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Message: Ed Steer this morning

At Least India's Government Admits its War on Gold and Wages it in the Open

"It was obvious to me that all four precious metals ran into not-for-profit sellers in New York"

¤ Yesterday in Gold and Silver

The gold price dipped a bit and then rallied up until mid-afternoon in Hong Kong on their Wednesday, before trading sideways into the London silver fix...which occurred moments before noon GMT. The price took off from there, but ran into selling pressure all three times it appeared that it was about to break away to the upside...with the last rally attempt ending at the 3:00 p.m. London gold fix...which was 10:00 a.m. in New York.

From that high...$1,695.90 spot...it was pretty much all down hill until 4:00 p.m. Eastern...and then gold traded sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.

Gold finished the Wednesday trading session at $1,685.60 spot...up $10.40 on the day. It's obvious, at least to me, that gold would have traded and closed comfortably above the $1,700 spot price mark if JPMorgan Chase et al had stood by with their hands in their pockets...which they obviously didn't. Volume was around 150,000 contracts.

Silver followed pretty much the same pattern as gold, except the price rose quietly, but steadily all through Far East and early London trading. Once the silver 'fix was in' at noon in London, the rally gained more strength, but ran into selling pressure shortly after the Comex open in New York...followed by the high tick of the day [$31.59 spot] at the London p.m. gold fix.

Then, between 10:30 and 11:25 a.m. Eastern time, a thoughtful seller sold silver down almost 50 cents...and from that point, every subsequent rally was capped almost before it could get started. This forced silver to trade sideways for the rest of the day.

Silver closed at $30.98 spot...up 63 cents from Monday's close. Volume was around 39,500 contracts. One can only imagine how high silver might have gone if left to its own devices, which it obviously wasn't.

The platinum and palladium charts had similar price paths.

The dollar index closed on Monday at 79.76...and then got sold down almost 50 points to its low, which came about half an hour before London opened for the day on their Wednesday morning. A smallish rally developed from that point...and then about 10:40 a.m. in New York, away it went the index to the upside, hitting its high of the day [79.92] at precisely 1:00 p.m. Eastern time...gaining back all it had lost in Far East trading earlier in the day. From its 1 p.m. high, the index drifted lower, closing at 79.86...up a whole 10 basis points from Monday's close.

You'd be hard pressed to get any co-relation between the dollar index and the precious metal prices. Even the sell-offs in gold and silver after the London p.m. gold fix don't fit the dollar index movements all that well.

The gold stocks gapped up over two percent at the open...and then slid a bit until minutes after 11:00 a.m. Eastern. From there they more or less traded sideways into the close...and the HUI finished up 1.42%.

Not surprisingly, with silver up as much as it was, the silver stocks did much better...and Nick Laird's Silver Sentiment Index closed up 2.81%. And as well as the large cap stocks did...most of the junior producers did even better.

(Click on image to enlarge)

The CME's Daily Delivery Report showed that 5 gold and 1 silver contract were posted for delivery on Friday. As I mentioned on Monday...the January delivery month is almost a non-event. Yesterday was 'Day 2' for deliveries...and that was all there was. I doubt very much that this will change as the month progresses...but you never know when a big buyer will show up out of the blue and demand delivery from the Comex-approved depositories.

There was a smallish withdrawal of 29,052 troy ounces of gold from GLD yesterday...but no reported changes in SLV.

The U.S. Mint had a rather strange, but eye-opening, sales report yesterday. They sold an absolutely stunning 50,000 ounces of gold eagles...along with an equally impressive 8,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes...but zero silver eagles. If you're wondering how this can be possible on the first sales day of the new year, it's my guess that these gold sales actually occurred in December, but were pushed into January in order not to make the sales month look as good as it obviously was.

The bullion dealers all over the U.S.A. were reporting almost record sales figures in December...and the U.S Mint sales in gold, although strong, didn't come close to matching the rhetoric from the dealers. Now I know why. When we see the first true sales numbers in January for gold...and especially silver eagles, they should be equally as impressive. However, I find it very disturbing that the mint is now obviously playing games with their sales numbers. But, having said that, this is the third December/January time period in a row where I've seen them shove December sales into January. You have to wonder if there's any adult supervision going on at the mint.

Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday, they reported receiving 979,143 troy ounces of silver...and shipped 376,315 ounce of the stuff out the door. The link to that activity is here.

Ohio reader Brian Farmer has been beating on the front door of the Reserve Bank of Australia lately...and discovered that it, too, holds almost all of its reserves in London. Here is the e-mail that he received in response to his enquiry...

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your email. The Reserve Bank has confirmed the following:

As at end-June 2011 the Reserve Bank of Australia held 80 tonnes of gold in London Good Delivery bars. The Reserve Bank holds 99.9 per cent of its gold reserves in the United Kingdom at the Bank of England. The remaining 0.1 per cent is held at the Reserve Bank’s Head Office in Sydney.

London is a major global gold trading market and the Bank of England provides a secure and cost-effective storage location for central banks and market participants. The Reserve Bank has processes in place to ensure that the gold reserves are maintained appropriately. It is not considered necessary from management, security or operational perspectives to relocate the gold bars to a facility in Australia.

The Reserve Bank has reviewed its approach to releasing details about its management of the physical reserves of gold and decided to release the above information.


Chris Collins | Manager | Media & Public Relations Office
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA | 65 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
p: +61 2 9551 9830 | f: +61 2 9551 8033 | w: www.rba.gov.au

I have the usual number of stories for a weekday...and I hope you can find the time to read the ones that you find of interest.

¤ Critical Reads


CBO: Fiscal cliff deal adds $4 trillion to deficits

The fiscal cliff deal approved by Congress will increase deficits over the next decade by close to $4 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That estimate is relative to a benchmark where all the Bush tax cuts expire and the fiscal cliff stays in place. Technically, that's what would happen if Congress had done nothing to avert the cliff.

But that was never a likely scenario. For one thing, most economists said that such abrupt fiscal tightening would hurt economic growth in the near term.

Plus, few expect Congress to stick to such a strict fiscal regimen anyway.

This story showed up on the cnn.com Internet site late yesterday morning Eastern time...and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for today's first story. The link is here.

Chris Christie Went Ballistic on John Boehner regarding Hurricane Sandy relief bill

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched a ruthless assault on Republican House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday, tearing into the GOP leader for his decision to pull the plug on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

The speech/press conference was like something out of a movie, a righteous tirade against the way that Washington does business, that people wish would happen in real life.

"There is only one group to blame," Christie said. "The House Majority and John Boehner."

"Last night, the House Majority failed the basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state," he said. "It was disappointing and disgusting to watch."

This businessinsider.com story from early yesterday afternoon Eastern time was sent to me by Roy Stephens...and the link is here.

The World from Berlin: Today's American Politics a 'Tiresome Farce'

Barack Obama's announcement that a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" has been reached was hailed as a victory for the Democratic president. German editorialists, however, are less certain. They warn that the bitter political wrangling in Washington is likely to damage the country in the long term.

Once Obama signs the bill, the country will no longer face the some $500 billion (€377 billion) in increased taxes and $109 billion in defense and domestic spending cuts that would have taken hold. Instead, it ensures that the existing tax cuts for most people remain in place, while the tax rate for incomes above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples will increase from a current 35 percent to 39.6 percent. Taxes will also increase for the wealthy on dividends, capital gains and inheritances.

Still, neither side of the aisle was particularly pleased with the deal, which is seen as a mere postponement of further budgetary negotiations in the coming two months after the new Congress convenes. While the Republicans were forced to accept higher income taxes for the wealthy and fewer spending cuts than they had demanded, the Democrats had hoped to increase taxes starting at an income level of $250,000.

German editorialists were a bit less optimistic, however, writing that the political games in Washington are harming the country.

This article, posted on the German website spiegel.de yesterday, is also courtesy of Roy Stephens...and the link is here.

Al Qaeda Disbands: Says Job of Destroying U.S. Economy Now in Congress’s Hands

The international terror group known as Al Qaeda announced its dissolution today, saying that “our mission of destroying the American economy is now in the capable hands of the U.S. Congress.”

In an official statement published on the group’s website, the current leader of Al Qaeda said that Congress’s conduct during the so-called “fiscal-cliff” showdown convinced the terrorists that they had been outdone.

“We’ve been working overtime trying to come up with ways to terrorize the American people and wreck their economy,” said the statement from Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. “But even we couldn’t come up with something like this.”

“As terrorists, every now and then you have to step back and admire when someone else has beaten you at your own game,” he said. “This is one of those times.”

This short year-end 'story' from The Borowitz Report was posted in The New Yorker on December 28th...and I thank Roy Stephens for finding it for us. The link is here.

Portugal warns EU-IMF troika to back off on austerity demands

President Anibal Cavaco Silva called for urgent action to halt the “recessionary spiral”, warning Europe’s leaders that the current course had become “socially unsustainable”.

In a speech to the nation, he said Portugal would “honour its international obligations”, but in the same breath called for a tough line with the European Union-International Monetary Fund Troika over the pace of fiscal tightening under Portugal’s €78bn (£63bn) loan package. “We have arguments, and we should use them firmly,” he said.

“Fiscal austerity is leading to declining output and lower tax revenue. We must stop this vicious circle,” he said, cautioning the Troika that there would be no way out of the crisis until policy was set in the interests of the “Portuguese people” as well as foreign creditors.

His sombre speech was a reminder that Europe’s crisis is far from over.

This Ambrose Evans-Pritchard commentary was filed on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site early yesterday evening GMT...and it's certainly a must read. I thank Manitoba reader Ulrike Marx for sharing it with us...and the link is here.

Greek debt crisis 'far from over'

In the three years that Greece has been engulfed by the drama of its debt, crises have come and gone. But the next 12 months are likely to be more critical yet with politicians and pundits predicting that 2013 will ultimately define whether Athens remains in the eurozone. For once, Greeks are in accord with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who, adding to the prevailing pessimism, emphasised in her new year address that the worst crisis to ravage Europe since the second world war "is far from over".

Few doubt that the continent's most powerful leader had Greece – the country she recently confessed to thinking more about than ever before and not "without a certain inner involvement" – in mind. The uncertainty that has enveloped the nation since the debt drama erupted beneath the Acropolis has not been alleviated by the passage of time.

After five straight years of recession, the eurozone's weakest link moves into 2013 with an economy set to further contract, unemployment at a record 26%, one in three living on or below the poverty line, and the worst of austerity yet to come. In the run-up to Christmas, even the Greek finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, felt fit to admit that despite being the recipient of €240bn in EU and IMF rescue funds – the biggest bailout in global history – Greece could still default on its massive pile of debt, a move that would result automatically in exit from the 17-nation bloc.

This article was posted on the guardian.co.uk Internet site late yesterday morning GMT...and I thank Roy Stephens for sharing it with us. The link is here.

Japan plans 'nationalisation' of factories to save industry

Japan's government is to take the unprecedented step of buying factories and machinery directly with taxpayer funds, the latest in a series of radical steps to lift the country out of its deep slump.

Premier Shenzo Abe is to spend up to one trillion yen (£7.1bn) buying plant in the electronics, equipment, and carbon fibre industries to force the pace of investment, according to Nikkei news.

The disclosure came just a day after Mr Abe vowed to revive Japan's nuclear industry with a fresh generation of reactors, insisting that they would be "completely different" from the Fukishima Daiichi technology.

The industrial shake–up shows the ferment of fresh thinking in the third–largest economy after years of paralysis. Output shrank 0.9pc in the third quarter and industrial production has fallen 3.3pc over the past two months, made worse by a boycott of Japanese goods in China over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands row. Exports to China fell 38pc in November.

Well, dear reader, it's my guess that some of the big names in the electronics industry will be in the first group of companies that are nationalized.

This is another Ambrose Evans-Pritchard offering from The Telegraph...this one from early on New Year's Day morning in London. It's the second story of the day from Ulrike Marx...and it's certainly worth reading as well. The link is here.

Alasdair Macleod's Outlook for 2013

I have not faced the prospect of a new year with so much trepidation as when I contemplate what is in store for 2013. Systemic risks abound, which of themselves are not the main story, only milestones on the road to final currency destruction, unless governments somehow regain their senses.

To help understand the perils of 2013 I shall give them their background context first before listing them individually. No such list can be exhaustive or temporally sequenced, but all on it have the same root: the long-term accumulation of a burden of unsupportable debt.

This is a story that started with the end of the First World War, and involves a world which replaced laissez-faire with political motivation in economic and monetary affairs, moving away from wealth-creation into wealth-destruction in the cause of the common good. This was what motivated Keynes. In his Concluding Notes to his General Theory he said as much: he looked forward to the “euthanasia of the rentier” (a term for saver he intended to convey disdain), to be replaced by “communal saving by the agency of the state to be maintained at a level which will allow the growth of capital up to the point where it ceases to be scarce”. Monetarists in charge of central banks join Keynes in this objective, acting as the agency by which savings are destroyed and capital is made to be no longer scarce.

Alasdair really nails it with this essay...and if you have the time, it's absolutely worth the trip. It was posted over at the goldseek.com Internet site on Sunday...and I thank Elliot Simon for his second contribution to today's column. The link is here.

Conversations with Casey: Doug Casey on 2013

Louis James, the editor of the International Speculator, does the honours in this year-end interview with Doug. It's definitely worth reading...and there is lots of talk about the future of gold...and its price. The interview was posted on the Casey Research website yesterday...and the link is here.

Five King World News Blogs/Audio Interviews

The first blog is with Dr. Stephen Leeb...and it's headlined "This is the Year the Chinese Let Gold & Silver Prices Fly". The second blog is with Keith Barron. It's entitled "Gold to Break $2,000 & Global Rush into Silver Will Continue". And lastly is this blog with Robert Fitzwilson...and it bears the headline "Gold & the Frightening Picture of Our Financial Abyss". The first audio interview is with John Mauldin...and the second audio interview is with John Embry.

Race to Debase: 2012...Fiat Currencies vs. Gold & Silver

Our friends at GoldSilver.com have done their annual tabulation of the performance of gold and silver against government currencies around the world...and unless you've been saving in Norwegian crowns, Polish zlotys, Hungarian forints, Colombian pesos, or maybe bit-coins...it looks like you'd have been better off in gold in 2012.

I borrowed 'all of the above' from a GATA release yesterday...and the GoldSilver.com report is headlined "Race To Debase 2012 -- Fiat Currencies vs. Gold and Silver" is posted here.

Peter Grandich offers forecast for 2013

In his 2013 forecast, market analyst and mining company consultant Peter Grandich calls 2013 "the year the chickens come home to roost." If he's right they'll be wearing gold ribbons.

I borrowed this from another GATA release yesterday...and Grandich's commentary is posted at his Internet site linked here.

At least India's government admits its war on gold and wages it in the open

India's record current account deficit is "worrying," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday, and hinted at cutting gold imports to bolster weak external accounts that have brought back memories of a 1991 currency crisis.

Data on Monday showed the deficit widened to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the September quarter, driven by falling exports. The gap, the widest in absolute terms since 1949, has weakened the rupee currency and exposed the economy to costlier imports.

"While the current account deficit is indeed worrying, I think it is within our capacity to finance," Chidambaram told reporters.

He said he was considering reining in imports of gold, used as an investment tool by Indians but which mean a drain on foreign currency reserves.

This must read Reuters piece was filed from New Delhi and Mumbai early Wednesday evening India Standard Time. It's headlined "Chidambaram says current account deficit worrying, eyes gold curbs"..and I thank Ulrike Marx for her final offering in today's column. The link is here.

India's central bank cites CPM Group about paper gold's magical properties

Calling attention today to a new report issued by a commission appointed by the Reserve Bank of India to study ways of tempering gold demand in India, Zero Hedge's pseudonymous Tyler Durden summarizes:

"The real message here is between the lines: Just as the U.S. government's veiled threat to curb gun sales and/or to adjust the Second Amendment altogether resulted in precisely the opposite reaction to that intended -- that is, a record surge in purchases of all gun-related products -- so India's ever-more-aggressive attempts to curb gold as a monetary equivalent will simply force the population to hoard more gold, result in greater gold imports, using both legal and less-than-legal means, but most importantly lead to a surge in the gold black market as the government's more explicit intervention in the definition of what is and isn't money forces more Indians to seek the safety of the yellow metal."

There's more to this story embedded in this GATA release from yesterday...and it's definitely a must read. The link is here.

¤ The Funnies

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¤ The Wrap

From Jinping’s Beijing flowing west to Putin’s Moscow, from Merkel’s Berlin to Hollande’s Paris, from Cameron’s London to Obama’s D.C. and finally Abe’s Tokyo, the world’s great nation states are locked in a web of acute and alarming political disarray. The question is no longer whether or not stability can be achieved. It is to what degree the instability can be restrained – a circumstance not unfamiliar to the student of history, but one for which the modern investor is generally unprepared and lacking in defenses. - Mike Kosares...USAGold.com...31 December 2012

Although I was certainly happy to see the rallies in all four precious metals yesterday, it was obvious to me that all four precious metals ran into not-for-profit sellers in New York...especially once the London p.m. gold fix was in for the day...and the preliminary open interest numbers bear that out, at least in gold.

The final open interest numbers for Monday appeared to show that these year-end rallies in both gold and silver were of the short covering variety...as the increase in gold and silver's open interest was very tiny. This fact should be reflected in tomorrow's Commitment of Traders Report...fingers crossed.

Today's closing price in silver was above its 200-day moving average...and it remains to be seen how high silver is allowed to get before we get another 'correction'. I'm wondering in advance if silver will be allowed to close much above its current 50-day moving average. The same goes for gold as well. We'll just have to wait and see.

(Click on image to enlarge)

As Ted Butler has pointed out, the short positions of JPMorgan et al are still well above what they were at the lows in July...and where we go from here price-wise is 100 percent up to them.

There's certainly not much happening in silver during the Thursday trading session in the Far East...and volumes are extremely light as of 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time. The dollar index isn't doing much, either. And now that London has been open for a couple of hours, nothing much is happening there in price or volume in either metal. It will be interesting to see what happens once the noon London silver fix is in...with the same being said about the Comex open...and the London p.m. gold fix as well.

Before heading out the door, I thought I'd remind you that Casey's Club is still taking new members until January 17th. What is Casey's Club, you ask? Well...specifically, members have complete access to all of Casey Research's services, including any new publications we may offer in the future... for the rest of their lives. They can even pass on their memberships to their children...and all for a one-time, deeply discounted flat fee, plus a very modest annual maintenance fee to help offset inflation. The club is intended for involved investors who have the time and financial means to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented. Of course it's not cheap, but the best investment advise never costs...it pays! And if you're in the elite group that knows this, this is most likely the smartest investment that you'll ever make. You can find out more by clicking here.

See you on Friday.

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