Tag Archives: Comex

Mining Stocks Have Not Been Cheaper In The Last 78 Years

It’s important to keep in mind that the mining stocks have been sold to levels well-below their intrinsic value – in the case of larger-cap producing miners. Or their “optionality” value – in the case of junior mining companies with projects that have a good chance eventually of converting their deposits into mines. “Optionality” value is based on the idea that junior exploration companies with projects that have strong mineralization or a compliant resource have an implied value based on the varying degrees of probability that their projects will eventually be developed into a producing mine.

In relation to the price of gold and silver, the mining stocks generically (i.e. the various mining stock indices like the HUI or GDX) have rarely traded at cheaper levels than where they are trading now:

The chart above, sourced from Incrementum (the October 2018 chartbook update to the “In Gold We Trust” 2018 report), shows the ratio of Barron’s Gold Mining Stock Index (BGMI) to the price of gold (gold line) and the S&P 500 (blue line) going back to 1950. As you can see, gold mining stocks are trading at their lowest level relative to gold and the broad stock market in 78 years. The two dotted lines show the median level for each ratio since 1950.

As you can see, mining stocks do not spend much time below the median ratio. I strongly believe that the chart reflects a high probability of a major move higher in precious metals and mining stocks that is percolating, if not imminent. Certainly the global economic, financial and geo-political risk fundamentals support this assertion.

Unless the precious metals mining business is going away, that chart implies that now is one of the best times since World War Two to buy mining shares. Not surprisingly, industry insiders must agree with that assertion, as mining stock acquisition deal-flow has picked up considerably in the last few months. Most of the deals have been concentrated in the junior mining stocks.  But Barrick’s acquisition of Randgold, announced September 24th, is the largest precious metals merger in history. I strongly believe Barrick bought Randgold out of desperation to replace its rapidly depleting gold reserves.

Fundamentals aside, I believe gold is technically set-up to make a big move:

The chart above shows GLD (used a proxy for the price of gold) from late 2004 to the present on a weekly basis. I’ve sketched a trendline that goes back to 2004. 2004 is when gold finally pushed through $400 for good. It was right before that event that Robert Prechter, of Elliot Wave fame, predicted that gold would fall to $50. While I’m not a big fan of analysis based on lines drawn on charts, this particular tend-line has held intact since gold bottomed in December 2015.

Notwithstanding chart analysis, the COT technicals have never been more bullish. This assertion assumes, of course, that the track record of hedge funds being wrong when positioned long or short at an extreme level remains intact.

Gold Going Higher – Mining Stocks Are Historically Cheap

It’s important to keep in mind that the mining stocks have been sold to levels well-below their intrinsic value – in the case of larger-cap producing miners. Or their “optionality” value – in the case of junior mining companies with projects that have a good chance eventually of converting their deposits into mines. “Optionality” value is based on the idea that junior exploration companies with projects that have strong mineralization or a compliant resource have an implied value based on the varying degrees of probability that their projects will eventually be developed into a producing mine.

In relation to the price of gold and silver, the mining stocks generically (i.e. the various mining stock indices like the HUI or GDX) have rarely traded at cheaper levels than where they are trading now.

Bill Powers invited me on to his Mining Stock Education podcast to discuss why the price of gold and silver is going higher and why the mining stocks are historically undervalued:

In the next issue of the Mining Stock Journal, I dissect my favorite junior mining stock ideas. These are stocks that have unreasonably sold-off and have at least 10-bagger potential. You can learn more about this here:  Mining Stock Journal information.

The Tragically Flawed Fed Policies And The Eventual Reset Of The Gold Price

With gold showing good resiliency as it has tested the $1200 level successfully after enduring aggressive paper gold attacks during Comex floor trading hours, it’s only a matter of time before gold breaks out above $1220 and heads toward $1300. Gold has been under attack in the futures market this week as the world’s largest physical gold importer, China, has been closed all week for holiday observance. In addition, with financial market conditions stabilizing in India, the world second largest physical gold importer’s peak gold buying season resumed this week. When gold spikes over $1220, it will unleash an avalanche of short-covering by the hedge funds.

What will cause gold to spike up? There’s any number of potential “black swans” that could appear out of nowhere, but the at the root of it is the tragically flawed monetary policies of the Federal Reserve, along with the rest of the Central Banks globally…of course, the eastern hemisphere banks are buying gold hand-over-fist…

Chris Marcus invited me onto this StockPulse podcast to discuss the precious metals market and the factors that will trigger an eventual price-reset:

Reasons To Optimistic About The Precious Metals Sector

The September 7th COT report is probably the most bullish I’ve seen since the beginning of my involvement in the precious metals sector in 2001. As most of you probably know by now, the “commercial” trader category is now net long both gold and silver for the first time going back to at least 1994. The banks (“swap dealers”) net long position in both paper metals increased. Conversely the hedge fund net short increased in both.

It may take a few weeks for gold to push through $1215-1220, as the hedge fund algos will be looking to attack the price until they have covered their enormous net short position. That said, it will take only one particularly surprisingly bad economic report or unexpected geopolitical event (Syria, trade war, domestic political surprise, reckless Trump tweet, etc) to trigger a spike-up in the price of gold. Once this occurs, the hedge fund computers will race to cover their shorts, which will drive the price higher very quickly.

Trevor Hall and I co-produce the Mining Stock Daily, a brief, daily overview of news and events connected to the precious metals and mining stock market. We focus on junior mining stocks. We are looking to exploit audio information distribution on 10 different digital platforms including Anchor, Alexa, Apple Podcasts, etc. Trevor and I discussed why there is cause for optimism in the precious metals sector for MSD’s Friday feature interview segment (click on graphic to listen):

Gold And Silver Are Set-Up To Soar

Per the latest COT report (note: this references the August 21st COT Report), the hedge fund (Managed Money) net short position in Comex paper gold was 90,000 contracts – by far a record short position for the hedge fund trader category. Conversely, the bank net long position (Swap Dealers) in Comex paper gold was close to an all-time high. It’s not quite as high it was in December 2015.

The hedge fund long position in US dollar futures is also at an extreme right now, with the banks taking the other side. Unless there’s something devious going on behind the scenes in the reporting of this data (possible but not probable), the banks are positioned for a huge move higher in gold and a sell-off in the dollar. The only question is timing. The commercial category of the COT Report (banks + producers/merchants/processors/users) is net long silver futures for the first time in at least 25 years. In combination with the gold COT Report structure, this is the most bullish set-up for the precious metals in history.

Note: Per the latest COT Report, positions as of August 28th, the hedge funds reduced their net short by 16,000 contracts and the banks reduced their net long by 2,700 contracts. The hedge fund covering explains why the price of gold rose roughly $20 between August 21st and August 28th.

The chart below illustrates the extreme positioning by speculators in gold, interest rates and the stock market:

The graphic shows the net short position of non-commercials (managed money, other institutional pools of investment money and retail traders) in gold futures, 10yr Treasury futures and VIX futures. It’s the largest bet in history by speculators that gold and 10yr Treasury bonds will go a lot lower and the stock market will go a lot higher (volatility declines as stocks rise so a short-VIX bet is a bet stocks go higher).

When positioned at an extreme like this, speculators are always wrong.  It may not seem like it right now, but I would also suggest some type of development is percolating that will trigger an unexpected and substantial sell-off in the dollar.

Based on looking at the increase in the hedge fund net short position in the gold futures COT report between the end of June and the latest report as of August 21st, it would appear as if most hedge fund short-interest contracts were sold short between July 31st and August 21st. During that stretch, the price of gold dropped from $1224 to $1170. I’m guesstimating that the average price on the hedge fund net short position is between $1215-$1220. The is a rough estimate but I would bet it’s pretty close.

This is important because it tells us the price-level at which we might see a big short-cover move higher begin. Last Friday gold shot up from $1194 to $1212. From this past Monday (August 27th) through Tuesday just before the Comex floor opened, gold ran up close to $1221. About an hour into the Comex floor hours, gold fell off a cliff quickly down to $1207. This price-hit occurred in the absence of any news or events that would have triggered a selloff. In fact, the yuan rose sharply vs the dollar on Tuesday, which throws cold water on the theory that the Chinese have pinned gold to the yuan.

The point here is that the hedge funds will be motivated to defend the $1220 price level. Above that price the hedge funds will start to lose a lot of money on their net short position. This is the only way I can explain the waterfall hit on the price of gold on Tuesday. If the price of gold can climb over $1220 toward $1230, it will likely trigger a short-cover move. But keep in mind that, as the price momentum heads higher, the hedge fund position will swing from net short to net long.

This is likely what will the drive start of the next move higher in gold. A move that will be reinforced by the start of the big seasonal buying season in India and China. Based on the numbers I see on a daily basis, the Indians and the Chinese are taking advantage of the lower price of gold and have already ramped-up their gold buying. When the Fed is forced by the economy to fold on rate hikes, gold will really begin move.

The junior mining stocks are trading at one the lowest valuation levels over the last 18 years in relation to the price of gold. US Gold Corp (USAU) traded briefly below $1 last week in the absence of any news or events that might have affected the stock price. The market cap is close to 50% below the intrinsic value of its Copper King Project. The stock jumped 14% on Friday and Mining Stock Journal subscribers had an opportunity to buy shares ahead of this move. You can learn more about this newsletter and why USAU is absurdly undervalued here: Mining Stock Journal information.

A Coming Flood Of Treasuries And An Epic Gold Rally?

“When it starts to happen, I think it could happen a lot more quickly than people realize.” The rest of the world is methodically “weaning” itself off its dependence on the U.S. dollar. Perhaps the latest EM collapse will accelerate this reset. At the same time, the U.S. Government is on track to issue a record amount of Treasury bonds to fund its rapidly expanding spending deficit. Who is going to buy these Treasuries? When the bid for Treasuries disappears, the dollar will begin to collapse, gold will soar. Demand will far exceed supply as the price rises and the paper gold shorts will be slaughtered.

My colleague Chris Marcus invited me on to his Miles Franklin podcast to discuss what appears to be an extreme version of the 2008 de facto financial system collapse and a likely “reset” of the global monetary system:

In the next issue of the Mining Stock Journal, I analyze the latest COT report and present the price-point at which hedge funds will start to cover their large short position.  I also update my favorite junior mining stock ideas and present my favorite shorter term trading plays. You can learn more about this here:   Mining Stock Journal information.

The Comex Gold Short Position

I felt compelled to clarify the commentary out “there” discussing the non-commercial short position in gold.  An interviewee on one of the widely viewed precious metals and economic websites referenced the record “speculator” short position in Comex gold futures.

In my opinion this is misleading because it is the “managed money” segment of the non-commercial “speculator” trader category in the CFTC’s COT report that encompasses the entire net short position (click image to enlarge):

The image above shows the latest disaggregated COT report. The disaggregated COT report debuted in October 2009.  Disaggregated data was made available going back to June 13, 2006. Previously the report was separated into “Commericials, large speculators and non-reportables.” The large speculators were the “managed money and other reportables.” The “managed money” is primarily hedge funds. No one outside of the Comex operators can say exactly what the “other reportable” category is (many attempts have been made to get clarification over the years). It’s likely larger pools of non-institutional capital like family office money and wealthy foundations. The “non-reportable” category is retail accounts.

I will note that when JP Morgan was caught and fined for mis-reporting the Comex silver futures trades it clears, the bank was caught stuffing trades that belonged in the “swap dealer” account into the “other reportable” account.

This clarification is important to point out for two reasons. First, as you can see, in the non-commercial trader accounts,  the hedge funds comprise the entire amount of the non-commercial/non-bank net short position. The Other Reportables and Non-Reportables are net long. In fact, the Other Reportables increased its net long position last week.

Second, not only is the hedge fund net short position at a record level, the “Swap Dealer” (i.e. the banks) account is close to an all-time net long position at 31,259 contracts. Based on the historical disaggregated spreadsheet maintained by my business partner, the only time the bank net long position was larger was a two-week period in December 2015 (12/15 – 32,550 and 12/22 – 31,692) and a two-week period in July 2017.  However, during the July 2017 period, when the swap dealers were net long at a record level, it was also accompanied by a net long position by the hedge funds.   Overall the commercial category in mid-July 2017 was still short over 70,000 contracts (the “producer/merchant/processor/user” commercial category includes bank positions that are theoretically not used to hedge).

I wanted to clarify the issue with the COT report because it’s important to note that the banks are almost always right with their gold futures positioning and the hedge funds are almost always wrong. The implication of this is obvious.

I discuss the significance of the net long/net short positioning by the banks and the hedge funds in Comex gold futures with Trevor Hall of Clear Creek Digital in our collaborative project, Mining Stock Daily (click on image below to listen – this was recorded before Friday’s COT report was released):

Mining Stock Daily can also be accessed using Amazon Alexa, Google podcasts and Apple i-Tunes.

WTF Just Happened: Gold Forms A Bottom And 420-Time For Elon Musk

Perhaps the most baffling aspect of the Elon Musk “Funding Secured” tweet is the number of financial media outlets and so-called “analysts” that are taking it seriously. The idea is a complete joke. Any valuation in excess of potential asset value minus the debt and other liabilities (included in “liabilities” will soon be a flood of lawsuits). Some bucket-shop stock analysts issued reports explaining why a buyout of Tesla could occur at an even higher price. We’re beginning wonder if the Tesla buyout idiocy will mark the end of the valuation insanity that has permeated the entire U.S. stock market…Meanwhile, hedge funds assumed a record short position in Comex paper gold futures. This along with the worst sentiment toward the precious metals since early 2001 and late 2015 suggest the potential for a bottom in gold, silver and mining shares.

In this episode of “WTF Just Happened?” we discuss these issues plus offer a view on the correlation between the dollar-price of gold and the $/yuan (WTF Just Happened is a produced in association with Wall St. For Main Street – Eric Dubin may be reached at  Facebook.com/EricDubin):

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Tesla is on its way to bankruptcy.  I don’t know how long it will take that to occur but the Company will be insolvent if it can’t raise money before the end of the year.  I explain why a buyout of the Company is next to impossible in the next issue of the Short Seller’s Journal and offer several ideas for using put options to express a bearish view of Tesla stock.

Visit these links to learn more about the Investment Research Dynamic’s  Mining Stock Journal and Short Seller’s Journal.   

The Trading Action In Gold

There’s no question in my mind that the intervention in the gold market is similar to the intervention that occurred in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis. However, I believe that,
because of the massive physical off-take in the eastern hemisphere, the western Central
Banks and bullion banks will be unable to push the price gold down on the same scale as it
was taken down in 2008 from March to October. Currently, gold is 15% above the low it hit at the end of 2015. It’s 7% above the interim low it hit at the end of 2016.

As of last week, money managers (hedge funds primarily) held the biggest net-short position in futures and options in records going back to 2006. A measure of gold volatility is near the lowest since January.

My good friend and colleague, Chris Marcus, invited me onto his podcast show that he produces for Miles Franklin.  We discuss the gold market, the deterioration U.S. economy and the reasons I believe that the trading action in gold and silver is preceding another financial collapse similar to 2008 only worse:

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In the latest issue of the Mining Stock Journal, which was released this afternoon, I present data that suggests the current decline in the price of gold is beginning to bottom and is setting up for a big move in to the fall. Also discuss my view of the theory that China has pegged the price of gold to the yuan and I present a gold stock idea that has dropped price to a level that makes it “stupid cheap.” You can learn more about this newsletter here: Mining Stock Journal information

Prelude To A 2008 Event: Paper Gold Manipulation Intensifies

The trading action in the paper gold markets of London and NY this week further convinces me that gold is being pushed down in price by the western Central Banks similar to the take-down in the paper price that occurred in 2008.  The motive is to prevent a soaring gold price from signalling to the markets that a big problem is percolating in the global economic and banking systems.

Once again, in the early morning the price of gold was slammed just after the London a.m. price Fix (3 a.m. EST) and again at the open of the Comex gold pit (8:20 a.m. EST) – click on image to enlarge:

This pattern has been persistent over the last two months.  It’s not about gold being “pinned” to the SDR, as Jim Rickards is now promoting.  And it’s not about some mystical gold peg to the yuan.  It’s about western Central Bank desperation to keep the dollar alive in order to defer the inevitable collapse of the record level of dollar-denominated debt and the associated derivatives.

It’s no coincidence that Rickards has floated this theory about the gold price and the SDR recently.  Rickards was rolled out several years ago to promote the idea that the SDR would be the next reserve currency. The Deep State knows the dollar’s life-span is limited. The U.S. dollar is 58% of the SDR, making the SDR the best replacement of the dollar which thereby enables the U.S. Deep State to maintain some semblance of global hegemony.

For the time being, gold is trading almost in perfect inverse correlation with the dollar. The dollar currently is rising vs. all fiat currencies. Therefore, of course it might look visually like gold and the yuan or gold and the yen are trading in tight correlation. But at the root it’s all about the dollar and the effort to prevent the dollar from collapsing.

As for the brewing collapse of the financial system, here’s an interesting chart comparing Deutsche Bank’s stock price with the gold since the beginning for February. The idea here is that the Fed/ECB/BoE began to work on the gold price when it became obvious that the world’s most systemically dangerous bank was in a state of collapse:

Certainly the mining stocks are generally “skeptical” of gold’s price action since April:

And has anyone checked gold lease rates lately?  Currently the lease rate curve for gold and silver in London is inverted. In fact, lease rates gold from 3 months to a year are negative.  Negative lease rates mean the Central Banks will pay bullion banks to lease gold and silver.  Long-timers like me know that this means there’s an immediate and anticipated shortage of physical gold and silver available for delivery, where “delivery” means the metal is removed from the London vaults and shipped to the entitled buyer.

Both gold and silver are backwardated.  It took 11 iterations in the LBMA p.m. fix on Tuesday to balance out the heavy demand for physical gold from bidders. 11 iterations is rare occurrence. 5-6 iterations is rare. 1 or 2 is typical. Metal is tight in London.

If you are monitoring the Comex Hong Kong kilo bar vaults, you are aware that the movement in and out of the vaults there suggests that metal is also tight in Hong Kong, which means it is likely tight in Shanghai.

The point here is that the paper price behavior of gold right now is not what it seems.  I’d be more worried about the motives behind the take-down of the gold price using derivatives than I would about where the price of gold will be in 3-6 months.  I’ve always said that the occurrence of events triggering the price of gold to soar  will make life unpleasant for everyone.