Tag Archives: Fed

Is the Federal Reserve losing control of the gold price?

For the majority of the last 20 years, the western Central Banks, under the direction of the BIS, have been able to use the precious metals derivatives markets to “manage” the price of gold.  As long as counterparties who are “synthetically” long gold and silver are willing to settle the derivatives trade in cash or ETF shares, gold derivatives can be created in infinite quantities and used to keep a lid on the price of gold.

But since late spring, it seems that the attempts to use the paper gold and silver markets on the Comex and LBMA to drive the price lower have been met with aggressive buying.  For now the only explanation is that a large buyer  (or maybe several) may be accumulating physical gold/silver, which is preventing the price managers from indiscriminately printing and flooding the market with paper derivative contracts to drive the price down.  The tail may no longer be wagging the dog.

My friend and colleague, Paul Craig Roberts wrote this commentary about the possibility that the physical gold market is taking away:

After years of being kept in the doldrums by orchestrated short selling described on this website by Roberts and Kranzler, gold has lately moved up sharply reaching $1,510 this morning. The gold price has continued to rise despite the continuing practice of dumping large volumes of naked contracts in the futures market. The gold price is driven down but quickly recovers and moves on up. I haven’t an explanation at this time for the new force that is more powerful than the short-selling that has been used to control the price of gold.

You can read the rest of PCR’s analysis here:  Is The Fed Losing Control Of Gold

Gold And Silver May Be Setting Up For A Big Move

The price of gold soared over $13 Monday as flight-to-safety money flowed into the precious metals sector while the stock market went into a downward spiral. I see Monday’s market action as a preview of what’s in store going forward as price discovery once again engulfs the stock market and causes the most extreme stock bubble in U.S. history to deflate.

Despite the fact that it seems to be taking forever for gold and silver to enter into a prolonged move higher, the chart below should offer encouragement.

Gold, silver and mining stocks are deeply oversold technically. It’s  obvious that the western Central Banks are throwing everything they can at the gold price via the paper derivative gold markets in London and NYC in an attempt to prevent a massive move higher.  The data for gold and silver futures on the Comex show that the banks are working hard to stunt any rally by unloading loads of paper gold on the market.

This effort is rewarding the large physical gold importing countries in the east. India’s net import of gold jumped by 27 per cent to 192.4 tonnes in the first quarter of calendar year 2019 from 151 tonnes in the same period last year. In April India unofficially imported 121 tonnes of gold, up significantly from April 2018. The increase in import activity is attributable to the lower gold price. Note that the official statistics do not include smuggled gold, which is thought to average around 25 tonnes per month. China also has stepped up its gold buying over the last several weeks.

At some point the Fed is going to be forced by the market to cut the Fed Funds rate, as the 1yr Treasury is now yielding less that the Fed Funds target rate. In addition, the yield curve is inverted from 1yr out to 7yrs, with a steep inversion between the 1yr and 3yr Treasurys. It won’t take much flinching from the Fed to ignite a rally in the metals. In addition, the investor sentiment as measured by MarketVane is about as low as I’ve seen it in a long time (34% bullish for both gold and silver).

Despite the 600 pt sell-off in the Dow today, complacency persists, along with an expectation that the Fed will continue to support wanton speculation in the stock market.  But the inverted yield curve, combined with an effective Fed Funds rate that is above the interest rate used to calculate the quantity of free money given by the Fed to the banks on excess reserves, is strong evidence that the Fed is losing its ability to control the financial markets.  At some point the Fed and its western Central Bank collaborators, led by the BIS, will also lose control of the gold price.

The U.S. Economy Is In Big Trouble

“You’ve really seen the limits of monetary and fiscal policy in its ability to extend out a long boom period.” – Josh Friedman, Co-Chairman of Canyon Partners (a “deep value,” credit-driven hedge fund)

The Fed’s abrupt policy reversal says it all. No more rate hikes (yes, one is “scheduled” for 2020 but that’s fake news) and the balance sheet run-off is being “tapered” but will stop in September. Do not be surprised if it ends sooner. Listening to Powell explain the decision or reading the statement released is a waste of time. The truth is reflected in the deed. The motive is an attempt to prevent the onset economic and financial chaos. It’s really as simple as that. See Occam’s Razor if you need an explanation.

As the market began to sell-off in March, the Fed’s FOMC foot soldiers began to discuss further easing of monetary policy and hinted at the possibility, if necessary, of introducing “radical” monetary policies. This references Bernanke’s speech ahead of the roll-out QE1. Before QE1 was implemented, Bernanke said that it was meant to be a temporary solution to an extreme crisis. Eight-and-a-half years and $4.5 trillion later, the Fed is going to end its balance sheet reduction program after little more than a 10% reversal of QE and it’s hinting at re-starting QE. Make no mistake, the 60 Minutes propaganda hit-job was a thinly veiled effort to prop up the stock market and instill confidence in the Fed’s policies.

Economic data is showing further negative divergence from the rally in the stock market. The Census Bureau finally released January new home sales, which showed a 6.9% drop from December. Remember, the data behind the report is seasonally adjusted and converted to an annualized rate. This theoretically removes the seasonal effects of lower home sales in December and January. The Census Bureau (questionably) revised December’s sales up to 652k SAAR from 621k SAAR. But January’s SAAR was still 2.3% below the original number reported. New home sales are tanking despite the fact that median sales price was 3.7% below January 2018 and inventory soared 18%.

LGI Homes reported that in January it deliveries declined year-over-year (and sequentially) and Toll Brothers reported a shocking 24% in new orders. None of the homebuilders are willing to give forward guidance.  LGI’s average sale price is well below $200k, so “affordability” and “supply” are not the problem (it’s the economy, stupid).

The upward revision to December’s new home sales report is questionable because it does not fit the mortgage purchase application data as reported in December. New homes sales are recorded when a contract is signed. 90% of all new construction homes are purchased with a mortgage. If purchase applications are dropping, it is 99% certain that new home sales are dropping. With the November number revised down 599k, and mortgage purchase applications falling almost every week in December, it’s 99% likely that new home sales at best were flat from November to December. In other words, the original Census Bureau guesstimate was probably closer to the truth.

The chart to the right shows the year-over-year change in the number of new homes (yr/yr change in the number of units as estimated by the Census Bureau) sold for each month. I added the downward sloping trend channel to help illustrate the general decline in new home sales. As you can see, the trend began declining in early 2015.

Recall that it was in January 2015 that Fannie Mae and Feddie Mac began reducing the qualification requirements for Government-backed “conforming” mortgages, starting with reducing the down payment requirement from 5% to 3%. For the next three years, the Government continued to lower this bar to expand the pool of potential homebuyers and reduce the monthly payment burden. This was on top of the Fed artificially taking interest rates down to all-time lows. In other words, the powers that be connected to the housing market and the policy-makers at the Fed and the Government knew that the housing market was growing weak and have gone to great lengths in an attempt to defer a housing market disaster. Short of making 0% down payments a standard feature of Government-guaranteed mortgage programs, I’m not sure what else can be done help put homebuyers into homes they can’t afford.

I do expect, at the very least, that we might see a “statistical” bounce in the numbers to show up over the couple of existing and new home sale reports (starting with February’s numbers). Both the NAR and the Government will likely “stretch” seasonal adjustments imposed on the data to squeeze out reports which show gains plus it looks like purchase mortgage applications may have bounced a bit in February and March, though the data was “choppy” (i.e. positive one week and negative the next).

E-commerce sales for Q4 reported last week showed a 2% annualized growth rate, down from 2.6% in Q3. Q3 was revised lower from the 3.1% originally reported. This partially explains why South Korea’s exports were down 19.1% last month, German industrial production was down 3.3%, China auto sales tanked 15% and Japan’s tool orders plummeted 29.3%. The global economy is at its weakest since the financial crisis.

It would be a mistake to believe that the U.S. is not contributing to this. The Empire State manufacturing survey index fell to 3.7 in March from 8.8 in February. Wall Street’s finest were looking for an index reading of 10. New orders are their weakest since May 2017. Like the Philly Fed survey index, this index has been in general downtrend since mid-2017. The downward slope of the trendline steepened starting around June 2018. Industrial production for February was said to have nudged up 0.1% from January. But this was attributable to a weather-related boost for utilities. The manufacturing index fell 0.4%. Wall Street was thinking both indices would rise 0.4%. Oops.

The economy is over-leveraged with debt at every level to an extreme and the Fed knows it. Economic activity is beginning  to head off of a cliff. The Fed knows that too. The Fed has access to much more in-depth, thorough and accurate data than is made available to the public. While it’s not obvious from its public posture, the Fed knows the system is in trouble. The Fed’s abrupt policy reversal is an act of admission. I would say the odds that the Fed starts printing money again before the end of 2019 is better than 50/50 now. The “smartest” money is moving quickly into cash. Corporate insiders are unloading shares at a record pace. It’s better to look stupid now than to be one a bagholder later.

It’s Lose-Lose For The Fed And For Everyone

A friend asked me today what I thought Powell should do.  I said, “the system is screwed. It ultimately doesn’t matter what anyone does.   The money printing, credit creation and artificially low interest rates over the last 10 years has fueled the most egregious misallocation of capital in history of the universe.”

Eventually the Fed/Central Banks will print trillions more – 10x more than the last time around. If they don’t this thing collapses. It won’t matter if interest rates are zero or 10%. You can’t force economic activity if there’s no demand and you’ve devalued the currency by printing it until its worth next to nothing and people are toting around piles of cash in a wheelbarrow worth more than the mountain of $100 bills inside the wheelbarrow.

The price of oil is down another $3.50 today to $46.50. That reflects a global economy that is cratering, including and especially in the U.S. Most people will listen to the perma-bullish Wall Streeters, money managers and meat-with-mouths on bubblevision preach “hope.”

Anyone who can remove their retirement funds from their 401k or IRA and doesn’t is an idiot. Anyone thinking about selling their home but is waiting for the market to “climb out of this small valley in the market” will regret not selling now.

Forget Powell. What can you do? There is no asset that stands on equal footing with gold. You either own it or you do not.

“You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the government. And, with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.” – George Bernard Shaw

Powell Just Signaled That The Next Crisis Is Here

Housing and auto sales appear to have hit a wall over the last 8-12 weeks.  To be sure, online holiday sales jumped significantly year over year, but brick-n-mortar sales were flat. The problem there:  e-commerce is only about 10% of total retail sales.  We won’t know until January how retail sales fared this holiday season.  I know that, away from Wall Street carnival barkers, the retail industry is braced for disappointing holiday sales this year.

A subscriber asked my opinion on how and when a stock market collapse might play out. Here’s my response: “With the degree to which Central Banks now intervene in the markets, it’s very difficult if not impossible to make timing predictions. I would argue that, on a real inflation-adjusted GDP basis, the economy never recovered from 2008. I’m not alone in that assessment. A global economic decline likely started in 2008 but has been covered up by the extreme amount of money printed and credit created.

It’s really more of a question of when will the markets reflect or catch up to the underlying real fundamentals? We’re seeing the reality reflected in the extreme divergence in wealth and income between the upper 1% and the rest. In fact, the median middle class household has gone backwards economically since 2008. That fact is reflected in the decline of real average wages and the record level of household debt taken on in order for these households to pretend like they are at least been running place.”

The steep drop in housing and auto sales are signaling that the average household is up to its eyeballs in debt. Auto and credit card delinquency rates are starting to climb rapidly. Subprime auto debt delinquencies rates now exceed the delinquency rates in 2008/2009.

The Truth is in the details – Despite the large number of jobs supposedly created in October and YTD, the wage withholding data published by the Treasury does not support the number of new jobs as claimed by the Government. YTD wage-earner tax withholding has increased only 0.1% from 2017. This number is what it is. It would be difficult to manipulate. Despite the Trump tax cut, which really provided just a marginal benefit to wage-earners and thus only a slight negative effect on wage-earner tax withholding, the 0.1% increase is well below what should have been the growth rate in wage withholding given the alleged growth in wages and jobs. Also, most of the alleged jobs created in October were the product of the highly questionable “birth/death model” used to estimate the number of businesses opened and closed during the month. The point here is that true unemployment, notwithstanding the Labor Force Participation Rate, is much higher than the Government would like us to believe.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled today that the well-telegraphed December rate hike is likely the last in this cycle of rate-hikes, though he intimates the possibility of one hike in 2019. More likely, by the time the first FOMC meeting rolls around in 2019, the economy will be in a tail-spin, with debt and derivative bombs detonating. And it’s a good bet Trump will be looking to sign an Executive Order abolishing the Fed and giving the Treasury the authority to print money. The $3.3 billion pension bailout proposal circulating Congress will morph into $30 billion and then $300 billion proposal. 2008 redux. If you’re long the stock market, enjoy this short-squeeze bounce while it lasts…

Trump’s Fed Comments Sends Gold Soaring

Last week Donald Trump broke the theoretical “Chinese Wall” that is supposed to exist between the Government and the Fed when he offered a stunning rebuke of the Fed’s current policy to continue raising interest rates. Though, it’s really more like “nudging” rates up at a snail’s pace.

Gold shot-up in price immediately after Trump’s ill-advised comments recorded on CNBC it the tape, more than offsetting a vicious sell-off in the gold price that occurred in the paper derivative gold markets in London and New York.

The Office of Management and Budget further revised higher its Federal spending deficit forecast for FY 2018.  The original forecast was under $500 billion.  The latest forecast is nearly $900 billion.  Without a doubt, we believe the spending deficit will top $1 trillion this year.

The point of this is that Trump’s remarks were likely directed at pushing the dollar lower as part of the escalating trade war.  That, combined with a Government budget that will soon spiral out of control – and thereby necessitate a flood of new Treasury issuance – will likely force the Fed to reverse course on its monetary policy which in turn will send gold soaring in price.  We explain why on the latest episode of, WTF Just Happened (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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The explosive questions the gold riggers won’t answer-and the press won’t ask

Over the years, I’ve asked several skeptics of the idea that Central Banks and Governments, using the bullion banks as their agents, manipulate the gold price this question:   The Big Banks have been convicted and fined numerous times for manipulating interest rate and currency markets.  Is it realistically conceivable given this fact that they would leave the gold market alone?  The question, of course, is rhetorical and I’ve yet to receive an answer.

The answer is obvious to anyone who has looked at the facts.  I have written several articles with Paul Craig Roberts detailing how the manipulation is executed on the Comex and the motivation behind the manipulating the gold market.  Remarkably, there are public notes of a meeting chaired by Henry Kissinger in 1974  that discusses the importance of removing gold completely from the monetary system which is conveniently ignored.

The following is a re-post of an article posted by GATA’s Chris Powell. Even if you have your had in the sand and refuse to believe that Central Banks and Governments manipulate the global gold market using paper gold derivatives, at least brush the sand out of your eyes and read this carefully:

How easy it would be for any major financial news organization or trade association to confirm, expose, and combat the rigging of the gold market by governments and central banks. Such an effort could start with the documentation, most of it from official sources, collected by GATA and compiled here: Taxonomy

Everything could be nailed down to the present moment by a few specific questions put to the key participants in the rigging. These questions already have been prepared and posed, just not publicized enough.

— Three months ago U.S. Rep. Alex X. Mooney, R-West Virginia, wrote to the secretary of the treasury and the chairman of the Federal Reserve asking what the U.S. government’s policy on gold is and whether it remains, as government records from years ago establish, to drive the monetary metal out of the world financial system. Mooney also asked whether the U.S. government, directly or through intermediaries, like the Bank for International Settlements, trades in gold and gold derivatives and what the purposes of any such transactions are. Mooney’s letter is posted at GATA’s internet site here: Mooney Letter

Mooney has received no response.

– Last November GATA put similar questions to the BIS. What, GATA asked, is the purpose of the gold swaps and derivatives purchased and sold by the bank and the purpose of the bank’s involvement in the gold market generally?

The bank replied promptly but only to say it would not answer the question: BIS Letter

— Five weeks ago your secretary/treasurer and GATA consultant Harvey Organ wrote to the comptroller of the currency in the Treasury Department, Joseph M. Otting, whose office regulates the banking industry, calling attention to the recent explosion in use of the emergency procedure of “exchange for physicals” to settle gold and silver contracts issued on the New York Commodities Exchange by government-regulated banks. The financial risks undertaken by the banks in these transactions, GATA wrote, apparently were not being reported to the comptroller.

GATA’s letter concluded: “Could you review this matter and let us know your conclusions?” The comptroller has not responded.

Please click here to read the rest – it’s worth the time spent:   Unanswered Questions About Official Gold-Rigging

How Long Can Fed Keep The Stock Market Propped Up?

Is the Stock Market Rigged?

Paul Craig Roberts, Dave Kranzler, and Michael Hudson

On February 6 PCR asked if the Plunge Protection Team had stepped in and prevented a stock market correction by purchasing equity index futures. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/another-arrested-equity-correction-paul-craig-roberts/ Sure enough, the daily exchange volume chart shows an increase in futures activity on February 2 with sharp increases on Feb. 5th and 6th. Those are the days when the stock market averages were experiencing large point drops. So, ask yourself, would you purchase equity futures while experiencing cumultive stock market drops? One can understand shorting a dropping market, but not buying futures.

Unless this is what happened. Seeing the beginning of a correction, the Plunge Protection Team placed a futures bid just below the existing price. Traders saw the bid, recognized that the government was intervening to support the market, and the bid was front-run with the hedge fund algorithms automatically picking up the action.

Who but the Federal Reserve with its unlimited ability to create money would take the risk of buying futures in the face of a falling market. Moreover, such an infusion of money into the market does not show up in the money supply figures.

The futures purchases prevented margin calls and stop/loss orders in a heavily leveraged equity market that would have collapsed the market.

What are the pros and cons of this kind of intervention (which might have occurred also in May 2010 and August 2015)? By stopping a correction, the intervention prevented a pension fund collapse, both private and state. However, by propping up over-valued equities that the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing created, the intervention rewarded over-leveraged speculative risk-taking and prevented price discovery. We still have an equity market whose values rest on record margin debt, stock buy-backs, and prices pumped up by money-printing. The problems waiting to come home continue to build.

The question is: can intervention prop-up over-valued, problem-ridden markets forever?

After today’s drop, we will see what happens tomorrow.

GATA: Those Who Deny Gold / Silver Manipulation Won’t Answer Basic Questions

IRD Note:  For nearly two decades, GATA has seized on Frank Veneroso’s original research which provided first-hand evidence that Central Banks were actively operating to suppress the gold and has presented direct evidence of precious metals manipulation.  Beyond this, there are public admissions from Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan acknowledging this fact.   Unfortunately, those who deny that gold/silver are manipulated have never offered any response to the direct proof that Central Banks intervene directly in gold trading.  The article below presenting just the facts was published by GATA.

Newsletter writer Steve Saville of The Speculative Investor, who long has denied that manipulation of the monetary metals markets means much, has seized on the recent essay by Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals as the conclusive refutation of silver market analyst Ted Butler’s longstanding complaint that JPMorganChase has been rigging the silver market.

Weiner’s analysis, headlined “Thoughtful Disagreement with Ted Butler” and posted here – LINK – argued that JPMorganChase is undertaking only ordinary arbitrage in the silver market, exploiting spreads between bid and ask prices.

Saville, in commentary headlined “A Silver Price-Suppression Theory Gets Debunked” – LINK – cheers Weiner’s essay and goes on to remark: “Entering a debate with someone who is incapable of being swayed by evidence that invalidates his position is a waste of time and energy, so these days I devote no commentary space and minimal blog space to debunking the manipulation-centric gold and silver articles that regularly appear.”

But when has Saville himself ever addressed evidence of manipulation of the gold and silver markets? Of course if he declines to address the evidence, he too can’t be swayed by it. The manipulation deniers never address the evidence. [IRD note: this is similar to Hilary Clinton never denying the allegations of corruption – instead she deflected the issue using the scare tactic of blaming the Russians for making the evidence public]

Weiner’s technical analysis is no refutation of silver market manipulation, for even if JPMorganChase is just doing arbitrage in silver, a judgment on manipulation would require knowing for whom the investment house was doing the arbitrage. JPMorganChase’s former chief of commodity operations, Blythe Masters, said on CNBC five years ago that the investment house had no position of its own in silver and was trading only for clients:  LINK

So might those clients include governments and central banks, entities with nearly infinite resources sufficient to nullify markets?
The question is compelling because filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission by CME Group, operator of the major futures exchanges in the United States, assert that governments and central banks are clients of the exchanges and that the exchanges give them special volume trading discounts for trading all futures contracts, not just financial futures contracts: HERE and HERE

Do Weiner and Saville know that JPMorganChase is not trading silver futures for governments and central banks? Do Weiner and Saville know that governments and central banks are not trading gold and gold derivatives surreptitiously? If Weiner and Saville think they know, they’re wrong, for the Bank for International Settlements admits that it operates as a broker in gold and gold derivatives for its member central banks: BIS admission

Indeed, in 2005 the director of the BIS’ monetary and economic department, William R. White, told a conference at BIS headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, that a primary purpose of international central bank cooperation is “the provision of international credits and joint efforts to influence asset prices (especially gold and foreign exchange) in circumstances where this might be thought useful“: LINK

The BIS even advertises that its services to its member central banks include surreptitious interventions in the gold market: LINK

Anyone who wants to engage in honest argument about gold and silver market manipulation needs to address a few simple questions:

1) Are governments and central banks active in the monetary metals markets or not?
2) Are the documents asserting such activity genuine or forgeries?
3) If governments and central banks are active in the monetary metals markets, is it just for fun or is it for policy purposes?
4) If such activity by governments and central banks is for policy purposes, do those purposes involve the traditional objectives of defeating an independent world currency that competes with government currencies and interferes with government control of interest rates, objectives documented at length by GATA here?: LINK

Of course if largely surreptitious intervention in the monetary metals markets by central banks and governments is ever acknowledged, technical analysis of those markets is meaningless, which may explain why technical analysts like Weiner and Saville avoid the crucial questions and just sneer at those who raise them.

A Gift From The Fed – AMZN

Don’t worry about the price difference it is already a incredible bargain so $5 is insignificant.  Besides I made $600 on a $1,060 investment selling a BZH call a few weeks ago. On Monday morning I closed a Put option on AMZN that tripled my $1,306 investment in 4 days.  Both of these are because I read your reports on these companies. 

You have a good website with quality info especially during these crazy times.  Thanks for the info.  –  research report testimonial

Note:  AMZN has already faded 9 points off its high of the day while the SPX has “powered” to highs of the day.

The Plunge Protection Team has given us a gift.  Many of you who read my research report have sent me emails about making a lot of money shorting AMZN and buying puts based on my Amazon dot Con report.  I responded by suggesting, especially the put buyers, to take some profits and roll them into further out and lower-strike puts.

Notwithstanding today’s bogus GDP revision in which the Government’s mathematically-challenged statisticians are attributing an increase in “economic wealth” to a massive build-up in auto, housing and electronics inventory that will go largely unsold, this bounce in the stock market is absolute gift to anyone looking to capitalize on stocks, like AMZN, that are more overvalued than at anytime in history.

Here’s my “swing trade” call on AMZN – click to enlarge:

Untitled You can purchase the research report that goes with this chart here:

AMAZON dot CON

When someone presents you with a “gift horse,” it’s a mistake to examine its teeth.