The Phaserl


The Precious Metals Conspiracy

by Keith Weiner, Acting Man:

or at least a few weeks now, we have noticed a growing drumbeat from a growing corps of analysts. Gold is going to thousands of dollars. And silver is going to outperform. Reasons given are myriad. Goldman Sachs apparently said to short gold, so if one assumes that the bank always advises clients to take the other side of its trades — a tricky and dangerous assumption at best — then one should buy gold.

Then there’s the change in ETFs, for example the Sprott Physical Silver Fund has had inflows and Sprott bought more silver. And there’s currency wars, money printing, negative interest rates, etc. Most of these stories are based in fact (well except the belief that Goldman’s research is always wrong).

However, they have little to do with the price of gold. The money supply has grown steadily since 2011 while the prices of gold and silver have not. Hell, the money supply has been growing since forever. And the price of gold has gone up as well as down.

Something tells us that this effort to draw in buyers is concerted. Certainly there has been an 8.4% increase in silver held in trust for SLV. This is the result of relentless buying of SLV shares. When buyers push up the price of SLV relative to the price of silver, that creates an arbitrage opportunity for Authorized Participants.

They buy silver metal, create SLV shares, and sell the newly issued shares. They can do that as much as they want while there’s a profit to do so. But of course this pushes down the price of SLV until it is very close to the price of silver. SLV is somewhere between metal and futures. It can be a speculative play on price, but it’s bought with less leverage and it can also be a long-term holding for many people.

Another sign of increasingly bullish consensus is the discussion last week at Mines and Money in Hong Kong. If everyone agrees that price should go up, then that may indeed occur. The exchange-traded funds are being bought, which further supports a price rally, one that may be a bit more durable than these Yellen announcement rallies.

However, keep one thing in mind. The speculators are trying to front-run the hoarders. Speculators need to sell, to take profits or cut losses. What they can drive up, they can drive down ten times as fast. A durable rally can only occur if there is movement of metal out of carry trades sold to speculators, and into the hands of stackers.

But who knows? Such a rally could in turn spark hoarders to buy and the fundamentals could develop to support it. We keep saying that the price of the dollar will fall far indeed, it’s just that the time hasn’t been ripe yet.

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