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The Silver Price Spiral, Part II: paper "inventories"

Articles & Blogs - Silver Commentary

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In Part I of this series, I suggested to investors that the price of silver will explode in an upward spiral – reaching levels even unimaginable to most silver bulls. A three-digit price for silver is guaranteed, while a four-digit price cannot be completely ruled out.

This price spiral will be caused by a combination of supply and demand dynamics. In the second part of this three-part series, I will focus upon the supply-side dynamics, and point out how recent trends are reaffirming my earlier analysis in this area. To do so, I will refer to a couple of recent articles, which on their surface, seem almost contradictory.

The first of these pieces is another misguided analysis of bullion-ETF's (and in this case, SLV) by precious metals commentator, Adam Hamilton. Regular readers will recall that I have previously singled-out Hamilton, for being both outspoken and wrong about (so-called) “bullion-ETF's” (“Even Gold Experts Fooled by Bullion-ETF's”).

With apologies to Mr. Hamilton, it is through pointing out the errors in his analysis that the truth becomes plain to see – since his own analysis treats the funds as totally legitimate investments. Given this mistaken assumption, here is his analysis of the “strange” occurrences in the silver market during the month of March.

Specifically, Hamilton noted that holdings in SLV have “plunged rather sharply” since the beginning of March. He then observed that contrary to this sudden liquidation, the price of silver had risen, not fallen as SLV units were liquidated. Given his assumption of legitimacy with this fraud-fund, it is only natural that Hamilton would have been surprised by this development – as supply/demand fundamentals appear to dictate that the price of silver should have fallen as a consequence of the sudden liquidation of SLV units.

In fact, according to the real supply/demand fundamentals of the silver market, the market reacted exactly as I predicted it would (see "Bullion-ETF Shrinkage GOOD For Sector") to a liquidation of SLV units. Here is how these “fundamentals” are currently operating.

First, as regular readers already know, there has been a massive fraud perpetrated with respect to “official” silver inventories (i.e. the quasi-official inventory numbers of the CPM Group). For newer readers, I will summarize the facts.

From 1990 to 2005, official silver inventories plummeted nearly 90% in just 15 years. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, those inventories did a literal “U-turn” - and supposedly tripled in size from 2005 to 2008 (as shown in the chart below). However, a close look at the chart compiled by the CPM Group reveals precisely how those inventories supposedly tripled: every ounce of the privately-held “bullion” of the bullion-ETF's has been added to official inventories, and that ETF “silver” accounted 100% for the supposed rise in inventories.

As I have pointed out on several occasions, this is a blatant (and totally absurd) fraud which is being perpetrated in the silver market. In fact, every time a unit of SLV is purchased, this supposedly represents one ounce of silver which is being taken off of the market, and is now privately held. This point becomes obvious if we pretend that SLV represents real silver.

Suppose that instead of investors buying their bullion from “middlemen”: bullion-dealers and on-line sites like, that we all purchased our silver directly from official inventories. Quite obviously, every time we purchased an ounce of that silver, inventories would decrease not increase. It is nothing short of mind-boggling that the bullion-banks and their accomplices would even attempt such a ludicrous charade. Trying to comprehend how the general public (and many “experts”) could fail to notice such a total sham is guaranteed to drive one to insanity.

Nonetheless, these are the bogus “fundamentals” which have been incorporated into this market. We did not create these “fundamentals”, but now that they exist, we can certainly predict how they will (and must) behave. We can also clear up the seeming “paradox” which has caused Adam Hamilton (and others) so much confusion.

Obviously, if official silver inventories are increased each time a unit of SLV (or any other bullion-ETF) is purchased, then the opposite must take place each time a unit of a bullion-ETF is liquidated: official silver inventories must fall. Thus, if liquidating units of SLV must cause a decrease in inventories, this directly implies that liquidating units of SLV will tend to cause the price of silver to rise – as a direct consequence of those falling inventories.

Suddenly, the “mystery” which had puzzled Hamilton is no mystery at all. In fact, the reason why we have not observed this phenomenon before is because the larger (nearly-constant) manipulations in the silver market by the bullion-banks had hidden this dynamic.

Consider this: previously, on any and every occasion where significant numbers of units of SLV were liquidated, this dynamic was hidden from the market – because it took place during one of the bullion-banks “ambushes” in the silver market (i.e. where the whole market was falling). Thus, instead of the liquidation of SLV units contributing to these declines, those liquidations were actually pushing back – but were simply concealed by the massive attacks of the bullion-banks.

This is what makes the events in March take on such huge significance. For the first time since bullion-ETF's became a major “force” in this bull-market for precious metals, we have seen a major liquidation of SLV units while the price of silver is steadily rising. Indeed, during some recent trading sessions we have seen the price of silver rising on days when the price of gold is falling – a very unusual occurrence.

It would appear that it was the massive liquidation of those units (6% of the total units in just seven weeks) which has led to silver outperforming gold in recent weeks. In Adam Hamilton's world, selling all those units of SLV represents “dumping” vast amounts of silver onto the market. However, in the real world, that large liquidation represented a sudden contraction of inventories.

This development becomes even more interesting when we look at what is happening in the “physical” silver market (i.e. real silver). As reported by Jeff Clark of Casey's Gold and Resource Report, the U.S. Mint has just announced all-time records for silver purchases in March, and for the first quarter, as a whole. When we combine the two events together, they lead to a single, obvious conclusion. Investors have not been selling “silver” during the recent liquidation of SLV units, instead, the exact opposite event is taking place: they are liquidating their SLV paper, and buying real silver in its place.

Keep in mind that there are two, entirely independent reasons for concluding that SLV is all “paper”. First, there was the previously-reported fact that all the “silver” in bullion-ETF's is part of official inventories (i.e. it's “for sale”). Obviously, if anyone can walk in off the street and buy-up every ounce of SLV “silver” today – simply by anteing-up the “spot” price – then no SLV unit-holder could rationally believe that they hold a secured claim on any silver, at all.

The second reason to believe that SLV is nothing but paper-piled-on-paper comes through the revelation of Jeffrey Christian of the CPM Group, when he blurted out that the bullion-banks are leveraged in the gold and silver markets by somewhere around 100:1. Since that time, apologists for the bullion-banks have attempted to minimize the significance of Christian's “confession” - by asserting that “most of” this leverage exists in the bullion derivatives market.

Such a distinction is totally immaterial. Even if all of the bullion-banks dwindling stores of “physical” bullion are not directly leveraged 100:1, the consequences of such leverage are identical: nearly-infinite losses for the bullion-banks, should gold and silver rise dramatically in price.

As we know, the bullion-banks are currently sitting on the largest, most-concentrated short-positions in the history of commodities market. To exert additional downward pressure on the price of gold and silver, the banksters have dramatically leveraged those short positions with derivatives. Given that losses can be potentially infinite on a straight, un-leveraged short position, when such a position is leveraged 100:1, we have losses of potentially 100 “times” infinity.

The only thing standing in the way of those losses – and the instant bankruptcy of the bullion banks in this multi-trillion dollar market is the dwindling real bullion they can dump onto the market to either cover (some of) their short positions, or to simply cool-down those markets. In other words, while the derivatives/“physical” bullion distinction made by the gold-apologists may have some significance for the bullion market as a whole, for the bullion-banks (the custodians of all the ETF “bullion”), there is no distinction, at all.

They need every ounce of bullion they currently possess (plus somewhere around one hundred times more) in order to avoid being totally bankrupted by their bullion-fraud. Any ETF-holder who naively believes these banksters will honour those contracts rather than “cover their asses” simply hasn't been paying attention to the global tidal-wave of litigation which is now being directed at these career-criminals (see "Morgan Stanley pays damages for precious metals fraud").

When the silver (and gold) market 'blows-up', sham-funds like SLV and GLD will be exposed for what they are: totally “naked” long positions – or (in other words) yet more worthless, banker-paper. What we are seeing happening today is the beginning of the inevitable separation between the phony, fraudulent “paper bullion” market of the banksters from the real market for actual, “physical” bullion.

It would be premature to draw such a conclusion based upon only a single month's data. Fortunately, what we see is that, in fact, this trend has been steadily evolving since the beginning of February – and has continued through April. Over that span, holdings in SLV have been steadily falling, while silver has appreciated by roughly 20%.

Going back even further, holdings in SLV peaked in October of 2009, and have been flat or falling since that time. In short, while investor demand for silver continues to increase unabated, investor appetite for SLV paper has clearly peaked. However, of much greater significance is what the SLV sham represents when it comes to official inventories.

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, the last “official” numbers I have been able to locate with respect to silver inventories are from 2008. At that point in time, ETF-silver represented 2/3 of total inventories. Given the fundamentals which I have described above, we can only assume that more of the dwindling, real silver has been drawn-down from inventories – meaning that ETF-silver now represents more than 2/3 of official inventories. Let me repeat this: more than 2/3 of official, global inventories of silver are nothing but paper.

For those who still cling to the delusion that there could be some legitimacy to fraud-funds like SLV, keep in mind the numbers here. The same bullion-banks who claim to be “custodians” for all this ETF “bullion” (and are leveraged 100:1) also carry massive, short positions virtually identical in size. Since the banksters must cover their short positions first (to avoid being wiped-out by those short positions), all it would take is as little as 2:1 leverage to make ETF's like SLV and GLD 100% paper.

This would be an incredibly bullish dynamic in any market. In the tiny silver market, the repercussions are virtually inconceivable. As I will demonstrate in the conclusion of this series, demand fundamentals for silver are arguably more bullish than anything ever seen in the history of commodities markets. When we combine that spectacular demand-profile with the massive fraud in the silver market – a market which is pretending there is more than three times as much available silver as actually exists – it becomes much easier to see how and why $100/oz silver is the starting point for the real evolution of this market, rather than the climax.

Comments (7)Add Comment
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, July 09, 2010
I almost forgot to add that our Mining Coordinator, Brian Boutilier has done a summary of Silver Wheaton in our Mining Company Database (#40 on the list).

Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, July 09, 2010
Aandoteam, one thing which you will find around here is that many of your questions will have been answered in previous commentaries. We have an index of our commentaries in the toolbar on top, and there is also a list of categories near the bottom of the page.

In this particular case, I would refer you to a previous "silver commentary":

"Silver Wheaton: The SAFE Alternative to SLV"
written by aandoteam, July 08, 2010
Thank you so much for your prompt reply to my queries.

I still have these questions on top of my head that need answers to:

What are the risks, if any, of owning stocks from SLW?

Since SLW stocks and other similar stocks in the US/Canada are denominated in USA and Canadian currencies respectively, what will happen to my stock value, should those paper currencies collapse?

Will I lose all my money then, or will there be still value in the piece of paper I have in my possession that says I own x number of stocks in SLW--even if it is worth US$500 per stock--at the time of the monetary system collapse? In other words, as shareholder, do I still have any claim on the company when the collapse actually happens?

Looking forward to your answers. Many thanks in advance.
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, July 08, 2010
Hi Aandoteam. Silver Wheaton is a relatively unique company, which essentially buys and markets the silver produced by miners as a BYPRODUCT of their other mining.

For example, a copper miner may produce 5% as much silver as copper. It's not a big part of the company's operation and Silver Wheaton offers to buy ALL the future silver produced - but at a discount to the current, spot price (because it is paying for this future production in advance AND in a lump-sum).

Silver Wheaton then turns around and sells the silver it bought "wholesale" at retail prices (i.e. the prevailing "spot" price). So, Silver Wheaton unquestionably buys and sells genuine metal, since it deals directly with the miners, themselves.

While you don't "own" any of that silver directly as a shareholder, Silver Wheaton is not only a "pure play" on silver, but its business model also generates natural leverage to the price of silver, similar to the miners.
written by aandoteam, July 08, 2010
Hello Jeff,

Thank you for your very interesting articles.

If SLV is a paper inventory which cannot be redeemable in real physical gold, what do you think of Silver Wheaton (SLW)?

Specifically, I have the following queries:

1. Does SLW come under the same category of a paper inventory?

2. Are SLW's stocks considered as normal stocks that is worth a certain value, the market price?

3. What are the risks, if any, of owning stocks from SLW?

4. Since their stocks and others in the US/Canada are denominated in USA and Canadian currencies respectively, what will happen to my stock value, should those paper currencies collapse?

5. Are the stocks of SLW legitimate or are they a scam?

I would really appreciate your comments to the above questions. Thanks a million.

Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, May 01, 2010
Thanks, Paxjds. I do a little "networking" for our site over on a large, German forum - and I posted a comment there today that there has been a critical change in North American attitudes as a result of recent events.

Specifically, the cumulative impact of all the news is that a far greater number of people no longer look at claims of "manipulation" in the precious metals market as being AUTOMATICALLY false.

As we all know here, this is all that we need. As soon as people view the facts objectively, "manipulation" becomes the only rational conclusion.
written by paxjds, May 01, 2010
This mornings reports on JP Morgan being investigated for silver price manipulations adds more to Jeff's article above and puts icing on the report. After reading Bullions Bulls silver articles the past two days and their republishing the impecable John Williams of Shadow Stats article
"Hyper inflationary Depression Coming", it is time for everyone to get their finances in order for the upcoming currency debasement. Time to switch from fiat currencies to real money, Gold and Silver.

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