Dec 22

Commodity Index Bloomberg

- Bloomberg’s Commodity Index Drops To Lowest Since 2009: What Does It Mean? (ZeroHedge, Dec 22, 2014):

Moments ago we learned that for all talk of a commodity “bottom”, the “energetic” dead cat has resumed its inverse bounce. To wit:

  • BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEX EXTENDS DROP TO LOWEST SINCE 2009

So what does that mean? The answer: it all depends on whose narrative one chooses to believe and/or which narrative the US Ministry of truth is promoting on any given day in order to boost confidence.

The main plotline now is simple: plunging commodity prices (just don’t call them deflation, “negative inflation” is much better) are a huge tax cut on the US consumer the pundits will have you know. And why not: so simple a Jonahtan Gruber could have come up with it.

The only problem is that you learn all this from the same pundits who told you just a few months ago, that soaring commodity prices are great for the economy, for jobs, and, drumroll, for the consumer. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

Gold-Vault

- Commodity Trading Giant Exits Physical Gold Due To “Lack Of Physical With A Documented Origin” (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):

Back in March, otherwise very under-the-radar Swiss commodities trading giant Gunvor and the fifth largest oil trader in the world, made headlines in the press when one of its then-Russian owners, billionaire Gennady Timchenko (estimated net worth of $8.5 billion), sold his entire 44% stake in the company to his partner in the firm, Torbjorn Tonqvist, just a day before the US revealed its first round of sanctions against individuals affiliated with the Putin regime. Timchenko was among them. As a result of the sale, however, Gunvor avoided falling on the US sanctions list and a Treasury official said that “Gunvor Group Ltd. isn’t subject to automatic blocking from dealing with U.S. persons under Russian sanctions because co-founder Gennady Timchenko owns less than 50 percent of the company.”

Since then the Geneva-based company rarely appeared in the media which is how the nondescript company lliked it. Until last week, that is, when Bloomberg reported that the company was giving up trading physical precious metals, read gold, less than a year after the commodity house started a business dedicated to buying and selling gold. Gunvor is, or rather was, one of the few large commodity firms that handles precious metals. The move into gold was part of an expansion into non-oil businesses that now include iron ore, industrial metals and natural gas. Gold trading was done by a handful of people in Singapore and Geneva.

Gunvor’s move away from physical commodities trading in itself is not surprising: recall that first it was Germany banking titan Deutsche Bank which announced it would no longer trade physical precious metals last month. Continue reading »

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Dec 11

- The silent crash in commodities—a warning sign (CNBC, Dec 9, 2014):

If the commodity markets were followed as widely as the stock market, the financial world would be buzzing with the news of a crash that has taken place in the value of “stuff.”

While the plunging prices of oil, natural gas and gasoline are making headlines every day, thanks to the benefits accruing to consumers of energy products, the message of the commodity markets, in many ways, is hardly a reassuring one when it comes to the outlook for global economic growth. Continue reading »

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Nov 06

- Global Commodity Prices Are Collapsing At The Fastest Pace Since Lehman (Zerohedge, Nov 5, 2014):

Nothing to see here, move along…

We are sure it’s nothing to worry about, and in now way indicative of any global aggregate economic weakness, but global commodity prices (that would be the ‘stuff’ that is used to make the ‘stuff’ we all buy every day) are collapsing at the fastest rate since Lehman…

Global Commodity Prices Are Collapsing At The Fastest Pace Since Lehman

Of course, it’s all about over-supply, not under-demand… just like the Baltic Dry was not low because of shitty trade volumes but because of too many ships… but it’s just the other side of an uncomfortably real mal-investment-driven fiasco…

As the chart below shows… maybe it is the economy stupid and with US GDP expectations being ratcheted down after construction spending and trade deficit data, maybe the US is not decoupling after all. Continue reading »

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Jul 02

- Gold & Silver Hit Multi-Month Highs As ETF Inflows Surge Most In 21 Months (ZeroHedge, July 2, 2014):

The last 2 days have seen something ‘odd’ happen in gold markets. As the China commodity finance deals are unwound and massive futures positions squeezed, Gold ETFs have seen the biggest inflows since September 2012 (and are their highest in 2 months). Whether this is the start of trend is unclear (as perhaps the conspiracy ‘fact’ proof of manipulation and rigging in the gold markets stalled the hollowing out of the gold complex). Ironic that this considerable rise should occur shortly after rumors of Germany’s end to repatriation calls. Gold (and silver) has broken out once again this morning after the early dump on ADP ‘good’ news is well bid to 3-month highs.

20140702_gold

Bloomberg has some color from analysts… Continue reading »

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May 14

Gold fix teaser_0

From Rothschild To Koch Industries: Meet The People Who “Fix” The Price Of Gold (ZeroHedge, May 14, 2014):

Earlier today many were stunned when the historic, 117-year old, London Silver Fix announced that in three months it would no longer exist. However, silver is only one half of the world’s two best known precious metals. Which is why we decided to take a long, hard look at that other fix: gold.

The reason for this particular inquiry is because in the aftermath of the rapid and dramatic departure of the world’s largest bank by outstanding notional derivatives, and Europe’s biggest bank by any metric, Deutsche Bank, from the precious metal fix, something felt out of place: almost as if the participants of the “fixing” process which for so many years took place in the office of none other than Rothschild on St. Swithin’s Lane in London, were suddenly scrambling to disappear without a trace.

In conducting our research we hope to not only memorialize just who are these particular individuals who “fix” gold using nothing but publicly available information of course – because after all it is not as if they have anything to hide or fear – but to connect some of the very peculiar dots behind the scenes of what to some, is the original, and most manipulated market in history – that of gold. Continue reading »

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May 14

silver-coins

- The Beginning Of The End Of Precious Metals Manipulation: The London Silver Fix Is Officially Dead (ZeroHedge, May 13, 2014):

Following a crackdown on precious metal manipulation by various European regulators (mostly Germany’s BaFin, recall “Precious Metals Manipulation Worse Than Libor Scandal, German Regulator Says“), which led to the shocking outcome that Deutsche Bank would pull out of the London gold and silver fixing committees, the London Silver Market Fixing company ended up with a most curious outcome: it would have just two members: HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia. And, as an even more shocking result, overnight the London Silver Fix announced that after August 14, 2014 it will no longer exist - the first of many victories for all those who have fought for fair and unmanipulated precious metal markets.

From the press release:

The London Silver Market Fixing Limited (the ‘Company’) announces that it will cease to administer the London Silver Fixing with effect from close of business on 14 August 2014. Until then, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Bank USA N.A. and The Bank of Nova Scotia will remain members of the Company and the Company will administer the London Silver Fixing and continue to liaise with the FCA and other stakeholders.

The period to 14 August 2014 will provide an opportunity for market-led adjustment with consultation between clients and market participants. Continue reading »

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Apr 23

- Goldman Sachs Stands Firm as Banks Exit Commodity Trading (Blomberg, April 23, 2014):

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), whose three top executives began their careers at the firm in the commodity-trading unit, is poised to gain market share as pressure from regulators drives competitors to scale back.

Barclays Plc (BARC), the U.K.’s second-largest bank, said that it’s exiting commodities businesses other than trading precious metals and derivatives tied to oil, U.S. gas and commodity indexes. In January, the London-based bank cut jobs in the group that traded raw materials and in February shut power-trading desks in the U.S. and Europe.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) last month announced the $3.5 billion sale of its raw-materials trading unit to Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and Morgan Stanley (MS) plans to sell its physical oil business to Russia’s OAO Rosneft. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and JPMorgan were the biggest traders of commodity derivatives among banks, according to a Greenwich Associates survey last year.

“The more banks that exit commodities trading, the less competitive it becomes for the banks which stick with it,” Jeffery Harte, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, said in a phone interview. Goldman Sachs has “the bigger franchise to be a winner. It now has a much bigger piece of a much smaller pie.” Continue reading »

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Apr 20

Barclays

- Barclays Latest To Exit Commodity Trading, Layoff Several Thousand Staff (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2014):

 With JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank having exited the commodities business (and numerous other banks discussing it ahead of the Fed and regulators’ decisions over banking rules of ownership), it appears a few short months of regulatory scrutiny is enough to warrant more broad-based cuts across bulge-bracket banks historically most manipulated and profitable business units. As The FT reports, Barclays, one of the world’s biggest commodities traders, is planning to exit large parts of its metals, agricultural and energy business in a move expected to be announced this week. This comes on the heels of Barclays shuttering its power-trading operations (after refusing to pay $470mm in fines) with CEO Jenkins expected to announce several thousand layoffs.

Continue reading »

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Mar 20

- Chinese Stocks Enter Bear Market Following 2 More Defaults Overnight (ZeroHedge, March 20, 2014):

Following the default of 2 more corporations last night, Hang Seng’s index of China Enterprises plunged to 8-month lows and officially entered bear market territory. Overnight angst in the Chinese currency markets (which saw the Yuan trade back to 1-year lows) has sparked broad commodity weakness (as CCFD unwinds en masse) with copper giving back most of yesterday’s major short squeeze gains back. Chinese corporate bond prices also tumbled to one-month lows.

Hang Seng’s China Enterprise Index (the most liquid vehicle for trading Chinese stocks for foreigners) has entered a bear market

20140320_china1

as cash-for-commodity financing deals continue the unwind, Continue reading »

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Mar 13

See also:

- RECOVERY: Baltic Dry Plunges 8%, Near Most In 6 Years As Iron Ore At Chinese Ports Hits All Time High


- Is “Dr. Copper” Foreshadowing A Stock Market Crash Just Like It Did In 2008? (Economic Collapse, March 12, 2014):

Is the price of copper trying to tell us something?  Traditionally, “Dr. Copper” has been a very accurate indicator of where the global economy is heading next.  For example, back in 2008 the price of copper dropped from nearly $4.00 to under $1.50 in just a matter of months.  And now it appears that another big decline in the price of copper is starting to happen.  So far this year, the price of copper has dropped from a high of $3.40 back in January to a price of $2.95 as I write this article, and many analysts are warning that this is just the beginning.  By itself, this should be quite alarming to investors, but as you will see below there are a whole host of other signs that a stock market crash may be rapidly approaching. Continue reading »

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Mar 10

- Celebrating China’s First Bond Default: Copper Limit Down, Yuan Crashes Most In Six Years (ZeroHedge, March 9, 2014):

It would appear the fecal matter is starting to come into contact with the rotating object in China. Worrying headlines are beginning to mount on the back of real economic events (an actual default and a collapse in exports):

  • *COPPER IN SHANGHAI FALLS BY 5% DAILY LIMIT TO 46,670 YUAN A TON
  • *CHINA YUAN WEAKENS 0.46% TO 6.1564 VS U.S. DOLLAR
  • *YUAN DROPS MOST SINCE 2008

Aside from that Iron ore prices are crumbling, Asian stocks are dropping, Chinese corporate bond prices aee falling at their fastest pace in almost 4 months, and all this as 7-day repo drops to one-year lows (as banks hoard liquidity).

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Jan 16

- Precious Metals Manipulation Worse Than Libor Scandal, German Regulator Says (ZeroHedge, Jan 16, 2014):

Remember when banks were exposed manipulating virtually everything except precious metals, because obviously nobody ever manipulates the price of gold and silver? After all, the biggest “conspiracy theory” of all is that crazy gold bugs blame every move against them on some vile manipulator. It may be time to shift yet another conspiracy “theory” into the “fact” bin, thanks to Elke Koenig, the president of Germany’s top financial regulator, Bafin, which apparently is not as corrupt, complicit and clueless as its US equivalent, and who said that in addition to currency rates, manipulation of precious metals “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” Hear that Bart Chilton and friends from the CFTC?

More on what Elke Koenig said from Bloomberg: Continue reading »

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Dec 05

- Jim Rogers Cautions “Be Prepared, Be Worried, And Be Careful… This Is Going To End Badly” (ZeroHedge, Dec 4, 2013):

“Eventually, the whole world is going to collapse,” Jim Rogers chides a disquieted CBC anchor as he explains the reality that, “we in the West have staggering debts. The United States is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world,” adding that “this is going to end badly.

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Sep 11

Flashback:

- Will JPMorgan’s ‘Enron’ Be The End Of Blythe Masters?

- JPMorgan Employee Who Invented Credit Default Swaps is One of the Key Architects of Carbon Derivatives, Which Would Be at the Very CENTER of Cap and Trade


- JPM May Be Parting Ways With Blythe Masters (ZeroHedge, Sep 10, 2013):

It is somewhat ironic that none other than CNBC is reporting the news (which was suggested here months ago in “Will JPMorgan’s “Enron” Be The End Of Blythe Masters?”) that as part of its divestment of its physical commodities unit announced previously, JPMorgan may also seek to cover up any trace of market manipulation in the division recently embroiled in the aluminum cartel scandal (which we reported on in June 2011 and which story recently rose to prominence as a result of follow up reporting by the NYT) by getting rid of none other than Blythe Masters.

To wit: “JPMorgan’s initial round of conversations over the sale of its physical commodities unit has involved at least 50 potential suitors, according to someone familiar with the matter, as the bank attempts to ink a deal by the end of the year. In addition to energy supply contracts and metal-storage facilities, people close to the deal say the transaction could include a significant human asset: JPMorgan’s longtime commodities head, Blythe Masters.  In addition to the physical assets it is selling—including the Liverpool, England-based metal-storage business Henry Bath & Son, U.S. power plants, and crude-oil and power supply agreements—any deal to sell JPMorgan’s commodities business could involve Masters, the division’s current leader, as well. Masters, 44, has found her future at JPMorgan in question as regulators crack down on both its power-supply business over alleged manipulations and the whole notion of banks owning commodities assets more generally.

Ironic, because it was an extended CNBC interview-cum-PR campaign with Blythe Masters in April of 2012, just before the London Whale scandal broke, and one of her very rare media appearances, in which she made the following quite amusing, and factually wrong, in retrospect, statements: Continue reading »

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Sep 09


JPMorgan certainly wants to slaughter some more muppets


- JPMorgan Closes Precious Metals Sell Recommendation, Goes “Tactically Overweight” Commodities (ZeroHedge, Sep 8,  2013):

One of the most underreported sentiment shifts of the past week was JPM’s announcement late on Friday, that the firm quietly went long commodities – specifically base metals and copper (in addition to energy) – and the firm also closed it “sell” (i.e., underweight) in precious metals. This is not surprising: we had noted the ongoing purchasing of gold by JPM over the past two month (in part to restore its depleted gold vault inventory) when the yellow metal not only stabilized but promptly entered a bull market, returning 20% in a short period of time. And as gold was rising, JPM was advising its clients to sell. It seems JPM now has more than enough gold stashed away, and as the September shock is set to unwind, even JPM may be seeking the safety of gold, and the usual other hard asset suspects, if and when events escalate out of control, resulting in another “risk off” phase.

From JPM:

Commodities: We have turned tactically long commodities and OW vs. cash and fixed income.

Continue reading »

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Aug 18

- JPMorgan Puzzled By Record Gold Backwardation (ZeroHedge, Aug 18, 2013):

Curious where all the demand for (immediate) physical gold (delivery) is coming from (as detailed here first in April)? As it turns out, so is JPMorgan.From this week’s Flows & Liquidity

SEC filings showed that the largest hedge fund holders of the gold ETFs liquidated most of their positions in Q2, although the single largest holder commented that they had simply switched their exposure from ETFs to the OTC derivative market as the current downward sloping forward curve makes it cheaper to be long gold through futures than via the ETF. Figure 7 shows the annualized % difference between the 1st and 2nd COMEX gold futures contracts going back over the past 30 years on a weekly basis. As the figure shows, a backwardated (downward sloping) gold forward curve is very unusual. This is an indicator of how strong physical demand is, i.e. spot is bid up relative to forward prices due to strong demand for immediate delivery of gold.

Ostensibly, this means that until the Bundesbank and/or PBOC finally issue a relevant 8-K, the “confusion” will continue.

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Aug 18

- JPMorgan Is Selling The Building That Houses Its Gold Vault (ZeroHedge, Aug 18, 2013):

On the surface, there is nothing spectacular about the weekend news that JPMorgan is seeking to sell its 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza office building. After all, the former headquarters of Chase Manhattan Bank, located deep in the heart of the financial district and which was built by its then chairman David Rockefeller, is a remnant to another time – a time when banking was about providing loans, not about managing and trading assets which has become the realm of Midtown New York, and since JPM already has extensive Midtown exposure with its offices at 270, 270 and 245 Park, the 1 CMP building always stood out as a bit of a sore thumb. Of course, as Zero Hedge readers first learned, the big surprise is literally below the surface, some 90 feet below street level to be exact, where the formerly secret JPM gold vault is located, which also happens to be the biggest commercial gold vault in the world.

Continue reading »

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Aug 02

- Beef Supply at 21-Year Low: Get Ready to Pay Up (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 2, 2013):

I don’t follow the commodity markets as closely as I used to, but the following article related to beef prices really caught my eye. Last year’s drought and consequent spike in grain prices led to negative margins for cattle producers, who subsequently culled their herds. As expected, this has resulted in tighter supply today. We see this evidenced in the fact that retail ground beef prices were up 13% year-over-year in June, and the CEO of Ruth’s Chris mentioned during a recent presentation that they were forced to raise prices in February. While grain prices are much lower today, which should encourage expansion in cattle supply, this process will actually cause even more tightness in the near-term as more animals are set aside for breeding rather than slaughtered.

Don’t worry, you can always just eat the S&P 500.

From Bloomberg:

U.S. beef production is plunging to a 21-year low after surging feed costs spurred ranchers to cut herds, signaling record prices for consumers and higher costs for buyers from McDonald’s Corp. to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Production in the U.S. will decline 4.9 percent to 10.93 million metric tons in 2014, retreating for a fourth year, the government says. The herd on July 1 was the smallest for that date since at least 1973, according to the average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Retail ground-beef prices in June were up 13 percent from a year earlier and near a record set in January.

Continue reading »

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Jul 27

- JPMorgan To Exit Physical Commodity Business (ZeroHedge, July 26, 2013):

After weeks of emptying of their Gold vaults and making headlines in recent days over their oligolopolization of commodity warehousing, it seems the threat of a probe has excited Blythe and her colleagues to dump while the dumping is good:

  • JP. MORGAN TO EXPLORE STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES FOR ITS PHYSICAL COMMODITIES BUSINESS

Options include sale, spin-off, or strategic partnership as they re-confirm that they are “fully committed to traditional banking activities,” as they look to drop the holdings of commodities assets and the physical trading business. We can only assume that “physical commodities” include the company’s extensive inventories of tungsten (as well as the vault housing it), and not so extensive stores of gold and silver. That said, we are confident that the collapse in represented (but not warranted) JPM Comex gold vault holdings to a record low, and this news is completely unrelated.

From JPM:

J.P. Morgan to Explore Strategic Alternatives for its Physical Commodities Business

Continue reading »

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