Commitment of Traders
The Fed is among the only major central banks not meeting next week, yet it is overshadowing the others. The dollar's tone improved markedly in recent days. There is still scope for the Fed to disappoint the dollar bulls.
Next weeks events placed within the larger context.
Short-term, dollar risks still appear on the downside, but this appears largely corrective in nature. Medium-term, a higher dollar still appears to be the most likely scenario.
Last week we defined the golden sentiment rule as "anything that isn't off the chart soon will be." This will happen in a "perfectly sustainable" fashion, where increasingly more paper gold is shorted to record levels even as actual physical holdings held by official Comex vaults continues to drop. For one particular reason why the price of paper gold may be at 3 year lows, we will provide some formerly classified perspective shortly in a post. But in the meantime, and while we await the weekly CFTC commitment of traders report (delayed until Monday due to the July 4 holiday), we are happy to report that the JPM disconnect between the epic delivery requests and its reported gold holdings (for which the "Commodity Exchange, Inc. disclaims all liability whatsoever with regard to its accuracy or completeness") reconnected modestly, and as per the latest Comex update, another 6.8k ounces of gold was pulled from JPM's 1 CMP world's biggest gold vault, dropping its total gold inventory to a fresh record low.
Brief discussion of the price action that is lifting the dollar at expense of nearly every other currency.
The S&P 500 ended the month with an odd shade of green (called red). This is the worst month in stocks for 8 months and makes only the 5th negative month in the 20 months since the global central bank co-ordinated save in Q4 2011. The week, however, saw the S&P gain around 1.25% on the back of endless repeated bullshit from various Fed heads about how we all got it so wrong... which also saw Treasury yields drop notably (30Y -8bps on the week and 10Y down 16bps from its Monday highs). Equities remain the big year-to-date winners and despite some of the biggest single-day gains in over a year today gold and silver remain at the lower end of the pile. The Nikkei and the S&P lead global DM equities (now what do they have in common?). Then with minutes to go, S&P futures collapsed on massive volume to the lows of the day...
Turd Ferguson, of the TF Metals Report, does superb work and commentary on the precious metals markets. His latest analysis on Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report caught my attention for a number of reasons, in addition to it being so well done.
Two days ago we suggested that "they better pray there is no short squeeze." Today, following the just released latest CFTC Commitment of Traders data which showed that the Comex gold short position grew once again to a new all time high of 79,416 shorts, all prayers are now off. If we may be so bold as to we suggest, the time has come to upgrade to the sacrificial slaughtering of at least a lamb on the altar of Saint Ben, because even the tiniest hint of a forced cover will now result in the biggest rip your face off levered short squeeze seen in the history of the yellow metal. Maybe throw in an ink cartridge or two for good measure...
The recent slide in the gold price has generated substantial demand for bullion that will likely bring forward a financial and systemic disaster for both central and bullion banks that has been brewing for a long time. To understand why, we must examine their role and motivations in precious metals markets and assess current ownership of physical gold, while putting investor emotion into its proper context. The time when central banks will be unable to continue to manage bullion markets by intervention has probably been brought closer. They will face having to rescue the bullion banks from the crisis of rising gold and silver prices by other means, if only to maintain confidence in paper currencies. This will likely develop into another financial crisis at the worst possible moment, when central banks are already being forced to flood markets with paper currency to keep interest rates down, banks solvent, and to finance governments’ day-to-day spending. History might judge April 2013 as the month when through precipitate action in bullion markets Western central banks and the banking community finally began to lose control over all financial markets.
Overview of the price action in foreign exchange and outlook for the week ahead.
The paper price of gold crashed to $1,325 in the wake of this huge trade. It is now hovering around $1,400. Our first reaction is to suggest that this is only an aberration, and that the fundamentals of the depreciating value of paper currencies will eventually take the price of gold much higher, making it a buying opportunity. But what we can't predict is whether big players might again deliver short-term downturns to the market. The momentum in the futures market can make swings surprisingly larger than the fundamentals of currency valuation would suggest; but the fundamentals will drive the long-term market more than these short-term events. The fight between pricing from the physical market for bullion and that from the "paper market" of futures is showing signs of discrimination and disagreement, as the physical market is booming, while prices set by futures are seemingly pressured to go nowhere. In short, we think this is a strong buying opportunity.
Is the dollar trending or is it moving broadly sideways?
It is the yen, not the dollar, that is the key currency in the foreign exchange market.
In the last 20 years, Silver shorts (in Silver futures, based on the Commitment of Traders data) has only been as high as it is currently for five periods. Four of those five periods were followed by considerable rallies in silver prices. The one period where prices flatlined (fell modestly) was a slow and steady rise in shorts (as opposed to the spike-like move currently). Of course, with near record amounts on the short side of the boat, it would seem clear where Silver should go next but this time is different we will be told.
The downside technical correction in the dollar that we have been anticipating appears to have begun against most of the major currencies. The drift lower against the yen over the past month has ended, and although we are skpetical of the impact of the stimulative monetary and fiscal policies in Japan, technically it is difficult to resist the momentum for additional yen weakness.