Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
Total U.S. national debt hit a new record high overnight at over $18 trillion as the Obama administration continues to pile debt onto the back of the U.S. taxpayer at a rate that would have made George W. Bush look prudent.
While we have covered the aberration that is a negative gold GOFO rate previously and in extensive detail in this post, an abridged version of what negative GOFO means comes courtesy of Deutsche Bank's recent discussion on what a successful Swiss gold referendum. To wit: "It is interesting to note that benchmark gold-dollar swap rates have recently traded negative, meaning investors are paying to borrow gold. This is unusual as gold is traditionally used as a source of collateral for cash financing.... [A] number of factors may play a role, such as excess dollar liquidity or an increased demand for collateral on the back of the global regulatory developments." In short a gold shortage at the institutional, read commercial and central bank, level. And not just a shortage but the biggest shortage in history, judging by today's latest plunge in the 1 Month GOFO which just dropped to -0.5% and , worse, 1 Year GOFO that just hit its lowest print in the 21st century, and is also about to go negative: something that has never happened before further suggesting the gold shortage could go on for a long, long time!
As the debate regarding whether or not Switzerland should keep the bulk of its gold reserves at home on Swiss soil reaches it's climax - the referendum takes place on Sunday - it is telling that the Dutch announced on Friday that they have just secretly repatriated 122 tonnes of their sovereign gold reserves from New York back to Amsterdam.
“Unconventional measures might entail the purchase of a variety of assets, one of which is sovereign bonds,” the ECB president said in Brussels yesterday in answer to a question during his quarterly testimony to lawmakers at the European Parliament. Draghi and the uber doves appear determined to ignore the failure of QE in both the U.S. and Japan.
As noted over the past week there has been a massive shortage of precious metals - most notably silver which as of this moment is indefinitely unavailable at the US Mint - as a result of the tumble in the paper price, and following 8 days of sliding and negative 1 month GOFO rates, today the physical metal shortage surged, as can be seen by not only the first negative 6 month GOFO rate since last summer's much publicized gold shortage when China was gobbling up every piece of shiny yellow rock available for sale, but a 1 month GOFO of -0.1850%: the most negative it has been since 2001!
Shit just got real. The Bank of Japan said it will buy 100% of new bond issuance.
Copper prices are surging this morning (in the face of Goldman's recent warnings of a plunge), jumping 4 handles apparently on the heels of a WSJ story in which LME admits that a single buyer has snapped up more than half the copper held in London Metal Exchange warehouses, giving it control over a crucial source of supply and raising concerns among traders about the potential for higher prices. What is more remarkable is, as WSJ reports, on several occasions in the last month, this buyer held as much as 90% of the world’s copper stored in LME-licensed warehouses. Though no confirmation has been given traders suggest the firm cornering the copper market is Red Kite Group, a London hedge-fund manager that focuses on metals trading.
The recent slowdown in Chinese property sales, prices and early-cycle new starts has most impacted physical demand for (and sentiment towards) commodities exposed to the earlier stages of China’s construction cycle – steel and iron ore – which have underperformed commodities more exposed to latter stages of the construction cycle, such as copper. However, as the recent slowdown in new starts flows through to late-cycle, copper-intensive construction completions, we expect copper to come under further pressure.
Gold has been in a bear market for three years. Technical analysts are asking themselves whether they should call an end to this slump on the basis of the "triple-bottom" recently made at $1180/oz, or if they should be wary of a coming downside break beneath that level. The purpose of this article is to look at the drivers of the gold price and explain why today's market value is badly reflective of gold's true worth.
Physical gold is being accumulated and used in exchanges but very discretely as of now. The geopolitical and economic environment in the last few months was in my view the calm before the storm. Both the economic and political environments are uncertain and will surprise the complacent markets.
How much higher can the dollar go? Betting on the Fed’s paper has been one helluva speculation... Read on for the supply and demand fundamentals of gold and silver.
Something extraordinary occurred this week. The Fed made a routine announcement. Fireworks began the next day. In 6 hours, the price of silver skyrocketed by 5%.
While we have warned about the problem with near-infinitely rehypothecated physical/funding commodities/metals, be they gold or copper, many times in the past, and most recently here, it was only this week that China finally admitted it has a major problem involving not just the commodities participating in funding deals - in this case copper and aluminum - but specifically their infinite rehypothecation, which usually results in the actual underlying metal mysteriously "disappearing", as in it never was there to begin with. It would appear our fears of global contagion (through various transmission channels) are now coming true as WSJ reports that as many as a half-dozen banks are trying to determine whether the collateral for loans they made to commodities traders was used fraudulently by a third party to obtain other loans. As we detailed previously, it appears the day when the Commodity Funding Deals finally end is fast approaching... and as we note below, why that will certainly be a watershed event.