Tag Archives: mining stocks

Repo Operations, Money Printing, Gold And Mining Stocks

The Fed is printing money again – this time disguised as “repo operations” instead of “QE.” The price of gold and silver rallied over the summer anticipating an easier monetary policy. The economic problems and financial system excesses are two to three times larger than in 2008. This will necessitate a money printing/QE/balance sheet expansion operation that dwarfs the $4.5 trillion printed the first time around. Plus most of the money printed from 2009 to late 2014 is still in the banking system.

The scale of the inevitable money printing policy will not stimulate economic activity but it will act as rocket fuel for the precious metals market – gold, silver and mining stocks. Ten years of Central Bank money printing has pushed debt issuance, malinvestment, moral hazard and fraud to levels that well-exceed the levels when Lehman collapsed.

Craig “Turd Ferguson” Hemke invited me back onto his “Thursday Conversation” podcast to discuss the the Fed cranking back up its money printing machine and the implications for gold, silver and mining stocks. Click on the link above or the graphic below to listen:

***************

In the latest issue of the Mining Stock Journal, I review several junior mining stocks plus I recommend a larger cap silver/gold/lead/zinc producer that has been sold off irrationally and which will report great earnings in Q3 and Q4 vs the same quarters in 2018.

You can learn more about  Investment Research Dynamics newsletters by following these links (note: a miniumum subscription period beyond the 1st month is not required):  Short Seller’s Journal subscription information   –   Mining Stock Journal subscription information

Fed Delivers More QE “Light” And Gold Responds

On October 4th, as I expected would happen, the Fed announced that it was extending its overnight and term repo operations out to November 26th (the November 12th two-week term repo matures on the 26th).

The Fed added 7 more 2-week  “term repos, ” plus a 6-day “term repo,” with the next three operations upped to $45 billion. It extended the overnight repos until at least November 4th.  Well then, I guess the “end of quarter” temporary liquidity issue with corporate tax payments was not the problem.

Follow the money -The Fed’s repo operation extension further validates the analysis in my last post in which I made the case that an escalation in the non-performance of bank assets (loan delinquencies and defaults and derivatives), caused by contracting economic activity, has created a liquidity void in the banking system that is being “plugged” by the Fed. The Fed’s balance sheet has increased $186 billion since August 28th.

Not only did the Fed end “QT” (balance sheet reduction) two months earlier than originally planned in January, the Fed has effectively reversed in the last 5 weeks all of the QT that occurred since March 28th.

The evolution of Orwellian propaganda terminology for “money printing” has been quite amusing. It seems that the Fed has subtly inserted the phrase “balance sheet growth” into its lexicon. While Jerome Powell referenced “organic balance sheet growth” in his press circus after the last FOMC meeting,  expect that it will be considered politically/socially incorrect to use “QE” or “money printing” instead of “balance sheet growth” in reference to this de facto banking system bailout.

Meanwhile,  thank the Fed for providing the amount of money printing/currency devaluation needed to offset China’s absence from the physical gold market for the last week:

Given the technical set-up in gold plus the enormity of the Comex bank/commercial short position in paper gold, many gold market participants, including me, expected a much bigger price-attack on gold during Golden Week than has occurred. In fact, gold has held up well, with the December future testing and holding $1500 three times in the last week. Business activity in China, including gold and silver trading, resumes tonight.

The Fed’s QE Light program will likely transition into outright permanent money printing before the end of 2019. The November meeting is scheduled for the end of this month (Oct 29-30). But I doubt the Fed will turn its repo money printing into permanent money printing – aka “POMO” or “balance sheet growth” – until the December FOMC meeting (Dec 10-11).

An Unavoidable Global Debt Implosion

“[Whatever] the repo failure involved, it is likely to prove a watershed moment, causing US bankers to more widely consider their exposure to counterparty risk and risky loans, particularly leveraged loans and their collateralised form in CLOs. a new banking crisis is not only in the making, for which the repo problem serves as an early warning, but it could escalate quite rapidly.” Alasdair Macleod, “The Ghost of Failed Bank Returns”

The delinquency and default rate on consumer and corporate debt is rising. This creates funding gaps and cash flow shortfalls at banks. In a fractional banking system, banks only have to put up $1 of reserve for every $9 of money loaned. When the value of the loans declines because of non-performance, it requires capital – cash liquidity – to make up the shortfall in debt service payments received by the banks. In simple terms, the banks are staring at a systemic “margin call.”

To be sure, the current repo funding shortfall may subside. But it will not fix the underlying causes (Deutsche Bank, CLO Trusts, subprime debt, consumer debt, derivatives), which are likely leading up to another round of what happened in 2008 – only worse this time.

Chris Marcus of  Arcadia Economics  invited me to discuss my thoughts on the meaning behind the sudden need for the Fed to inject $10’s of billions into the overnight bank lending system:

***************

You can learn more about  Investment Research Dynamics newsletters by following these links (note: a miniumum subscription period beyond the 1st month is not required):  Short Seller’s Journal subscription information   –   Mining Stock Journal subscription information

Gold, Silver, Mining Stocks: Get Ready For A Huge Ride Higher

Bullion Star released a graph Tuesday that showed Switzerland exported 90 tonnes of gold to the London gold market (U.K.) in July, which dwarfed exports to India and China.  Bloomberg’s spin on the data was that the gold was needed for ETFs.   Of course, as is typical, the Bloomberg “journalist” likely regurgitated “information” that came from a  source rather than fact-check.

But fact-checking shows that the number of tonnes of gold in GLD, by far the largest gold ETF, increased by only 23 tonnes during July from 800 to 823.  Assume the much smaller gold ETFs took in the same amount collectively – an estimate that is more than generous, and ETF gold flow accounts for less than 50% of the gold  exported to London.

Alternatively, a more likely explanation is that large quantities of physical gold are needed on the LBMA to feed an enormous buyer or buyers in London. This would explain what has become routine “V” shape moves in overnight gold futures trading, as the price of gold shrugs off repetitive attempts to push the price lower after Asia closes and LBMA forward and Comex futures trading replaces the physical gold markets in the eastern hemisphere.

This amount of gold imported by the London gold market also reflects the tight supply that has persisted for quite some time. The presence of a large physical buyer(s) would explain the relentless move higher in the price of gold (and silver).

This chart shows the  US-dollar price of the gold/HUI ratio. When I started to look at this sector back in 2001, gold was re-testing $250, which it hit after the Bank of England dumped half of its gold (400 tonnes) onto the market in 1999 (gold hit $253 on July 20, 1999). The HUI index was around 50 when I began to delve into the sector. This chart sourced from The Felder Report, with my edits, shows how cheap the mining stocks are relative to the price gold:

The ratio of the HUI index to gold has ranged from just over 0.6 in 2003 to the 0.10 it hit in December 2015. I predict that if the price of gold moves over $2000, we could see the HUI/gold ratio converge on 1.0. As the price of gold moves above the average cost for a mining company to pull gold out of the ground, every dollar higher the price moves adds a dollar to the income and cash flow of producing mining companies.

While the mining stocks in general have had a strong move since the end of May, “gold fever” and “mining stock fever” have not infected the general investment audience – yet. As an example, over the last two months of 2008, the HUI doubled (150 to 300). Gold was around $800. From mid-January 2016 to mid-August 2016, the GDXJ tripled. Since the end of May, the GDXJ has moved up 46%. An impressive move to be sure but it has long way to move to match the 2016 move in eight months.

The juniors are even cheaper than the producers. This is because, as the price of gold moves higher, value of the gold (or silver) in the ground for juniors with a resource becomes worth even more to potential acquirers, especially juniors who have projects in close proximity to mining companies with operating mines and infrastructure. At some point, larger mining companies will either have to start buying juniors or face being acquired by even bigger mining companies. Assuming the price of gold/silver continues to move higher from here, I believe we’ll start to see a lot more acquisition activity before the end of the year.

Gold / Silver May Be Breaking Free From Manipulation

The price of gold has rejected numerous attempts by the banks to hammer the gold price below $1400 using paper gold derivatives on the Comex and the LBMA. I have not seen gold behave with such resiliency in the last 19 years when the Comex banks have an extremely large short position in Comex paper.

The action in the price of gold is signalling that large buyers are accumulating a lot of physical gold. This is preventing the banks from using the Comex as a manipulative tool. Based on historical preferences, I highly doubt the buying is coming from the hedge funds, who have been content playing in the paper gold sandbox of the Comex.

Per the World Gold Council numbers, which are notoriously understated, Central Banks have purchased 374 tonnes of gold in the first half of 2019. This is the highest level of CB gold purchases in over 50 years. Note that western Central Banks – specifically the Fed, ECB, BoE and BoJ have been notably absent from the buying frenzy. The buying has been led by China, Poland and Russia.

“With governments everywhere itching to increase spending without raising taxes and as the global economy sinks into a trade and credit-cycle induced recession, budget deficits will fuel monetary inflation at a faster pace than seen before. Re-learning that gold is sound money is now the most urgent priority for all those charged with responsibility for other peoples’ investments.”

The quote above is from Alasdair Macleod’s must-read essay titled, “The Reasoning Behind Gold’s Breakout.”  The article dispels the common “Fake news” myths about gold. It would be a great article to read for Warren Buffet, who believes that gold “just sits there doing nothing.” Of course, students of gold and history know that gold has outperformed the Dow since 1971. Macleod revisits the math behind this fact.

If you are looking for mining stock ideas to take advantage of the emerging bull market move in gold and silver, please consider my Mining Stock Journal.  In the latest issue released last night I review a popular silver stock that I believe is overvalued and I present a high risk/high return junior exploration stock that is relatively unknown but has 10x potential. You can learn more about this newsletter here:  Mining Stock Journal information.

Gold, Silver, Mining Stocks Are A Coiled Spring

Currently gold and silver are behaving in a way that I have not seen since late 2008. The gold open interest on the Comex is near a record high (657,776 on July 11, 2016). The Comex banks continue pile into the short side while the hedge funds pile into the long side. However, every attempt to start a “waterfall” type sell-off is met with buying. Several attempts to take gold below $1400 this week have been thwarted. Silver all of sudden started moving higher manically. Based on the data I see daily, India and China are not participating in the buying. At least overtly. It feels like someone “big” is out “there” accumulating gold.

Phil Kennedy of Kennedy Financial put together a roundtable discussion with Bill Murphy, Dave Collum, Rob Kirby and me to discuss our thoughts on the gold market:

***************

You can learn more about  Investment Research Dynamics newsletters by following these links (note: a miniumum subscription period beyond the 1st month is not required):  Short Seller’s Journal subscription information   –   Mining Stock Journal subscription information

Tesla, Gold, Silver And A Historical Stock Bubble

“Tesla’s headed for bankruptcy. It’s got a flawed business model; costs are way too high for the price charged for the vehicles and its riddled with accounting fraud. But the regulators will look the other way until it’s too late.”

Silver Liberties invited me on to its podcast to discuss reality. We spend 35 minutes trying to blow away the Orwellian “smoke” that is engulfing the United States’ economic, political system:

***************

You can learn more about  Investment Research Dynamics newsletters by following these links (note: a miniumum subscription period beyond the 1st month is not required):  Short Seller’s Journal subscription information   –   Mining Stock Journal subscription information

It Looks, Sounds And Smells Like A Gold Bull Market

Gold tends to perform the best when the real rate of interest (interest rates minus the real inflation rate) is negative. For now, the Central Banks have been able to contain the movement of gold in order to prevent the price from doing what it should be doing when interest rates are negative.

With that enormous amount of negative yielding debt globally, and Treasury yields in the U.S. heading south quickly, from a fundamental standpoint there’s a high probability we have started the next big move higher in gold. Silver will eventually “catch up” and begin to outperform gold. That said, get used to a higher level of price volatility in the precious metals sector. Keep a core position but sell rallies and buy sell-offs if you want to trade the volatility. Otherwise, sit tight and be right.

The Prepared Mind invited to its podcast to discuss a wide range of issues from precious metals to geopolitical problems. Here’s Part 2 (click to view Part 1):

**********

You can learn more about  Investment Research Dynamics newsletters by following these links (note: a miniumum subscription period beyond the 1st month is not required):  Short Seller’s Journal subscription information   –   Mining Stock Journal subscription information

Gold: BOOM Goes The Dynamite

After dancing around the $1350 level (August futures basis) the price of gold launched in three stages after the FOMC circus was over on June 19th. The first move enabled gold to break above and hold the $1360 area of resistance that has been referenced ad nauseum for the last three years. Then, two “reverse flash crashes” later on Thursday and Friday that week, gold powered well above $1400 before a “flash crash” at the end of Friday’s trading pushed gold back below $1400 for the weekend. On Monday afternoon (June 24th) gold broke free from  the shackles of official price containment and sustained a move over $1400 and ran up to $1440.

As I expected, a combination of profit-taking by the hedge funds chasing momentum higher with paper gold and official efforts to push the price of gold lower triggered a sell-off that tested $1400 successfully. Gold closed out the week (August futures basis) at $1412.

While I was expecting a move like this at some point in response to the Fed reimplementing loose monetary policy, I thought that it wouldn’t happen until the Fed signaled that it would begin printing money again. It’s not clear to me if this move is being fueled by fundamentals and a flight to safety or if it’s hedge fund algos chasing price momentum. It’s likely a combination of both.

Independent of any economic disruption that may or may not be caused by the trade war, economic activity globally is deteriorating rapidly. Every country around the world recklessly printed money and piled up debt which artificially revived economic activity after the 2008 de facto systemic collapse. Mathematically the world can’t print money and issue debt ad infinitum. We may have hit the wall in that regard over the last 12 months. The trade war is being used as a convenient scapegoat. It’s like blaming the start of World War I on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand…

I believe there’s no question that highly negative events are unfolding “behind the scenes” which are sucking liquidity out of the system. I believe these events will emerge in plain sight well before year-end. The yield curve inversions (Treasury, Eurodollar futures) are telling us there’s hidden explosives detonating that have been contained for now. I have no doubt that the troubles are connected to primarily to Deutsche Bank but also stem from the early stages of a subprime debt problem. The “secret” meeting held a couple weeks ago by Mnuchin and the Financial Stability Oversight Council concerning “alarms” in the junk bond market was a tell-tale as was the “bad bank” plan announced by Deutsche Bank, which was curiously devoid of any details on how it would be funded or what would go into it.

The systemic problems and geopolitical animosities percolating behind “the curtain” are not lost on those with an inside view of the action. I expect an aggressive attack on the gold price next week. The Fourth of July observance falls on Thursday, which means most Wall Street trading desks will be lightly staffed most of the week. Low-volume holiday periods are the favorite time for the bullion banks to stage a raid on gold. The success of this raid is crucial to maintaining the illusion that obvious systemic problems are manageable.

Any attempt to push the price of gold lower will be helped by the fact that official gold imports into India have stopped while the Indian public digests the recent surge in the price of gold. This is typical behavior by India after a sharp move higher in gold. Smuggling to avoid the import duty likely continues unabated. But the removal of India’s official bid from the physical gold market is a window of opportunity for the western gold price managers to make an effort to push bold back below $1400 using paper.

If any attempt to  manipulate gold back below $1400 fails in the next week or two, it means that unhealthy quantities of brown fecal matter are connecting with the fan blades – out of sight for now except for the signal coming from the gold.

Any sustained move higher in gold and silver will ignite a fire below the mining stocks, especially the historically undervalued juniors. My Mining Stock Journal covers several mining stocks that I believe are extraordinarily undervalued relative to their upside potential. I also present opportunistic recommendations on select mid-tier and large-cap miners that should outperform their peers. In response to subscriber requests, in the next issue released this upcoming week I’ll present an initial opinion on Great Bear Resources. You can learn more about this newsletter here:   Mining Stock Journal information.

Gold Is Going Higher – But Brace Yourself For Volatility

Short of a raid orchestrated by the central planners to fasten tighter the cap on gold (which remains a real possibility given the historical record), the yellow metal shouldn’t encounter much price resistance until above $1,500/oz.  – Adam Taggart, Peak Prosperity

I agree with the statement above from Adam Taggart but an aggressive price attack by the banks who operate the Comex is inevitable.  In fact, based on the big jump in gold contract open interest and the spike up in EFP/PNT transactions – Privately Negotiated Transactions /Exchange for Physicals – it’s likely the banks have been setting the trap for another massive open interest liquidation price control operation.

Let me explain.  The banks are unconstrained by the amount of paper contracts they print and feed into the market to supply the demand from the hedge funds, who are the primary buyers. By unconstrained, I mean that the amount of gold represented by paper derivative open interest is far greater than the amount of actual physical gold held in Comex vaults.  Gold and silver are the ONLY commodity contract products for which this disparity between open interest and underlying supply of the physical commodity is allowed to occur.

As an aside, if the Comex were a true price discovery market, the amount of gold/silver represented by the paper contracts would be tied closely to the amount of gold held in Comex vaults.  When hedge funds rush in to buy futures, the market makers would then be required to wait until an entity holding contracts was willing to sell. This is how a bona fide price discovery market functions using price to clear the market’s supply and demand.

Instead, with CME gold and silver contracts, the banks print up new paper contracts to satiate buying demand.

Last week when the price of gold began to spike higher in response the FOMC policy statement released on Wednesday, the price of gold began soar.  Between Wednesday and Friday, the open interest in gold contracts spiked up by over 50,000 contracts – nearly 10%. This amount of paper represents over 5 million ozs of gold. As of Friday, the Comex warehouse report shows just 322,910 ozs of gold available for delivery (“registered”) and 7.6 million total ozs of gold. But the total open interest is 572,000 contracts, or 57.2 million ozs of gold, nearly 8x the amount of total gold held in Comex vaults.

But wait, there’s more.  During periods of aggressive price control, the activity of PNT/EFP’s also soars.  These transactions avoid settlement in 100 oz Comex bars per basic contract terms. Instead, it’s way for the banks to “deliver” under the terms of the Comex contract without producing and delivering the actual physical bar, recording the serial number on the bar under the receiving party’s name and moving the bar into an allocated account. It’s an extension of the fractional bullion system that is used to manipulate the gold price. It allows the banks to deliver phantom gold in lieu of delivering real bars.

On Tuesday the PNT/EFP volume was 8k and 5.9k respectively. On Wednesday the volume was 11.5k and 9.1k. On Thursday, when gold was soaring over $1400, the volume in PNT/EFP’s was  30k and 22k respectively.  On Friday the volume was 21k and 11.3.

On average, the daily volume of these two transactions is typically under 10k – except when the banks are aggressively implementing price management operations.

The banks use these transactions, along with feeding tens of thousands of newly printed gold contracts to the hedge funds. This drives up the open interest.  On Friday, May 31st, the open interest in Comex gold was 465k contracts.  The current open interest of 572k is approaching the level at which the price of gold was attacked on the Comex in each of the last three years.

The process is set up by letting the hedge fund algos chase the price higher and accumulate an excessively large net long position in gold contracts,  At the same time, the banks feed contracts into the buying frenzy and accumulate an offsetting net short position.  As the operation cycles through, the banks force the price lower by attacking the stop-loss levels set by the hedge funds as they chase the price higher.  The banks use the concomitant hedge fund selling to cover their shorts, thereby reaping enormous profits.

In September 2016, gold ran higher during the summer and the open interest had reached close to 600k. The price gold was dropped from $1200 to $1070.  In September 2017, the gold contract o/i reached over 580k and gold subsequently was taken down from the high $1300’s to $1125.  Then, in January 2018, the open interest once again was over 580k contract and the gold price was taken down from $1350 to $1200.

In all three price control cycles, the open interest fell below 500k as the banks unloaded long positions and the banks covered their shorts.

This is a long-winded way of explaining why I believe that sometime in the next 10 trading days  the market should expect an aggressive attempt by the banks to attack the gold price on the Comex – and to some degree on the LBMA.  We’ll know I’m right if we get a series of “fishing line” price drops sometime between now and the July 4th holiday. Fridays and pre-holiday trading days, when volume is light, is a favorite time for the banks to begin taking down the gold price.

The good news is, if you follow the sequence I described above from 2016 to now, the price of gold is establishing a series of higher highs and higher lows.  This tells us that the western Central Bank/bullion bank effort to control the price of gold is limited in its success.  This is likely because of immense demand from eastern hemisphere buyers (Central Banks, investors, citizens) who require actual physical delivery.

Furthermore, if I’m wrong about an imminent price attack to take the price of gold lower, it means that the Central Banks/bullion banks have lost control of the market – at least for the time being – and the market is experiencing Bill “Midas” Murphy’s “commercial signal failure.”  If this turns out to be the case, and it is ultimately an inevitability, strap in for some fun if you own physical gold, silver and mining stocks.