It was precisely a month ago when, in "Vicious Gold Slamdown Breaks Gold Market For 20 Seconds" we wrote:
There was a time when, if selling a sizable amount of a security, one tried to get the best execution price and not alert the buyers comprising the bid stack that there is (substantial) volume for sale. Of course, there was and always has been a time when one tried to manipulate prices by slamming the bid until it was fully taken out, usually just before close of trading, an illegal practice known as "banging the close." It appears that when it comes to gold, the former is long gone history, and the latter is perfectly legal. As the two charts below from Nanex demonstrate, overnight just before 3 am Eastern, a block of just 2000 GC gold futures contracts slammed the price of gold, on no news as usual, sending it lower by $10/oz. However, that is not new: such slamdowns happen every day in the gold market, and the CFTC constantly turns a blind eye. What was different about last night's slam however, is that this time whoever was doing the forced, manipulation selling, just happened to also break the market. Indeed: following the hit, the entire gold market was NASDARKed for 20 seconds after a circuit breaker halted trading!
Moments ago it just happened again. As part of the already noted massive gold slamdown just before 9 am Eastern, when "someone" sold an epic 2 million ounces of gold in one trade, the CME just went dark for 10 seconds, blaming it on an appropriately named "stop logic" event.
What is Stop Logic? Basically, it is a the mother of all stop hunts, which takes out the entire bid stack and continues until such time as there is absolutely no liquidity left in the entire market! From the CME:
Stop Logic detects potential market movements caused by the triggering and trading of Stop orders where the resulting price move would extend beyond an exchange specified threshold.
The triggering of Stop orders can potentially exaggerate price movements in temporarily illiquid markets. When triggered Stop orders attempt to move the market to an executing price beyond a pre-established value, a Stop Logic event occurs. Stop Logic detects these situations and responds by placing the identified market in a Reserved state for a predetermined period of time, usually 5 to 10 seconds, depending on the instrument. During the Reserve period, new orders are accepted and an Indicative Opening Price (IOP) is published, but trades do not occur until the Reserve period expires, thereby providing an opportunity for participants to respond to the demand for liquidity. At the end of the Reserve period, the instrument will re-open and matching will resume.
When a futures contract designated as a lead month contract experiences a STOP Logic event, associated options markets are paused and Mass Quotes canceled.
Stop Logic will not prevent markets from ultimately moving in the direction of the order flow, but allows time for liquidity to enter the market so that new orders can be matched against the triggered stop order(s).
Of course, the liquidity we re-enter at a time when the prevailing price has been reset substantially lower on what is basically a "banging the open" type of event, or in this case market open, when one or more traders attempt to generate the well-known "momentum ignition" event so known to HFT algo manipulators everywhere.
The chart below from Nanex show precisely when and how the trading was stopped for 10 seconds in the aftermath of the furious sell trade.
So what is an investor who believes this was manipulative trading to do? Well, nothing. Recall that the ever helpful Bart Chilton already made it clear that commodity (read precious metal) traders are on their own because, as a result of the furlough, the regulator simply incapable of doing anything.
From: Chilton, Bart <BChilton@cftc.gov>
Date: Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 9:32 AM
Subject: Re: Today's Smackdown
No regulators looking at markets due to government shut down.
NOTE: Ponzimonium: How Scam Artists are Ripping Off America, is now available in a FREE EBOOK edition. Go to the link for your copy and a Government Book Talk interview: http://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2013/09/03/post-ponzimonium-an-interview-from-the-front-lines/
* * *
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 09:16 AM Eastern Standard Time
To: Chilton, Bart
Subject: Today's Smackdown
Any comment on this morning's shenanagins in the gold and silver pits? Time to reopen an investigation?
Is credibility important to the CFTC?
Expect market halting gold trading dumps to continue indefinitely, and certainly for the duration of the CFTC's "shutdown", which of course is helpful to those, like China, who continue to convert increasingly more diluted fiat into hard stores of value.