For the first time in what may be ages, a phenomenon that has become near and dear to anyone who trades gold, and which at best elicits a casual smirk from those who observe it several times daily, we find that the WSJ has finally picked up on the topic of the endless daily gold slam down, where the seller in complete disregard for market disruption (because in a normal world one wants to sell any given lot without notifying the market that one is selling so as to get a good price on the next lot... but not in the gold market where the seller slams the bid with reckless abandon) ignores market depth and in a demonstration of nothing but brute price manipulation force, slams every bid down just to demoralize further buying. Naturally, that this simply provides buyers with a more depressed price than is "fair" is lost on the seller, but not on the buyers who promptly bid up the metal as attempt to demoralize buying end in failure after failure. Yet it is peculiar that today, for the first time, the intraday gold slam down has finally made the MSM. To wit: "The CME Group Inc.’s Comex division recorded an unusually large transaction of 7,500 gold futures during one minute of trading at 8:31 a.m. EDT. The sale took out blocks of bids as large as 84 contracts in one fell swoop and cut prices down to $1,648.80 a troy ounce. The overall transaction was worth more than $1.24 billion... Gold traders buzzed with speculation that the transaction was an input error — a so-called “fat finger” trade. “Or a Gold Finger as it might be known in the bullion market,” traders at Citi joked in a note to clients." Well, no. It wasn't.
Because if it was, by that logic the gold market falls prey to a fat finger every single day, often times 2 or 3 times a day. But because gold market participants have learned that complaining to the CFTC about this kind of manipulation has no impact, and because at the end of the day it merely provides a cheap reentry price, most have grown to love and anticipate these kinds of moves. In fact, we can only hope that the CFTC and SEC ignores this WSJ update, and lets the market keep on keeping on without changing anything. Because otherwise who will provide the depressed price levels that permit conversion of worthless paper into Fed-detested, undilutable barbarous tradition?
From the WSJ:
One indicator that the transaction was a mistake was its size. At 750,000 troy ounces, such large trades are rarely conducted amid very thin trading volumes. Monday trading was expected to be quiet as market participants in China and Japan are out on holiday and many European traders are preparing for a holidays there
Attempts at manipulation are getting so glaringly obvious, not even the MSM pretends to believe them:
“No one who has the account size and the money to trade thousands of gold contracts would do it in one transaction, that’s just stupid,” said one trader. The collateral required to purchase 7,500 contracts is about $75.9 million in cash that the trader would have deposited with his broker.
Moreover, the likely mistake is symptomatic of the shift to electronic trading. Computer trading systems are vulnerable to input errors, as they do not question the order before executing the transaction. By contrast, when most order flow would pass through the Comex floor where human traders processed the deals, potential errors stood higher chances of being intercepted, traders said.
“You would definitely verify [a trade this big] before you executed it,” said one Comex floor broker.
Sorry Citi, but it was not a gold finger:
not everyone agreed Monday’s slip in gold was caused by a keystroke error. Chuck Retzky, director of futures sales for Mizuho Securities USA, said that silver prices suffered a similar leg down at the same time as gold, tumbling 35 cents to $30.805 a troy ounce, but other markets like Treasurys, currencies and stocks were unperturbed.
“To do it both in gold and silver tells me that it wasn’t a trade done in error,” Retzky said. He added that the sale could have been caused by a trader looking to cut back holdings on the last trading day of April, as fund managers often time purchases and sales for particular reporting periods.
Or, it was made by a trader at the BIS, whose job is to crush credibility in gold, and who describes himself as a market maker for central banks for all gold products, and who holds and manages proprietary positions on all currencies including gold (so wait... gold IS a currency according to the BIS? Gotcha).
Where have we seen this before? Oh yes.
As for gold...Dont cry for it Argentina... or try to nationalize it for that matter: that is an honor that is expressly reserved for the second teleprompted coming of FDR, and the second coming of Executive Order 6102.