Commodity Futures Trading Commission
And now for a contrarian view on the fate of crude, and the Obama administration, from Oil Price: "The nation has about eight months of supply of crude oil saved in salt domes, in what is called the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. There is more oil available in the Naval Petroleum Reserve, a set-aside of oil in the ground. Obama needs to say that we are going to start using this oil as soon as it can reach the refineries. He has to go the whole hog – to set the machinery of using our special reserves in motion. That will counter-spook the market and humble the traders." Alas, any article that discusses the price of oil and ignores the possibility of another trillion or so in free liquidity courtesy of the Fed, which will immediately make its way to crude and the entire commodity complex, is woefully inadequate in our view.
There are those who are surprised by today's action in the EURUSD. We wonder why that is the case: had these people looked at our post from Saturday indicating the near record divergence between long EUR and short USD position, in which we speculated that the unwind would be fierce, today's Goldman call which we posted earlier, would be very much welcome. And yes, there was no margin hike in either EUR or USD spec contracts either last week or recently. We wonder why. So while we await the start of QE3 rumor reemergence, which will once again kill the dollar, and send the PM complex to the moon, here is what we said then...
Just like yesterday and the day before, 6:30pm is now the official precious metal "bang the afterhours" launch time. As we predicted minutes ago, silver just got taken to the cleaners on what is now an apparent attempt to push silver around in the no volume part of after hours trading, in the 6-7 pm no man's land. We expect an imminent rebound after this latest attempt to trigger stop losses, probably those around $40, fails. If it succeeds in pushing silver below $40 it is very possible that the metal can promptly trade down to the mid $30s as a result. And while banging the close has been investigated by the CFTC for years (resulting in some modest smacks on the wrist recently for the ex-Moore trader who did this with impunity), we are confident it won't be before 2015 that the CFTC's commissioners investigate this particularly odd behavior in silver and gold. By then it, of course, won't matter.
Gold Robust Despite Death of Bin Laden, Geopolitical Risk Remains Elevated due to MENA And Increasingly PakistanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/03/2011 07:32 -0500
The Bin Laden death will likely prove to be a brief, but welcome, distraction for the Obama administration and other governments who are confronting an extremely difficult economic situation with deepening inflation, the euro zone debt crisis and the deteriorating economic situation and nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Gold is a barometer and is sensing that the Bin Laden death and burial at sea is a mere sideshow when compared to the real macroeconomic, monetary and geopolitical risk facing the world today. Even at these price levels, demand for gold remains robust, particularly in India (see News), China and Asia.Silver remains vulnerable to further short term weakness and the concentrated shorts may attempt to press their advantage after the CME raised margins once again. However, the very sound supply demand fundamentals mean that long term physical buy and hold buyers will continue to be rewarded. Leveraged speculation should as ever be avoided with gold and particularly silver as intervention and manipulation can result in short term sharp price drops which can wipe out those trading with margin or leverage. Bullion buyers buying with cash and not debt are not subject to these losses and are thus “strong hands” who can ride out price pullbacks and be rewarded for their long term prudence.
It looks like the recent margin hikes by CME and MF Global finally took their toll on the Silver market.
Commodity speculators may or may not be the vile criminals the president and his new working group are making them out to be, but they sure have made their view clear on where they think the USD and the EUR (the JPY not so much) are going. Below is the latest update from the CFTC Commitment of traders report on the three key currencies. While there has been some modest short covering in both the USD and JPY, both continue to trade like the carry funding currencies they are. And with bullish spec positions in the EUR at a multi year highs, the only question is whether the yen or the dollar will be the carry currency of choice in the next beatdown. Of course, how the EUR is expected to retain its lofty perch with all of the PIIGS soon to go under is beyond us, but hopefully it makes sense to Trichet, who is stuck between an inflationary rock and a insolvent peripheral hard place.
About a year ago, we wrote an article titled "How HFT Quote Stuffing Caused The Market Crash Of May 6, And Threatens To Destroy The Entire Market At Any Moment" in which we advanced the proposal, first suggested by Nanex, that while High Frequency Trading was the primary reason for the May 6 flash crash, it was a specific aspect of HFT that permitted the Dow to drop 1,000 points in the span of minutes, namely "quote stuffing", or the process of blasting millions of bids and offers without and interest in executing a transaction, merely as a fishing expedition to isolate any "whale" orders and to front run them, making a few guaranteed cents in the process even as this materially distorts true market depth, liquidity and overall stability. And while we were not surprised that the toothless, incompetent and corrupt US securities regulator did take a passing interest in the issue, the topic of "quote stuffing" has finally attracted the interest of US prosecutors. From Bloomberg: "U.S. prosecutors have joined
regulators’ investigation into whether some high-speed traders
are manipulating markets by posting and immediately canceling
waves of rapid-fire orders, two officials said...Justice Department investigators are “working closely” with the Securities and Exchange Commission to review practices “that are potentially manipulative, like quote-stuffing,” Marc Berger, chief of the Securities and Commodities Task Force at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, said today at an event in New York." But, the traditional red herring justification for this criminal behavior goes, they provide so much liquidity which would forever be gone if it weren't for the high freaks.
GoldCore Questions On Comex Silver Default Due To Secret Buying By Russian Billionaire, Chinese Traders and People's Bank Of ChinaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/29/2011 06:54 -0500
Let us reiterate a COMEX default on delivery of precious metals and specifically of silver bullion bars is far from “noise”. It is of significant importance and that is why we have covered its possibility for some months. A COMEX default would have massive ramifications for precious metals markets, for the wider commodity markets, for the dollar, for fiat currencies and for our modern financial system. Silver surged 3.4% yesterday to settle at a 31 year nominal high and rose by $1.55 on the day. Silver is up some 28% in April alone. The last time this happened is when Warren Buffett took a large stake in silver in 1987 and there were rumours of Buffett “cornering the market”. Silver remains in backwardation and the possibility of a COMEX default cannot be ruled out – especially as silver bullion inventories are very small vis-à-vis possible capital allocations to silver in the coming weeks and months. The possibility of an attempted cornering of the silver market through buying and taking delivery of physical bullion remains real and would likely lead to a massive short squeeze which could see silver surge to well over its inflation adjusted high of $140/oz. Indeed, a recent article in the Financial Times suggested that private or state interests with very deep pockets are attempting to corner the silver market. Bizarrely, this massive story which mooted the possibility of Russian billionaires, Chinese traders and even the People’s Bank of China and other central banks secretly buying silver, has subsequently been barely reported or commented on. There are now two “conspiracy theories”. One is the long side conspiracy theory which claims, a la the FT, that there are foreign private and state actors attempting to corner the silver market through secret buying.
- Bill Gross Battles Dealers on Outlook as Treasuries Gain (Bloomberg)
- Jim Saft chimes in: Triumph of gold, the anti-investment (Reuters)
- Fed Searches for Next Step - New Focus on Interest-Rate Plan as Controversial Bond-Buying Strategy Winds Up (WSJ)
- Iran says it has detected second cyber attack (Reuters)
- ECB-forced 'run on our banks' led to bailout (Independent)
- OPEC unlikely to change output in June (Retuers)
- China consumer prices likely to rise 4.5 pct in 2011 (Xinhua)
- China must watch for rising U.S. Treasury yields: researcher (Reuters)
- Tanks in Syria's Deraa city, bodies in street -witness (Reuters)
Guest Post: Amaranth Kill Shot: Collateral Damage In A 78 Trillion Dollar Derivatives Book Compliments Of JPMSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/19/2011 15:28 -0500
The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the real purpose of the obscene size of derivatives books amongst the world’s largest financial institutions. Derivatives in strategic markets are controlled by governments through proxy banks and agencies using these instruments. By sheer volume, the trading in paper “tails” wag the physical “dogs”. When market volatility negatively impacts these large institutions they are given a pass by regulators and accounting protocols in the interest of national security and preservation of the status quo. Moreover, this ensures the perpetuation of U.S. Dollar hegemonic power. The following accounts outline how these instruments are used to project this power.
- Bernanke May Sustain Stimulus to Avoid ‘Cold Turkey’ End to Aid (Bloomberg) - a plan that will be woefully insufficient as discussed extensively before
- Asia voices confidence in U.S. debt after S&P jolt (Reuters)
- Americans Shun Cheapest Homes in 40 Years as Owning Loses Appeal (Bloomberg)
- Funds accuse banks of Libor manipulation (FT)
- Deutsche Bank’s $4 Billion Las Vegas Bet (NYT)
- Obama Embarks on Tour to Sell Debt Plan, Not Dwell on S&P (Bloomberg)
- Greek bond fears intensify debt debate (FT)
- With much at stake, Asia voices confidence in US debt after S&P jolt (Reuters)
- Deutsche Bank Algo Cribs HFT Strategies (Traders Magazine)
Let’s parlay the publicity given to the recent University of Texas endowment fund’s decision to convert all of their paper gold to physical gold into a campaign to convince large endowments/foundations all over the country to follow in their very wise footsteps. Here's how everyone can do their small part to break the banker shackles that have been imposed upon our financial freedom.
Gold is tentatively higher against the euro but mixed against other currencies while silver is again higher against most currencies. Both probed higher this morning and are exhibiting signs that they may push higher prior to a much anticipated correction. The Greek 10 year yield has just surged over 13.2% and this is leading to falls in the euro and risk aversion with equities, commodities and oil falling. Both gold and silver are less than 2% from their record nominal highs seen Monday (gold all time and silver 31 year) and are remaining firm due to concerns about the U.S. dollar, the euro and sovereign debt issues in Europe. While markets are not focusing on geopolitical risk in Africa and the Middle East and the Japanese natural and nuclear disasters, these problems remain and will lead to continuing safe haven demand. Silver’s resistance is at Monday’s multiyear nominal high at $41.95/oz. In normal circumstances profit taking would be expected near $42/oz but this is anything but a normal market due to the existence of massive concentrated short positions being investigated by the CFTC. The dollar’s fall suggests that markets are skeptical of Obama’s latest budget proposal to cut $4 trillion off the massive US budget deficit. The US fiscal situation continues to deteriorate week on week and month on month which could potentially lead to sharp falls in the dollar in the coming weeks.
Dr.Andrew Bogan is a managing member of Bogan Associates, LLC in Boston, Massachusetts. In an attempt to understand the relatively new but wildly popular Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Dr. Bogan did extensive research into the structures used by ETF operators, with a special focus on the potential risks that might arise should they be faced with large and sudden liquidations. Given that there are about 2,000 ETFs in existence, with assets totaling over $1 trillion, we thought it appropriate to find out what Dr. Bogan has learned in his research.
With politics suddenly taking a key role in daily market gyrations, and robots most certainly not accustomed to trading off D.C. headlines, here is the upcoming week's key events out of the Beltway.