Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Greed; corporate arrogance; lobbying influence; excessive leverage; accounting tricks to hide debt; lack of transparency; off balance sheet obligations; mark to market accounting; short-term focus on profit to drive compensation; failure of corporate governance; as well as auditors, analysts, rating agencies and regulators who were either lax, ignorant or complicit. This laundry list of causes has often been used to describe what went wrong in the credit crunch crisis of 2008-2010. Actually these terms were equally used to describe what went wrong with Enron more than twenty years ago. Both crises resulted in what at the time was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history — Enron in December 2001 and Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Naturally, this leads to the question that despite all the righteous indignation in the wake of Enron's failure did we really learn or change anything?
Today is the second time in three months that someone, or something, either leaked the Non-farm payroll data just ahead of its official release, or if not leaked then a trading algorithm manipulated the bond market ahead of the official data release by launching a "momentum ignition" (see here, here and here for much more on how HFT uses this strategy over and over to set trading bands) launch higher just ahead of the official data release at 8:30:00:0000 am that desperately needed to push 10 Year yields, already on the verge of a 2 year breakout, lower.
The July edition of Insight aptly titled ‘As The Crisis Deepens, Gold Flows East’ builds on our recent commentary and offers another viewpoint on why there is a marked flow of gold from west to east.
The next three editions of Market Update will quote extensively from ‘As The Crisis Deepens, Gold Flows East’ as we delve deeper into the story and its implications for our financial well being.
Based on media reports over the past few weeks, there are two clear front-runners in the competition to be named Ben Bernanke’s successor as Fed chairman. Current Vice Chair Janet Yellen sits in one corner, former Treasury Secretary and National Economic Council (NEC) Director Larry Summers in the other corner, and pundits are actively placing their bets. Yellen is "soft-spoken, even-tempered, 100% mainstream academic economist who boils the world down to simplistic concepts," so similarities between Bernanke and Yellen are far stronger than the differences. A hand off from one to the other would be about as eventful as a rainy day in Seattle. Compared to Yellen, Summers has a longer history as a heavyweight policymaker but as Charles Ferguson wrote, “rarely has one individual embodied so much of what is wrong with economics, with academe, and indeed with the American economy." And that’s what it seems to be coming down to: a choice between a yawn and a hiss. Why not appoint someone with a track record of getting things right, you ask? Well, that would require a culture of accountability in the White House. Does anyone remember when we last had that?
Following our initial uncovering of the manipulation and monopolization of the metals warehousing business two years ago, the last few days have seen the public's attention grabbed by the reality of what the banks are actually doing. Following this week's hearing, as the Fed reconsiders banks roles in non-banking businesses (and the 'societal benefit'), it seems the CFTC has woken up. As the WSJ reports, the Department of Justice has opened an initial probe into the metals warehousing industry and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also sent letters to some firms telling them to preserve documents, in what is likely the beginning stages of an investigation.
Lately, the parasitic, price manipulative "Office Space"-inspired HFT practice known as "spoofing" has been consistently in the news: a week ago, it was the third largest futures broker, Newedge, who made headlines following a "record" FINRA handslap. Then yesterday, a Red Bank, NJ-based HFT shop called Panther Energy Trading, and its sole owner Michael Coscia were fined $4.5 million and got a 1 year ban from the industry for engaging in the same activity. "Panther, based in Red Bank, New Jersey, and Coscia used a computer algorithm that placed and quickly canceled bids and offers in futures contracts for commodities including oil, metals, interest rates and foreign currencies. Panther and Coscia engaged in spoofing from August 8, 2011, to October 18, 2011, related to 18 futures contracts. The firm accumulated $1.4 million in profits by using the algorithm." While none of this is fundamentally new to any of our readers, we are happy to report that in conjunction with Nanex, we can now present documentary evidence of the Panther algo in action.
- Biggest Banks Face Fed Restoring Barriers in Commodities (BBG)
- SAC to Employees: Cohen Didn't Read Dell Email at Heart of SEC's Case (WSJ)
- Second (and Third) liens are back, and so is 2005: As Banks Retreat, Hedge Funds Smell Profit (WSJ)
- Singapore funds benefit from Asian wealth (FT)
- 2 years later the lies haven't changed one bit - Tepco hit over slow admission of radioactive leak (FT)
- How big tech stays offline on tax (Reuters)
- Hilton Leads Rush to Africa in Fastest Boom (BBG)
- U.S. and UK fine high-speed trader for manipulation (Reuters)
- Key witness takes stand in SEC case against Goldman's Tourre (Reuters)
- Boomer Sex With Dementia Foreshadowed in Nursing Home (BBG)
- Bentley SUV gives £800m boost to UK car industry (FT)
Almost 11% of short gold positions covered in the last week according to CFTC Commitment of Traders' data. That is the largest weekly drop in net shorts for four months and the combined futures-and-options net long position jumped 13,287 contracts or an impressive 48% (the most since Nov 08). Following the ubiquitous "sell-while-Bernanke-is-speaking" dump last Wednesday gold has risen almost 4% touching $1320 this evening as Asia opens. So with Asian physical demand remaining high and COMEX vault's running dry (and JPMorgan's on fire), we wonder - now that Taper is off (according to equity market pundits) if this is the start of the long-awaited short-covering rally back to reality for the precious metal.
Recent dramatic declines in gold prices and strong redemptions from physical ETFs (such as the GLD) have been interpreted by the financial press as indicating the end of the gold bull market. Conversely, our analysis of the supply and demand dynamics underlying the gold market does not support this interpretation. As we have shown in previous articles, the past decade has seen a large discrepancy between the available gold supply and sales. Many recent events suggest that the Central Banks are getting close to the end of their supplies and that the physical market for gold is becoming increasingly tight. The recent sell-off was all orchestrated to increase supply and tame demand. We believe that central planners are now running out of options to suppress the gold price. After taking a pause, the secular gold bull market is set to continue.
Larry Summers has been failing up since he entered the public sphere. The reults have been catastrophic for many main street Americans.
It is obvious that the oil market is out of touch with the fundamentals. But this is just my analysis, let`s hear what Oil industry executives believe.
CFTC whistleblowers, JP Morgan silver short, Andrew McGuire, Gold Leasing, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Gibson's paradox and that sink in your kitchen
- Bernanke Supports Continuing Stimulus Amid Debate Over QE (BBG)
- Portugal president wants 'salvation' deal, including opposition (Reuters)
- Egypt has less than two months imported wheat left - ex-minister (Reuters)
- A rise in long-term interest rates is creating challenges and opportunities for the largest U.S. banks. (WSJ)
- BoJ says Japanese economy is ‘recovering’ (FT)
- More Chinese cities likely to curb auto sales (Reuters)
- PC Shipments Fall for 5th Quarter (BBG)
- Property Crushes Hedge Funds in Alternative Markets (BBG)
- New aid gives Greece summer respite before showdown (Reuters)
- Rajoy Punishes Exporters Sustaining Spain’s Economy (BBG)
One wonders: at what price does the squeeze of the collateral-scarce (as per today's ongoing negative GOFO) yellow metal begin now that Bernanke has made it clear (supposedly) that the new gameplan is just more of the same old?
- ICE's NYSE to determine the rate used by key competitor CME: NYSE Euronext to Take Over Libor (WSJ)
- Japan slams China over maritime disputes (FT)
- The Twinkie Returns, With Less Baggage (WSJ)
- Pentagon Workers From Pennsylvania to Ghana Hit by Cuts (BBG)
- Why Prostitutes Aren't Enough to Deprive the World of Eliot Spitzer (BBG)
- Groups gather in Turkish protest park after night of clashes (Reuters)
- Apartment Rents Rise, But the Pace Is Slowing (WSJ)
- Asiana Seen Saving Millions With Tactic to Bar U.S. Suits (BBG)
- Bin Laden's life on the run revealed by Pakistani inquiry (Reuters)
- Fracking Firms Face New Crop of Competitors (WSJ)