Tag Archives: COT report

The Historical Stock Bubble And Undervalued Gold And Silver

When the hedge fund algos inevitably turn the other way and unload stocks, a meaningful amount of the capital that leaves the stock market will likely rush into gold and silver.  The record hedge fund net short position on the Comex will add fuel to the move in gold/silver.

James Anderson of Silver Doctors/SD Bullion invited me to discuss the largest stock bubble in U.S. history and why gold is extremely undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar.  (Note:  at the 20:44 mark I reference China’s foreign reserves to be $1.2 trillion. This is the dollar amount of China’s reserves; China’s total foreign reserve is $3 trillion).

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Hedge Funds Record Net Short Paper Gold

The latest commitment of traders report (COT report) showed that the hedge funds on the Comex (the “managed money” account) is now net short 33.9k contract of paper gold.  This is a record net short position in paper gold for the managed money account on the Comex.  The previous all-time high was 27.2k contracts at the end of December 2015.

This explains a lot to me about the character of the price decline in gold since early April. Just like in the stock market, the large macro “quant” funds use computer algorithms to momentum trade Comex futures. It’s this factor that caused the price of gold to drop quickly once it went below its 50 dma on April 12th. The shift to a net short positioned reflects hedge fund computers unloading long positions and piling into the short side.

At some point this dynamic will go the other way and, at the very least, there will be a significant short-covering rally as the hedge fund positioning swings back the other way. This will really get interesting if the hedge fund algo move to cover  shorts on the Comex at the same time the stock market heads south again. This would  stimulate a hedge fund algo party that could finally send gold over $1400.

The Mining Stock Journal focuses on junior exploration mining stock ideas and, on a selective basis, larger-cap producing mining stocks. You can learn more about this newsletter here:  Mining Stock Journal information

Tuesday’s Paper Gold Raid And Fake Journalism

“Central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise.” – Alan Greenspan, July 1998 testimony to Congress

At 8:39 a.m. EST 523,200 ozs of paper gold were unloaded onto the Comex in the space of less one minute:

Anyone who’s traded big positions on a trading desk knows that the best way to unload a position that is larger than the immediate liquidity of the market in which the security trades (yes, Comex contracts are “securities,” not actual physical gold) is to feed it out over time.

In that chart above, why wouldn’t the seller try to sell its position in a way that would enable it to get a price for the entire position that was in the vicinity of the market price at the time the sell-order was executed? After all, the market has clearly rebounded to the price level at the time massive sell-order bombed the trading systems, suggesting that the seller could have achieved much larger sell proceeds with a little bit of patience in its selling

This is all rhetorical, of course, because the all-too familiar “fishing line” 1-minute chart is the blatant footprint of market manipulation. Of course, Kitco’s “reporter” on the scene chose to attribute the sudden price plunge to a market “hamstrung by not much risk aversion in the world marketplace” Kitco.com.

It’s hard to believe an educated person wrote that commentary (“Gold Prices Sink To 4-Month Low On Scant Risk Aversion” by Jim Wycoff). Honestly, that headline makes me chuckle. Well then, Jim, the Dow is now up 153 points as I write this 5 hours later, which by your logic would imply there’s even less risk aversion than the “scant” risk aversion at 8:39 a.m.  How come, Jim,  the price of gold rebounded to the level where it was trading when fear of “scant” risk aversion triggered someone to unload 16 tons of paper gold in less than 60 seconds if indeed fear of scant risk aversion was the catalyst for sell order?

Gold And Silver Are Feeling Frisky

I sourced the chart below from a blog called The Macro Tourist. I added the title and the two yellow trend lines. The chart shows the daily price of gold since the inception of the bull market in 2000-2001. Last Friday (March 8th) gold popped $12 +/- (depending on the time from which you measure). I mentioned to some colleagues that “gold may be starting something special.”

The price of gold retested the $1300 level last week.  Aggressive futures short-selling on the Comex took the price of gold below $1300 on Thursday last week. The price ambush failed to keep gold below $1300, as strong Indian demand and a growing expectation that the Fed will stop its balance sheet liquidation and eventually re-start QE.

A lot of current precious metals and mining stock investors were not around for the 2008-2011 bull run and even less were around for the 2001-2006 bull run. The move from January 2016 to July 2016 was a head-fake that was part of the long period of  consolidation shown in the chart above. Many of you have not experienced how much money can be made investing in junior mining stocks when a real bull move takes place.

The chart above shows how cheap gold is vs. the SPX. Similarly, the mining stocks in relation to the priceof gold are almost as cheap as they were in 2001 and the end of 2015. In 2016 the GDXJ ran 300% from January to July. But in 2008, the HUI ran from 150 to 300 in 60 days and then from 300 to well over 600 over the next 2 1/2 year. Many juniors increased in value 10-20x. The move from 2001-2006 provided the same type of excitement.

I believe the long period of consolidation in the precious metals sector is finally ending. While there’s always the possibility that it could drag on longer, the risk/reward for investing in the juniors right now is as highly skewed toward “reward,” as it was in 2001 and 2008. The market will not go straight up and there will be some gut-wrenching, manipulated sell-offs. But I believe patience will be rewarded. This means not going “all-in” all at once but wading in slowly over time.

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.

Silver, Trump’s Trade War, Mining Stocks And The Fed’s Gold

If you have gold, you have money – If you don’t have gold, you have a problem – Alisdair Macleod

With the massive net short position in both gold and silver Comex paper precious metals, offset by the historic net long position of the “commercials” (banks, mining companies, users, hedgers), numerous rumors are swirling around the precious metals market. For certain, the availability of physical gold bars in London that can be delivered to the large eastern hemisphere buyers who demand delivery is growing tight.  Apparently the retail silver coin/bar market is starting to feel supply strains.

Miles Franklin’s Chris Marcus invited me onto this podcast to discuss the precious metals markets, mining stocks, Trump’s Trade War and the status of the gold held in custody by the Fed on behalf of the American public:

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If you are interested in ideas for taking advantage of the inevitable systemic reset that  will hit the U.S. financial and economic system, check out either of these newsletters:  Short Seller’s Journal information and more about the Mining Stock Journal here:  Mining Stock Journal information.

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.

WTF Just Happened? Gold And Silver Set-Up To Soar

According to the latest Commitment of Traders Report released Friday and which accounts for Comex trader positioning through Tuesday, August 21, the hedge fund net short position in Comex paper gold futures soared to an all-time high of 89,972 contracts. This represents nearly 9 million ounces of paper gold. It’s more gold than is produced by gold mines in the U.S. annually. As of Thursday, Comex vault operators reported a total of 8.4 million ounces of gold, only 282,000 of which were available for delivery.  In other words, the hedge fund paper gold short position exceeds the total amount of gold in Comex vaults.

Conversely, the Comex banks are taking the other side of the massive hedge fund short bet. Given the history of extreme positioning by the hedge funds and the banks (the banks are normally short paper gold – thus a long position by the banks is considered “extreme”), it’s a safe bet that at some point in the near future gold (and silver) are set to soar. Perhaps the more interesting question would be to ask why the banks have assumed a large long position in gold. What is it that the banks “see” that has them positioned for a big move higher in the precious metals?

Meanwhile, Tesla is the ultimate evidence that no price discovery is not possible in the U.S. stock market. In a market with true price discovery, TSLA would no longer exist. It appears as if Elon Musk was indeed under the influence of illicit psychotropic drugs when he claimed that funding was secured for a going-private transaction.

In this episode of “WTF Just Happened?” we discuss the massive hedge fund paper gold short position plus lift our leg the idea that Tesla will be around in two year (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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In the next issue of the Short Seller’s Journal I explain why the housing market is headed south quickly, update my homebuilder short ideas and discuss Tesla. You can learn more about this newsletter here:  Short Seller’s Journal information

In the next issue of the Mining Stock Journal, I dissect the latest COT report and update my favorite junior mining stock ideas, including a couple of interesting silver explorations stocks. You can learn more about this here:   Mining Stock Journal information.