JPM's Quiet Scramble To Refill Its Gold Vault

Tyler Durden's picture

As we repoted consistently, at times on a daily basis, one of the more memorable stories of the summer of 2013, was the rampant and furious depletion of gold (both eligible and - mostly - registered) stored deep in the gold vault of JPMorgan located under 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, since sold to a Chinese conglomerate (understandable considering China's insatiable appetite for the yellow metal in physical, not paper form). This culminated with some truly impressive multi-way vault rearrangements in which the other 4 Comex members would provide gold to JPM on an almost daily basis (see here and here). But while Chinese demand may explain the outflow of physical, what is head-scratching is the just as furious scramble by JPM to obtain gold in the past few weeks.

As persistent trackers of the CME's daily depository statistics update are well aware, over the past week, JPM has been accumulating an impressive amount of gold, and what is more curious, it has been precisely in increments of 64,300 ounces of eligible gold on a daily basis. Putting this scramble in context, two months ago JPM had only 181K ounces of eliglble gold. And yet, just today, the Comex announced that JPM's eliglble vault gold rose by almost that amount, increasing by 125K to a reputable 1.2 million eligible ounces.

JPM's total eligible holdings, and especially the recent surge, are shown below:

It bears pointing out that while eligible gold has been surging higher, JPM's registered gold has once again contracted, and as of today, it closed at its lowest ever: just 87K ounces of gold!

So with gold plunging to multi-year lows, is JPM just taking advantage of the "blood on the streets" and becoming the helpful bidder of last (or first) resort and replenishing its record low depleted inventory by taking advantage of below production cost fire sales, or... is something else going on here?

Inquiring minds want to know.