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Guest Post: Physical Gold Vs Paper Gold: Waiting For The Dam To Break

The recent slide in the gold price has generated substantial demand for bullion that will likely bring forward a financial and systemic disaster for both central and bullion banks that has been brewing for a long time. To understand why, we must examine their role and motivations in precious metals markets and assess current ownership of physical gold, while putting investor emotion into its proper context. The time when central banks will be unable to continue to manage bullion markets by intervention has probably been brought closer. They will face having to rescue the bullion banks from the crisis of rising gold and silver prices by other means, if only to maintain confidence in paper currencies. This will likely develop into another financial crisis at the worst possible moment, when central banks are already being forced to flood markets with paper currency to keep interest rates down, banks solvent, and to finance governments’ day-to-day spending. History might judge April 2013 as the month when through precipitate action in bullion markets Western central banks and the banking community finally began to lose control over all financial markets.

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Italy's Enrico Letta Announces New Government

Moments ago, PD's Enrico Letta announced that after several days of negotiations he has enough support to form a government which will see Letta as Prime Minister, while one of Silvio Berlusconi's closest allies, Angelino Alfano, of Berlusconi's PDL, would become deputy prime minister and interior minister, in effect guaranteeing Bunga immunity from any and all political and criminal prosecutions for as long as the government is in power. Reuters also informs that "Bank of Italy director general Fabrizio Saccomanni will take the powerful economy ministry and former European Commissioner Emma Bonino will be foreign minister, Letta said after meeting President Giorgio Napolitano. The government will be sworn in at 1030 BST on Sunday and Letta is expected to go before parliament to seek a vote of confidence on Monday." In other words, the new Italian government will cover all bases: it will be anti-austerity as per Letta campaign to give the people hope that things may get better as much more debt is issued, Berlusconi will be safe and sound, which was his only real mandate, and the Italian Banks will remain in the good graces of the ECB as the link between the financial sector (which has been buying up record amounts of Italian sovereign debt) and the nation becomes inextricably linked, something Europe once upon a time tried to avoid but no longer pretends to even care.

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Humiliating Viral YouTube Interview To Cost Job Of Argentina's Economy Minister

Two days ago we first posted a Youtube clip in which a Greek reporter asked Argentina's Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino a simple question: "what is inflation in Argentina" - a sensitive topic to a country with price and capital controls, and where inflation ranges between 0 and 20% depending on whether one uses official, or unofficial but based on reality, data. The result was a why we dubbed the clip "Thursday humor" as after several minutes of meandering gibberish, Lorenzino concluded by telling his aided that "he wants to leave", which in turn promptly became a twitter hashtag meme #mequieroir, in which the minister's response to a simple request for the truth was promptly lampooned around the world. However, that may have been just the beginning of Hernan's problems. As Bloomberg reports, citing Clarin, Argentina's president CFK, was also quite taken aback by the bumbling economist that she met with him subsequent to the interview going viral, and told him he has lost credibility and the most likely next step is his resignation.

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What Is Killing Europe

A bank in some European country such as Spain lends money but the collateral, Real Estate or commercial loans, are going bad. The bank then securitizes a large pool of this collateral and pledges it at the ECB to receive cash. In many cases to take the pool the country has to guarantee the debt. So Spain, in my example, guarantees the loan package which is then pledged at the ECB and is a contingent liability and which is not reported in the debt to GDP ratio of the country but nowhere else that you will find either. “Hidden” would be the appropriate word.  Then as time passes the loans get even worse so that the ECB demands cash or more collateral because they will not be taking the hit; thank you very much. The bank cannot afford to post more collateral so that the country, Spain, must post the collateral and add an additional guarantee for the new loan or they must post cash which is oftentimes the case.  Consequently as time passes and more cash has been spent the country, Spain, begins to run out of capital and the 10.6% deficit figure, that Spain announced recently, is not anywhere close to the actual reality so that they will get forced to officially borrow more money from the ESM as the sovereign guarantee of bank debt becomes unsustainable.

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JPMorgan Accounts For 99.3% Of The COMEX Gold Sales In The Last Three Months

When just one firm accounts for 99.3% of the physical gold sales at the COMEX in the last three months it’s not what most of us on this side of the rainbow would consider “broad-based” selling.  Of course discovering this kind of relevant information requires an internet connection, 2nd grade math and reading skills, and the desire to do a teeny-weeny bit of reporting.  Sadly they’ve wandered so far down the rabbit hole that the concept of “physical demand” (i.e. people actually wanting to take possession of the stuff) is puzzling to them because the vast majority of the world’s so-called “gold-trading” takes place in the realm of make believe (which is their natural habitat).  It’s all fun and games until somebody loses their metal and “somebody” has lost one hell of a lot of metal in the last 90 days... J P Morgan has fumbled ownership of 1,966,000 Troy ounces of gold since February 1.  That’s 74% more gold than the US mint delivered through the US mint’s American Eagle program in all of 2012.  I mention this because there’s little doubt in my mind that the US government is one of JPM’s gold “customers.”  So (if I am correct) the same US government who just let the Morgue dump its gold on the COMEX floor will once again be suspending gold sales to peasants.

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Friday Humor (#2): The Russian 'Jim Cramer'?

As the world looks ominously in the direction of Chechnya, we thought this clip of the far less serious 'artist of the Chechen Republic' may be of interest as well as amusement. Watch as the Russian Jim Cramer-ubercaffeination and exuberance equivalent, Nikita Dzhigurda, explains to this novice trader how to buy $1 million worth of Facebook shares..."are you sure?" the trader anxiously asks... and instead of the ubiquitous "Buy, Buy, Buy" we hear claxoned day after day usually accompanied by cow sounds; the hirsute adviser, once diagnosed with 'hypo-manic psychosis' and currently spitting image of Rob Zombie, delivers the punchline, "yeah, fuck it!" Because nobody does things in Russia half-assed.

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Europe In One Chart

How much is the 'promise' of a European Central Banker worth? As European macro data in the last month has plunged at its fastest rate in 6 years, equity markets have, of course soared back to near multi-year highs (EuroStoxx 600 up 5% in the last week alone). We only hope that the equity markets really do know something different this time - as opposed to the last two times we saw this kind of disconnect. The answer - Draghi's 'whatever it takes' promise is maintaining a 30% illusion of wealth in European equities over their macro reality.


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"If" - Reflections On The Precious Metals

Last week's collapse in precious metals prices reminded Santiago Capital's Brent Johnson of Rudyard Kipling's famous poem 'If' - "If you can keep your head when all those about you are losing theirs." This brief but complete summary of why one should hold gold, the theories about the drop, his view of the manipulation - "would it really surprise anyone?", and the ongoing and increasing realization among the mainstream that a rising gold price is the canary in the coalmine of economic distress and currency debasement is well worth the price of admission. His message is clear, buy physical gold - rather than futures - don't use margin and store it somewhere safe. The last three minutes of "Ifs" are a succinct list of the questions everyone should ask themselves about the status quo.

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Guest Post: The Good Guys Are Not Coming To Save Us

A lot of Americans know that the US government is out of control. Anyone who has cared enough to study the US Constitution even a little knows this. Still, very few of these people are taking any significant action, and largely because of one error: They are waiting for “the good guys” to show up and fix things. Some think that certain groups of politicians will pull it together and fix things, or that one magnificent politician will ride in to fix things. Others think that certain members of the military will step in and slap the politicians back into line. And, we're sure there are other variations. There are several problems with this. The sad truth: No one is going to ride in and save you. If you want things to get better, then YOU will have to make them better. YOU will have to stand up and take the arrows, yourself. Liberty, at this stage of human development, requires risk and pain.

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JPMorgan Receives No New COMEX Gold Today, Converts Registered Into Eligible

Anyone waiting with bated breath for the moment when cell H25 in the daily Comex gold inventory update (the one showing JPM's total holdings of Eligible gold) shows 0.000 will have to wait at least one more day. According to today's update, as of Thursday (so excluding today's post-Europe close gold shenannigans) JPM's eligible for delivery gold inventory did not receive any new gold, which started the day at yesterday's record low (for the firm) level of 141,581.5 troy ounces, and would have ended flat, had it not been for the reclassification of 17.5k ounces of registered gold into eligible.

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The Week That Was: April 22nd-26th 2013

Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...

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Bonds Up, Dow Up, JPY Up, Gold Up, Oil Up; Earnings Down, Macro Down

For the fifth week in a row, US Macro data deteriorated markedly (not helped at all by today's GDP miss). The Q1 earnings picture is dismal, with beats far less than average and revenues hugely disappointing. But, in light of all that reality, where-ever you look, screens are green. Despite some softness today (oil, S&P, and Nasdaq down) the week showed impressive gains for equities amid the lowest volume week in three months (mostly driven by the epic short squeeze on Tuesday), modest gains for Treasuries (yields lower by 2-4bps), significant outperformance by precious metals (up over 3-4% on the week - having given some back in a post-Europe smackdown today), and WTI crude up over 5% on the week.  Perhaps the most notable fact about the week (apart from equity's inexorable bid in the face of nothing positive at all) was the surge in JPY. In an Abenomics-shattering print, last night's deflation data helped USDJPY rally its most in 11 months for the week. While all asunder will be celebrating another green week, it is perhaps worth noting that while the Russell gained 1.3% from Monday's close, the 'most-shorted' names of that index more than tripled that performance - gaining 4.4% on the week... squeeeeze.

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Friday Humor (#1): Meet The New (Normal) Chuck Norris

It appears Chuck has finally met his match, and his name is Jamie...

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The Muppet Slaying Continues: TYM3 Edition

Another day, another muppet-slaying by the true master. Recall Goldman Sachs from April 10:

We recommend going short 10-year US Treasuries via June futures (TYM3) at the current level of 132-20 for an initial price target of 130-00 and stops on a close above 134-00. In yields space, the corresponding move is from the current 1.76% to around 2.10%, and stops on a close around 1.60% - corresponding to the lows from last November.

Fast forward to today where just out from Bloomberg we read...

  • TY Poised for Highest Close Since Dec. 11

Sorry muppets, you just got slain. Again.

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Guest Post: "Peak Rail" – Has The Crude Shipping Train Left The Station?

Some call it the “holy rail.” In Alberta Canada, an estimated 120,000 barrels of oil per day are shipped out by train to the U.S. east coast and Gulf coast region. By the end of the year - when several terminals are completed - that number could reach 200,000 barrels a day. Despite rail costs doubling pipeline tariffs, the logistics have often been worth the time for producers - those that have been able to get a better price railing it past the mid-continent refineries all the way to the US East Coast and Gulf Coast. But just as Canadian rail use is set to soar again, say analysts - rail may no longer be economic. In fact, rail could be a victim of its own success.

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