday's column just so I wouldn't miss it.

Anyway, there were huge improvements in the short positions in both ETFs.  Those monster improvements certainly didn't come through depositing physical gold or silver, as there have been huge outflows out of both ETFs during the reporting period---May 1 to 15.  Someone had to lay down big bucks to cover them.

Anyway---and regardless of how it happened---the short position in SLV dropped an eye-watering 37.58 percent from 20.56 million troy ounces/shares, down to 12.83 million troy ounces/shares.

The change in short position in GLD was just about as impressive, as it declined by 27.28 percent---from 1.40 million troy ounces, down to 1.02 million troy ounces.

These changes were a huge surprise for both Ted and myself, as we were expecting the opposite---and I'll leave him to explain it in his Saturday missive---and I'll steal what I can for my Tuesday column.  But he did mention his suspicions about JPMorgan and their control over the DTCC---the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation---the dubious organization that controls this sort of data.  Darth Vader's name came up in the same breath.

There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint once again.

For the month of May, unless the mint adds some sales today, they sold 15,000 troy ounces of gold eagles---7,000 one-ounce gold buffaloes---and only 1,648,500 silver eagles.  The big buyer in silver eagles obviously stepped away from the table earlier this month---and hasn't been back since, as this is the lowest month for silver eagle sales so far in 2015.  Of course that may change with today's report from the mint.

If the big buyer/JPMorgan doesn't reappear soon, we'll see what the real retail sales numbers are for silver eagles during June.  If we do, they will be ugly---because both Ted and I have been saying all year that retail bullion sales are in the toilet, and they are.  I ought to know, as I work part time in that business in my day job.

There was a decent deposit in gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, as 31,919 troy ounces were received---all at HSBC USA---and only 327 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  The link to that activity is here.  In silver, nothing was received---and only 27,783 troy ounces were shipped out---all from Brink's, Inc.

Over at the gold kilobar COMEX-approved depositories in Hong Kong on their Wednesday, they received 4,322 kilobars---and 6,208 kilobars were shipped out.  The link to that action is here.

I have a decent number of stories for you today---and I'm happy to leave the final edit up to you once again.

¤ The Wrap

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing. -- Edmund Burke

It was another 'nothing' sort of day, as the last of the June contract went off the board.  The only price movement allowed was the down/up new low ticks that were set in three of the four precious metals yesterday.  More tiny slices off the salamis.

Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals so you can see these shiny new low ticks for yourself.

In the face of very little price action, I was encouraged by the activity in the silver and gold equities.  However, I'm not about to get my hopes up at the moment.

And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about twenty minutes away.  All four precious metals were up a bit during early Far East trading on their Friday, but were all turned lower in early afternoon trading in Hong.  All four are back to unchanged from Thursday's close in New York.  Net gold volume is a bit over 15,000 contracts, which is nothing special---and silver's net volume is a hair under 3,000 contracts.  The dollar index, after chopping sideways for most of Far East trading, is now up 16 basis points---and barely back above the 97.00 mark.

Today we get the new Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday.  I'd like to think that we'll see some rather impressive improvements in the Commercial net short positions of both gold and silver---and no doubt we will.  But no matter how good these numbers may turn out to be, we still have some ways to go before JPMorgan et al get the Managed Money back to rock bottom again, if that's their intent.

For the moment, all we can do is wait it out---and hope that they don't step in front of the next rally as well.

And as I send this out the door at 5:20 a.m. EDT I see that gold, silver and platinum still aren't doing much---and palladium is now down four bucks.  Net gold volume is around 23,000 contracts---and silver's net volume is around 4,400 contracts.  Not a lot to see here, but I get the impression from the choppiness of the price action that the tiny rally attempts since noon in Hong Kong have been quietly guided lower.

After rallying a bit, the dollar index has now slid back below the 97.00 mark---but is currently up 10 basis points.

I have no idea how the precious metals will trade today, expect there won't be anything free market about it, whatever happens.  But since today is Friday---and the last day of the month---I must admit that I'm not overly optimistic but, as usual, I'd love to be spectacularly wrong.

That's all I have for today.  I'm off to Vancouver today---and both my Saturday column---and my Tuesday column are going to be as short as I can make them, as I have other things to do while I'm there.

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
This is an abbreviated version of Ted Butler: Curiouser and Curiouser, from 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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