Mark McHugh

Whose Gold Is JP Morgan Dumping Now?

In Open Thread on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Author’s Note: This piece is unfinished, but the data presented here is simply too important not to publish.  

They say phrasing allegations in the form of questions reduces one’s liability when reporting a story (or something like that). For example, it’s not cool to say something like, “The US Treasury is actively suppressing gold prices by dumping metal on the COMEX via JP Morgan.”  No sir.  That would be implying that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who took office less than one hundred days ago, is nothing more than another crony capitalist scumbag who cares more about his offshore accounts and hedge fund buddies than his country.  So even if Jack held a closed-door meeting with Jamie Dimon and a bunch of hedge fund managers on May 2, and since then hedge funds have taken record short positions in paper gold, it doesn’t prove that Treasury dumped more gold in the last 30 days than the US mint has sold this year. Fine.  We’ll keep the answers that make perfect sense in the form of a question.  

This is  from yesterday’s (May 30) CME group metals delivery report:

 

US GOVERNMENT GOLD DUMP

All but 1,600 of the 455,000 troy ounces of physical gold delivered (net) on May 30 were procured by an entity (or entities) known only as customers of JP Morgan.  Note that the Morgue’s house account was a buyer, as was everybody else excepting RJ O’Brien.  Contrary to financial media reports, what we’re seeing is actually broad-based buying in gold and highly concentrated selling.  So that seller must be either very desperate or very, very dumb.  Maybe both.  The question is does the American public have the right to know if their government is actively manipulating the market?  And whose responsibility is it to tell them?

Perhaps this would be a good time to remind people that while everyone has an opinion on the price of gold nowadays, if you don’t have gold to sell your opinion doesn’t count.  Somebody with yellow metal has to validate the gyrations of the  confetti-flinging momos at the COMEX, or the whole  “price discovery mechanism” myth gets exposed for the circle jerk it is.

Could it have been anybody other than Treasury?

As popular as circle-jerking over pretend gold is in the US, it never really caught on in Hong Kong, where the average IQ is 9 points higher.  You may have heard that the operators of the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx) closed last week, announcing plans to cash settle outstanding metals contracts and getting arrested shortly thereafter.  When was the last time a high-ranking US government official got arrested?

Apparently it is the duty of the US Treasury Secretary to tip off hedge funds.  It’s called the wealth effect.  If such things were illegal wouldn’t Hankenstein Paulson be serving time for telling his pals of his plan to place Fannie and Freddie in conservatorship while publicly denying such a plan as an option?

Jamie Dimon Has Issues (or Meet The Idiot Selling Gold)

In Open Thread on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Jamie Dimon

Update: On Friday April 26, JPM customers (US government??) added a whopping 558 contracts (55,800 troy oz.) to the totals reflected in this article.  The CME group daily report can be found here, but note, these daily reports go into Never-neverland when the new one comes out (so save it if you want it for future reference).

Somebody should explain to the blathering numbskulls at CNBS that 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.

This is the CME Group’s COMEX metals issues and stops year-to-date report, which can be found here everyday for free.  It chronicles the physical delivery notices of various metals, including gold.  Let’s have a look:

CME Gold

“I” is for “Idiot”
That’s how I remember it, anyway. “I” actually stands for “issues,” meaning the firm parted with its metal (@ 100 troy ounces a shot), and “S” stands for “stops,” meaning the firm took delivery of gold. “C” is for customer accounts, “H” is house accounts.  The first thing you should notice is that most transaction net out to zero in a given month (blue boxes), meaning the firm’s gold holdings didn’t change. What they delivered one day they got back the next, or vice versa.  The green boxes show firms who received more than they delivered and the red boxes indicate firms who coughed up gold for Bernanke bucks (aka idiots). Note that Deutsche Bank’s massive take in February more than offsets its deliveries in December and April.

Notice one more thing before we move on: Despite Goldman’s much ballyhooed “Gold Sucks!” call a few weeks ago, the squid has not parted with any yellow metal whatsoever in 2013.  Hmmm.

Now for the main event:

JPM CME

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 its 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.

Maybe Jamie Dimon figures he’ll buy back all that gold on the cheap when the rest of the world realizes how smart he is.  Or maybe he’s once again displaying that his firm doesn’t have the slightest idea what “hedging” is and is teetering on the brink of collapse.  That would explain the April 11th meeting between President Obama and the Pig 5 bank CEOs, wouldn’t it?  And you just have to get a little misty that Lloyd Blankfein was nice enough to provide some hot-air cover for his competitor, don’t you?

One thing’s very clear: When it comes to selling physical gold, J P Morgan is acting alone.  The 130 contracts NOT delivered by JPM in the last three months (of which  110 were fromABN AMRO) are but a footnote.  If Jamie’s right, he’ll look like a genius in a few months, if not he should be able to recycle his quote regarding the infamous “London Whale” losses: “Just because we’re stupid, doesn’t mean everybody else was.”  Time will tell.

100 years ago John Pierpont Morgan famously testified to Congress, “Money is gold, and nothing else.” (Note: That is the exact quote, the full testimony can be found here).  One has to wonder what the big guy would think of his legacy’s disregard for sound money, $70 Trillion derivatives book, and “House of Cards” “Fortress” balance sheet.

One more very, very important thing.
Anybody who says there’s been gold selling in the GLD is a freaking moron (Bob Pistrami, I’m looking in your direction).   The GLD works much like a coat check.  Unless you think checking your coat constitutes a real transaction of some kind you shouldn’t think of changes in the GLD’s gold holdings as sales. They’re not. When you check your gold into the GLD you get shares (like a claim check). Where it gets wierd is you can sell these claim checks to nimrods who seem to think they’ve bought your coat, but aren’t actually allowed to wear it.

What nobody seems to appreciate is that every share of GLD is allowed to be sold TWICE (long and short, and it’s really important to understand that).  If you’re foolish enough to doubt me (and foolish enough to short gold), go short GLD shares and see if anyone knocks on your door demanding gold.  Saying the GLD is 100% backed by gold is a bold face lie because they’re can be twice as many shares in play as gold backing them, which means GLD shares may be only 50% backed by gold before any rules are broken.

When GLD (or any ETF for that matter) shares sold exceed the existing shares PLUS all the shortable (double-sold) shares, legitimate shares can not be found for settlement and that must be reported to the SEC’s “Fails to Deliver” list, which is published twice a month with about a four-week delay (here).

April 15, 2013 was this biggest volume day ever for GLD (93.7mm) and I’ll guarantee you right now that record fails to deliver will be reported on or around that date, which should have required more gold to be deposited with the GLD (but that didn’t happen).  So instead of the half-assed explanation Pistrami offered (here) of how he thinks the GLD works, he should have raised the question of whether or not there were enough legitimate shares of GLD to facilitate trading (I say no way in hell).

Gold continues to be pulled from the GLD (which really means people want their coats back) and still no one’s concerned about the number doubled-owned shares.  Worse yet, the responsibility for sorting this unholy mess out falls to SEC chief Mary Jo White who is celebrating her 16th day in office.

I can’t wait to see what happens next….

Notes for Nerds:  This piece is not intended to describe the inner workings of the COMEX or GLD in detail, so don’t bust my balls with minutiae, unless it is relevant to the discussion of JPM’s massive gold sales or the double-ownership of ETF shares. Double-owned ETF shares are huge problem with ETFs in general, but the misrepresentation (by omission) of this fact by ETFs supposedly backed by tangible assets like gold and silver seems more egregious to me.  

In addition to the YTD CME Group metals report, you can track the hilarity on a day-by-day basis here.

The February 1 to April 25 delivered gold contracts info referenced included only transactions between firms.   For that reason Morgan Stanley’s 307 contracts transferred from  house account to customer account was excluded from the calculations.

Total Net gold deliveries Feb 1 to April 25:

Vision Financial – 1 contract
R J O’Brien – 2
ADM Investor Services INC – 2
Marex – 5
Citigroup Global Markets – 10
ABN AMRO – 110
JP Morgan – 19,660

Update: Friday April 26 (not included in article):

4-26 CME

 

(Updated) Total Net gold deliveries Feb 1 to April 26:

Vision Financial – 1 contract
R J O’Brien – 2
ADM Investor Services INC – 2
Marex – 5
Citigroup Global Markets – 10
ABN AMRO – 112
JP Morgan – 20,218

 

The Cost of Kidding Yourself

In Open Thread on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Five years ago, every American would have considered a trillion-dollar budget deficit a national tragedy.  If you believe the CNBC parrot show, NOT having a trillion-dollar deficit is now a sure sign of the Apocalypse.  I speak of course of the cleverly dubbed “Fiscal Cliff,” which panicked CNBC apologists are required to mention no less than 5,000 times a day.  We’re told ad nauseam that going over the cliff will drag the US into recession.  Here’s what we’re not told: The US has been in recession 9 of the last 10 years.  It’s in recession this year, and no matter what CNBC’s financial terrorists say or the idiots on Capital Hill decide, it will most certainly be in recession in 2013.

Creating the illusion of economic growth is easy if you can print money.  It’s a prank you can play on an entire country.  Cut the value of the currency in half and the economy’s size will appear to double.  If it doesn’t, you’re in recession (whether you know it or not).   Cavemen probably understood this concept better than America’s best economic minds.

The only way to accurately measure changes in a nation’s economy is to do so relative to the world (see Notes for non-nerds below before protesting).  According to the World Bank, the U.S. represented 31.8% of the world’s economic activity in 2001.  By the end of 2011, that share had dropped to 21.6%, meaning America’s slice of the world economy is 32% smaller than it was a decade ago, and getting smaller every day.  Note that America’s housing bubble did nothing to boost the U.S. on the global stage.

As horrific as these results are, they’re better than Japan’s, whose “lost decade” proved only to be prologue for its “lost-er decade.”  Japan’s share of the world economy fell more than 35% from 2001 to 2011 (literally worse than Zimbabwe) and has now shriveled 54% from its peak.  But Japan’s real collapse did not coincide with the bursting of its stock and real estate bubbles in 1990 and 1991 respectively.  The decline actually began in 1995 when policymakers allowed government debt to exceed 90% of GDP (a milestone the U.S. quietly passed in 2010). 

The more they “fixed” it, the more it broke.  17 years later, the only thing Japan has proved is that smart Japanese economists are about as real as Godzilla.  Time and time again, the country has chosen collapse over admitting failure. On November 19, 2012, Bloomberg reported, “The Japanese government will spend 1 trillion yen ($12.3B) on a second round of fiscal stimulus as it tries to revive an economy at risk of sliding into recession.”  It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

The United Kingdom gets third place in the 2001-2011 major economies’ “Race to Oblivion”, although with a less than 3.5% share of world GDP it’s hard to call this a major economy with a straight face anymore.  While the U.K. printed its way to 24% loss in world GDP, France and Brazil both passed the nation where an actual troy pound of sterling silver now costs about 235 “pounds sterling”.  With government debt expected to reach 88.7% of GDP in 2012, once-Great Britain will soon be seated at the kids’ table at economic summits, if it gets invited at all.

All three of these countries are in death spirals for the same reason:  They believe that they have the ability to avoid recession by simply printing their own money.  As America’s 100-year numbskull (and current Federal Reserve Chairman) Ben Bernanke once mused:

“…the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

True dat, Ben….unless there’s “cost” associated with turning the nation’s currency into the world’s laughing stock….

Oh wait, there is.  So just for fun, let’s project the last ten years growth rates forward another ten years:

And there you have the real New World Order (sorry Freemasons).  In ten years China’s economy will be bigger than those of the U.S., Japan, and the U.K. combined.  What are the chances they will drink the same kool-aid we are presently guzzling?  Will they need, or even tolerate, the opinions spewed by our pundits and politicians?  And more importantly, will the U.S. dollar still be the world’s reserve currency?

Being a war-mongering banana republic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and despite what CNBC’s fast-money fuckwits may think, the stock market is not America’s report card.  Wall Street is the white elephant that America can’t afford to feed anymore and China doesn’t have the slightest interest in buying (just take a look at the Shanghai Composite).   Continuing to yield to its tantrums will undoubtedly destroy us.

Fun Facts:  Total U.S. GDP growth in the 20th century was $9.93 Trillion, while the  government accumulated $5.5 Trillion in debt.  In the 21st century, the US has borrowed $10.7T and has a grand total of $5.30T in GDP growth.

***

Notes for nerds: Most of the calculations presented were derived from data compiled by the World Bank which can be viewed or downloaded here.   World GDP was set to 100% and each country’s percentage determined simply by dividing by world GDP.   Japan’s debt as a percentage of GDP from Fred (225% was used for 2011).  Estimate of U.K.’s 2012 Debt/GDP from here.  U.S. GDP stats from USgovernmentspending.com (2012 estimate adjusted for 2% growth).  US debt from Debt to the Penny.

Notes for non-nerds:  How much World GDP changes from one year to the next depends entirely on what is being used to measure it.  For example, World GDP expanded by 109% from 2002 to 2011 in USD terms, but contracted (-59%) in terms of gold.  Using the Euro would produce different results (+59%), as would using barrels of oil (you figure it out).  Looking at countries relative to World GDP is an honest measure of their changes.  To say that Japan is still growing (at least in terms of Yen), but everyone else is growing much, much faster in terms of Yen distorts the reality that  Japan is undeniably shrinking relative to the world (no matter what currency is used).