With the mainstream media onslaught against precious metals climaxing this weekend as WSJ's Jason Zweig proclaimed gold "like a pet rock," describing owning gold as "an act of faith," we thought it worthwhile looking back at the last time 'everyone' was slamming gold and entirely enthused by the omnipotence of central bankers... May 4th, 1999 - "Who Needs Gold When We Have Greenspan?"
If yesterday's market action was boring, today has been a virtual carbon copy which started with the usual early Chinese selloff levitating into a mildly positive close, with the SHCOMP closing just above the psychological 4,000 level: the next big hurdle will be 4058, the 38.2% Fib correction of the recent fall. In the US equity futures are currently unchanged ahead of a day in which there is no macro economic data but lots of corporate earnings led by Microsoft, Verizon, UTX and of course Apple. Most importantly, some modest USD weakness overnight (DXY -0.1%) has helped the commodity complex, with gold rebounding from overnight lows, while crude has at least stopped the recent carnage which sent WTI below $50.
Last Night's Gold Slam So Furious It Halted The Market Not Once But Twice, And The Funniest "Explanation" YetSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/20/2015 15:35 -0400
Yesterday, just before the Chinese market opened, precious metals but mostly gold, flash crashed in milliseconds with a violent urgency never before seen. We documented the unprecedented event last night, but for those who missed it, the following chart from Nanex clearly lays out just how sudden the "out of nowhere" selling was, which led to not one but two 20-second halts in the gold futures market spaced out precisely 30 seconds apart as a result of a Velocity Logic (or lack thereof) event.
Overnight we saw a flush in precious metals, with no apparent catalyst, and now we are seeing US Treasuries extreme volatility as earlier strength extending gains from last week, are unceremoniously and suddenly dumped after Fed's Bullard warned markets that the probability of a September rate hike is now above 50%. Of course, thanks to meltups pre-market in FB, GOOG, and AAPL, stock indices don't care at all.
Today's action is so far an exact replica of Friday's zero-volume ES overnight levitation higher (even if Europe's derivatives market, the EUREX exchange, did break at the open for good measure leading to a delayed market open just to make sure nobody sells) with the "catalyst" today being the official Greek repayment to both the ECB and the IMF which will use up €6.8 billion of the €7.2 billion bridge loan the EU just handed over Athens so it can immediately repay its creditors. In other words, Greek creditors including the ECB, just repaid themselves once again. One thing which is not "one-time" or "non-recurring" is the total collapse in commodities, which after last night's precious metals flash crash has sent the Bloomberg commodity complex to a 13 year low.
*SHANGHAI COMPOSITE REACHES 4,000 LEVEL
After two days of deleveraging and a squeeze into the expiration of CSI-300 Futures pushing Chinese stocks higher, the grandmas and farmers have decided now is an opportune moment to once again start adding margin debt. Who is to blame? Simple - Chinese officials have confirmed that "the stock market rout is over thanks to their timely measures." Futures opened modestly higher but are fading as the cash open looms...
So having acquired substantial quantities of gold for itself and having also ensured it is widely held by its public, the Chinese government is arguably in a more compelling position to encourage a gold revaluation as a means of stabilising her economy in a credit crisis than America was eighty years ago. It will be China's only option, and if the government doesn't go for it, China's middle classes certainly will. This simple fact could override all the geostrategic considerations upon which China-watchers have tended to focus. A gold revaluation would be presented to the world as bound up with China's domestic economic problems, instead of an act aimed at undermining the dollar's reserve status: a solution that is less confrontational than outright disagreement with Western central banks over gold's role in the international monetary order.
The WSJ has released yet another gold hit piece calling it a "pet rock' and gold bugs "subjects of a laboratory experiment on the psychology of cognitive dissonance" just one day after the PBOC reveals it has added the biggest amount of gold in history in order to "ensure security." But the biggest irony is that none other than Citigroup made a far bolder case that it is not the ownership of gold but of stocks that is the ultimate act of faith: "investors remain united in their faith in the central banks – if not for their ability to create growth, then at least in their ability to push up asset prices. And yet the limits of that faith are increasingly on display." So who is right?
This contrarian play could be one of the most potent and profitable strategies in years.
In a January 2013 report “Report of the Working Group to Study the Issues Related to Gold Imports and Gold Loans by NBFCs”, the Reserve Bank of India estimated that the ratio of paper gold trading to physical gold trading is 92:1. That is a lot of unbacked paper gold instruments. This has almost entirely separated the “gold price”, such as it is (the clearing price for vast volumes of paper gold “representations” with a fractional backing) from the fundamental supply and demand dynamics for actual physical gold bullion.
As Mr L. famously quipped. "Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?"
“Greeks cannot withdraw cash left in safe deposit boxes at Greek banks as long as capital restrictions remain in place”, Nadia Valavani, a Deputy Finance Minister in Greece told local television station according to a Reuters report.
For once the Chinese stock market rollercoaster (where the Shanghai Composite closed up 2.4% after another day of early selling) was fully upstaged by events in Europe.