Tuesday, July 29, 2014
   
Text Size

Search our Site or Google

Commodities: Hoarding Versus Shorting

Articles & Blogs - Silver Commentary

User Rating: / 74
PoorBest 

Given the decades of rampant manipulation of the precious metals markets on the “short” side of trading, it is more than ironic that as the U.S. CFTC (“Commodity Futures Trading Commission”) ponders restrictions on commodities markets, it has expressed the most public concern about “speculators” on the “long” side of investing.

This comes with HSBC sitting with the largest concentrated-position in the gold market in history (“short”), while JP Morgan sits with the largest concentrated-position in the history of the silver market (also “short”). Furthermore, these concentrations (in proportionate terms) are far larger than anything seen in the history of all commodities markets.

Nonetheless, we continue to hear endless rhetoric about “speculators” disrupting markets (especially the crude oil market) – through “competing” with the buyers who actually consume these commodities through their own operations. Such “disruptive speculation” is often referred to (disparagingly) as “hoarding”.

Before I get into a direct analysis of this economic phenomenon, it would be helpful to review some basic economic fundamentals, and then first apply those fundamentals to the “short” side of commodities trading. Regular readers will be familiar with one of my economic mantras on commodities markets: anything which is under-priced will be over-consumed.

In fact, this isn’t really “economics”, but merely an expression of common sense. If chocolate bars were suddenly re-priced at a dime apiece, store shelves would be cleaned-out in days. Manufacturers’ inventories would then quickly be drained. This would soon be followed by acute shortages in the global cocoa market, and very possibly the sugar market as well.

At some point, not too far down the road, such warped pricing (totally against economic fundamentals) would create utter havoc in these markets – as acute shortages occurred – leading (inevitably) to a massive price-shock, not only to the chocolate bar market, but also with the cocoa market, and likely the sugar market, too. These price-shocks, in turn, would cause serious disruptions in other markets which rely upon these commodities.

In short, excessively low prices are at least as damaging and disruptive to markets as excessively high prices – and arguably much more so, since they lead to two massive distortions to markets: first over-consumption (which depletes inventories and stockpiles), followed by a massive price-shock (the only way to curb demand to a sustainable level).

If we replace the words “chocolate bar” (in our example) with the word “silver”, we see what utter havoc has been created in this market, through JP Morgan being allowed to accumulate and hold the largest, concentrated (short) position in the history of commodities market.

Noted silver authority Ted Butler has estimated that 90% of global stockpiles of silver have been used-up, thanks to decades of this market-manipulation by JP Morgan – along with smaller, but equally nefarious allies in this market. With decades of manipulation behind us, and global inventories and stockpiles already decimated, we have gone through the period of “over-consumption” and are rapidly approaching the massive price-shock – which became inevitable the day that JP Morgan (and fellow banksters) embarked upon this permanent-manipulation scheme. It is the years of ceaseless manipulation, combined with JP Morgan misrepresenting their activities in this market which makes this more than merely "illegitimate", but also illegal.

Not surprisingly, growing numbers of investors are gravitating toward this market. They are investing in a commodity which has become genuinely “scarce”, due to the nefarious (and illegal) manipulation of this market by JP Morgan and allies. How is the brain-dead media reacting to these market events?

Far from condemning the indefensible conduct of the bankers (on the short side), it is silver investors who are depicted as “speculators” – which as I explained earlier, is a “four-letter word” in the eyes of the U.S. regulator.  And rather than describing the activity of these “speculators” as the very sensible decision to stock-up on a commodity in short supply, the media depicts this activity as “hoarding” – yet another term with negative connotations.

To display how this attitude is not simply “warped”, but totally mistaken, let’s back-up a bit. JP Morgan attempts to “justify” its illegal manipulation of the silver market as part of the legitimate activity of “hedging”. Simple arithmetic proves JP Morgan is lying. By definition, hedging is an activity to help restore balance to a market – through offsetting long positions in that market.

More importantly, the mechanism through which hedging restores balance is price. At this point, analysis becomes simple: if the hedging is legitimate it will produce a price which leads to balance between supply and demand in this market. The simple fact that the (supposed) “hedging” (i.e. shorting) by JP Morgan led to a 90% drop in global stockpiles, and a corresponding 90% plunge in global inventories (in just 15 years) is – by itself – conclusive proof that JP Morgan’s short-position could not possibly represent legitimate hedging.

JP Morgan created the severe imbalance in this market, through overly depressing the price with its manipulative shorting. This has led (directly) to destruction of stockpiles, which also leads (directly) to the massive price-shock toward which we are heading. Let’s compare this activity to the (long) “speculation” which the CFTC has mistakenly identified as a more serious problem.

Let’s assume that the level of long-investment (i.e. “speculation”) leads to tightening supplies for a particular commodity. Let’s go even further, and raise the level of “speculation” to the point where there is a serious “spike” in the price of that commodity. What happens then?

The spike in price causes demand to plummet. This causes the price to fall (rapidly) irrespective of the conduct of “speculators”. After bouncing-around a bit (as the pendulum swings back and forth), the price returns to an equilibrium level – and there has been only one disruption to this market.

Conversely, with the excessive shorting of JP Morgan (et al), first this leads to over-consumption. In the case of a metal like silver, with countless useful chemical/metallurgical properties, this means numerous businesses incorporate silver into their business/production model (at a price which cannot possibly be sustained over the long-term). Thus, when the inevitable collapse in supply occurs (and a default, or severe supply disruption in this market), far too many businesses have not only become dependent on silver, but dependent upon cheap silver.

This means that the original supply-crunch will have an horrendous impact on these businesses. However, that impact is nothing compared to the harm of the massive price-shock – made inevitable by excessive consumption. Because under-pricing led/leads to massive over-consumption, demand would have been (artificially) pushed to grossly excessive levels – maximizing the total damage from the price-shock.

Conversely, in a market which only has long-speculation, there is no artificial demand created first. What this means is that a price-shock created by “over-speculation” must (as a matter of simple arithmetic/logic) cause less problems than an imbalance caused by excessive-shorting.

Let’s reinforce the distinction that “hoarding” is the noble activity, while “shorting” is the evil which must be controlled. This can be easily illustrated by looking at the “supply” of various species of animals, in the animal kingdom. Here, the concept of hoarding does not even exist. Rather, we encounter a word with a much different connotation: “conservation”.

When a particular species of animal becomes “endangered” due to “over-consumption”, the people who protect the supply of such species are widely viewed as heroes. We can easily export this analysis to the world of commodities, by simply reviewing the evolution of the silver market.

First, JP Morgan engages in grossly-excessive (and illegal) shorting of the silver market. This causes the price to drop to a totally artificial level (which is what causes over-consumption). Thus, what the market needs is higher prices – to push demand back down to sustainable levels. Enter the silver investors.

The moment that these investors start buying-up significant amounts of silver, this causes the price to rise (and curbs demand) sooner than without the intervention of these investors. What this means is that the price-shock occurs sooner than without this investing and (as a result) there is more silver remaining in global stockpiles than without the virtuous influence of these investors. This analysis is by no means unique to the silver sector, but can be applied to any/all commodity markets.

This analysis should also serve to provide readers with proper perspective regarding the individuals (and groups, such as GATA) who have laboured for years to expose the illegal manipulation of the gold and silver markets. The clueless media have depicted these people as a collection of “Don Quixotes”, who are supposedly wrong about both the existence of manipulation in these markets and the urgent need to stamp-out such manipulation ASAP.

Any valid analysis of these markets instantly vindicates these people (and their efforts), while it is the “shorts” (and their defenders in the media and regulatory bodies) whose conduct cannot withstand the slightest analytical scrutiny.

In short, we could easily devise an “I.Q. test” for all would-be “regulators” of the CFTC. We can test them on their understanding of (and the distinction between) hoarding and shorting. Given the rhetoric emanating from this severely-tarnished institution, most if not all of the CFTC’s current “leadership” would flunk such a simple exam – with a similar lack of comprehension to be expected should we test media “experts” on commodities.

Readers must “shun the herd” when it comes to commodities analysis – as there are few signs of intelligent-life here. While silver investors are unlikely to be awarded “medals” for their virtuous conduct, at least we can go to sleep at night knowing that we won’t “burn in Hell” like the silver-shorts of JP Morgan.

 

Trackback(0)
Comments (15)Add Comment
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, September 03, 2010
Stew, what makes the current era of money-printing so particularly irredeemable is that there haven't even been any "national emergencies" to provide even a PRETENSE of justification - certainly the highly "choreographed" War on Terror doesn't count, and the other money-printing sinners didn't even have that pretense.

This destruction of the BANKERS' currencies and OUR wealth has been nothing more than a wealth-grab by the ultra-wealthy, and the bankers who "service" that wealth. And we didn't even need "princes", just a lot of stupid, spineless politicians...
swsprime
...
written by swsprime, September 03, 2010
A Gold Standard stops the worst excesses of Princes (and Presidents):

Princes always fought wars to take over the assets of other Princes for their own dynasty's aggrandizement. The problem they had with starting a war was they had to pay the troops and arm and feed them for the duration of the war. In order to do this Princes had to use up their treasury of Gold and Silver. So they needed short wars, if the war didn’t go the way they expected it to go and they used up all their Gold and Silver they would become frantic to end the war, and these wars would end quickly by treaty, (much to the benefit of ordinary people.)

Then along came International Bankers.

‘Worried about having to end your wars too soon? We’ll help you keep that war going, we’ll lend you money, better still, we’ll print paper money you can use internally to pay your people’

Germany then France came off the Gold Standard just before WW1 and this enabled this war to go on for six long years, cost 20 million lives, and bankrupts both countries. France won (sort off) and Weimar Germany endured hyperinflation and the coming to power of Adolph Hitler, who saw to it that another 49 million would die.

As Napoleon Bonaparte, a big war monger, and the first big user of international banking once said: ‘Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency.’

Ever wondered how the US financed the long wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? Ever worried about the US going into hyperinflation any day soon? You should have done both.
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, September 03, 2010
Very nice analogy, Dylan.

Yes, whenever some authority (generally with some sort of "monopoly control" over a market) points an accusing finger at people for "hoarding", it is almost that authority which CREATED the motivation to do so.

Ironically, with gold being almost perfectly "conserved" by our species (i.e. very little is "consumed"), there is no possibility of the accusation of "hoarding" (because the global stockpile is abundant).

Conversely, with silver BECAUSE people did NOT "conserve" global stockpiles of silver (due to bankster shorting and industrial consumption), and BECAUSE supplies have been so decimated, EXPECT the accusation of "hoarding" to be uttered very powerfully by the propaganda-machine. Instead of criticizing the "shorts" for burning-through global stockpiles, it will be the silver "conservationists" who are demonized.
Dylan
...
written by Dylan, September 03, 2010
The endless rhetoric about speculators reminds me of Diocletian’s edict, in which he rants on about those evil merchants who kept raising the prices in response to his debased coinage and then when the prices were fixed, committed the ultimate sin of hoarding , the parasites! All this despite the fact that he and his successors were guilty of hoarding all the remaining non-debased gold and silver coinage and only accepting real gold as payment of taxes. And all the debased coinage which had to be accepted at nominal value when he was funding his war machine caused the supply shortage which led to the price increases in the first place. So we have the great grandaddy dragon of hoarders transferring wealth to himself and his war machine and transferring blame on to other segments of society – the oldest trick in the book.

This leads me to the next point, there ARE a group of state-sanctioned speculators today who qualify for the parasitic terminology. These are the colluding insider hedge (so you can’t see over the top)-funds and their ilk who along with investment banks such as Goldman and JP Morgan make up the shadow banking system. Isn’t it interesting that now they both have closed down their proprietary trading desks, various members of staff will form hedgefunds. I wonder if the suppression will continue?

As you say Jeff, their illegal shorting activity has created an artificial increase in demand, offset by the paper PM scam (an artificial satisfaction of that demand to buy time) enabling them to hoard the real stuff in gleeful anticpation of the inevitable price-shock.
However, they also engage in illegal long speculation, the commodities bubbles, the agflation which causes real starvation caused by a Stalinesque artificial reduction in supply (this is the real hoarding), as prices are forced up – people need to eat, no free market there. But this is also „Naked” long speculation because the money comes from collapsing real estate bubbles and credit default swaps which come from insane leverage and illegal insurance scams ultimately paid for by the outsiders.
Wealth transfer to Insiders and Burden of Debt transfer to outsiders.

Null, maybe off topic or maybe not. Have you ever considered the possibilty that the debate between the global warmers and the skeptics is contrived to cover a third possibilty? Climate change IS man made BUT NOT because we breathe and drive to work, BUT because the technology to cause rainfall or droughts or worse (think crop failure, commodity speculation, insurance scams, weather derivatives) exists and has and is being used on a global scale. Once again the blame is being transferred on to US while we are being raped.
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, September 03, 2010
Null, now we're kind of getting into the fundamentals of capitalism here. The essence of capitalism is that you must "extend credit" (i.e. incur debt) to maximize economic growth. In a debt-based economic system, "interest" is deemed to be an economic necessity (i.e. if you DON'T pay interest, no one has an incentive to extend credit).

The problem is that when you ALSO allow a "fractional reserve" monetary system, then you are implicitly building inflation into the system, too. This is because you can't have "fractional reserve banking" without diluting the money supply, and you can't dilute the money supply without creating inflation.

At this point, there becomes TWO bases for interest: the passage of time AND the dilution of the currency...and we gradually degenerate (thanks to the greed of bankers) into the mess we have today.

I would equate the Islamic model of a financial system much like that of the lifestyles of the tribes of aboriginal people (from an ecological standpoint). The parallel is that we are dealing with inherently STABLE and SUSTAINABLE systems here.

The "benefit" offered by capitalism is a generally higher standard of living, more rich people, but with INHERENT INSTABILITY and MASSIVE wealth inequality.

Null
...
written by Null, September 03, 2010
Thanks Jeff, I wonder if you have an opinion or further insight into the Islamic rule of banning interest or "usury", which as I understand it was also banned by our own cultures long ago. I wonder how a financial system would operate under this, or do we even really need a financial system at all? What happened to the old concept of actually working and producing something of value in order to earn money? When you see the ads on TV from the banks urging people to "get your money working for you", well that's not what's happening at all, rather someone else who doesn't have any money is working for you because if you own money then you own debt, and someone else is enslaved by it.

In my simplistic understanding I would imagine a world without banks of any kind except those which print up a transactional currency linked to precious metals that we would use every day. Our wealth would be stored in physical possession of precious metals, or by ownership of hard assets like farmland or shares in factories and corporations. Neither the banks nor government could manipulate money, and economies would be ..... stable! Would this mean government bonds would no longer exist?

People would not be able to buy anything unless they had the money to do so (what a concept!!!) Housing prices would therefore drop accordingly to make them available to the majority. If you needed a loan for something like to start up or expand your business then you would go down to the credit union and arrange and agreement with a group of investors who have some gold they would like to loan out. The interest rate would be agreed upon mutually by the parties involved and the government would have nothing to do with it. As collateral for this loan you'd offer up something you own to guarantee it.

Simple, easy to understand, does it really need to be more complicated than this? Maybe for large corporations who make cars or computers or mine copper it would need to be a little more complicated I imagine.
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, September 03, 2010
Null, I agree unequivocally. It's a constant theme here that what is taking place in the broader economy is a MASSIVE WEALTH TRANSFER to the ultra-rich FROM everyone else.

This is why I have made a number of attempts to get people to focus on our TAX SYSTEM - since this is the primary wealth-transfer mechanism in any/every developed economy.

The other areas of wealth-consolidation which you refer to are ALSO important. However, fixing OTHER parts of the economy (and "righting" other wrongs) won't make ANY real difference unless/until our tax system is overhauled.

I've been meaning to do another piece on this - especially after Samix mentioned that Islamic nations ALREADY have an equitable tax-system in place: a "flat" WEALTH TAX. So hopefully I'll get something written up on that in the next few days...
swsprime
...
written by swsprime, September 03, 2010
@ Null,

Thx Null, comments appreciated.

Stew
Null
...
written by Null, September 03, 2010
swsprime, see the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" which documents how Big Oil and the American government destroyed the efforts to bring electric cars to market earlier in the decade. Here we are ... almost 2011 and you still can't buy one. I have analyzed the movie for the last 2 years and it appears to be entirely correct.

I don't want to go too off topic here. But I see a direct parallel between what the oil industry (and sympathetic governments who make revenue from it -- aka Stephen Harper and GW Bush) is doing to prevent change and sustainability, and what the banksters and US government are also doing to prevent change. The established PTB simply do not want change, because they will lose out if the average consumer wins (by being able to charge their electric cars with solar panels on their roof, thereby completely bypassing the oil industry and saving $$$ in the process, or by using gold and silver as a store of wealth, thereby completely bypassing the banking industry), and they engage in these massive campaigns to prevent change by manipulating public opinion, among other strategies as well. They are designed to scare people into believing that getting off oil is going to hurt them financially, or that gold and silver are in some kind of bubble when they clearly are not, yet only a few years ago housing was in an obvious bubble but where were the banksters warning everyone about the coming pop? Nowhere to be seen. Absolutely ridiculous. It's all designed to steal wealth from the middle class.
swsprime
...
written by swsprime, September 03, 2010
@ Null

Nice comment. What is Chevron hiding?

Stew
Null
...
written by Null, September 03, 2010
Yes it's quite a revealing insight into human nature to see peoples' reaction when presented with this unavoidable outcome of our modern economic system. I have told at about 5 of my friends about the coming collapse and how important it is to buy precious metals as not just a profit opportunity, but as a hedge. No one has done anything. One friend who is a successful small businessman with 4 retail stores in Vancouver, has 4 houses in Vancouver, all on a mortgage, and wants to take out a new loan to open up a fifth store. Yikes.... I have been trying to convince him to buy gold and have shown him all the evidence of a manipulated market and the inevitable consequences of a debt saturated fiat currency. His response was that he lost $10,000 in the stock market crash in 2008 and has since not been interested in investing..... So then what are those 4 houses for?!

The response of people to this situation reveals how we behave as a species, we can be incredibly stupid sometimes (sorry for saying that, friends). As a group we are incapable of thinking originally, adapting to new situations by adopting new and better ways of thinking and doing things, and using reason to question the false assumptions we incorrectly hold to be true. We will all still be enthralled in the inane left-right debates, clinging to outdated simplistic ideology, as we all, both left and right, drive off the cliff together. It does not inspire confidence in the long term future of our species. Just look at all the people denying global warming (with zero scientific reason to do so), so easily manipulated by the same type of FUD (fear, uncertainty, denial) spread by those wishing to continue to suppress precious metals. It is so obvious that the doubts about global warming are funded and spread by Big Oil, and there is ample undeniable evidence to demonstrate this, yet so many people would rather trust an oil company that steals $2000 from them every year over a scientist who dedicates his life to studying something at university and has no vested interest at all in helping you save that $2000 a year and instead spend $200 a year by adopting better technology that is has been suppressed by Chevron for 7 years, ironically. Sorry, a bit off topic there.
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, September 03, 2010
Stew, I attribute the "secret" status of precious metals (amongst people in North America) to three factors.

1) All the bubble-idiocy. We've had media-parrots talking about a gold "bubble" since gold broke above $700/oz.
2) The "we buy gold" vultures. Saturate the air-waves with ads suggesting that SELLING gold (and silver) is the "smart" thing to do, and the sheep will take their cue.
3) FORGETTING HISTORY. This is clearly the most important factor. Listen to the following clip (if you haven't already heard it), and hear how much more sophisticated is the understanding of the average Asian - when it comes to precious metals, and "money".
swsprime
...
written by swsprime, September 02, 2010
Jeff,

How come when people like you speak so lucidly about Gold and Silver and PM's vast value growth potential that so few investors pick up on the fact? Its' like we are still a close group working together to a common end. To misquote Shakespeare a little:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that buys his PM share with me
Shall be my prosperous brother.

Hmmm, maybe not, it sounds a little too sententious doesn't it?

Anyway, on a more practical level, JP Morgan and HSBC's cheating shorts have now set up an ideal market for the small intelligent investor to thrive in. As the Dow crashes, (as it will,) Gold and Silver will rise in a spectacular fashion until the Dow Index:Gold Price reach at least parity or better.

So buy physical Gold and Silver and well researched Mining Stock now!

Re Silver: Don't worry too much about Industrial problems associated with hiked Silver prices, the amount of Silver used in each unit of production is tiny and the effect therefore on manufacturer's profit margins is very small. However, Industry MUST have its' Silver fix no matter what the price so that particular slice of the demand cake is fairly inflexible.

Also because the amount of silver used in each unit of production is so small it is not practicable to recycle it, so that slice of the supply cake is also fairly inflexible too.

With Silver, as investor demand grows, we are talking about market shortage and medium term inflexibility - there are no more world strategic stocks of Silver, recycling can only increase a little and it takes seven years to bring a new Silver Mine into production - so that's seven years of rising prices!

Keep the up these great articles, if each one helps just two or three new investors to see the PM light it will be well worth it.

Stew
dlmaniac
...
written by dlmaniac, September 02, 2010
Well reasoned like always, Mr. Nielson. Always a pleasure reading your silver analysis.
Brian Boutilier
...
written by brian boutilier, September 01, 2010
Well played sir, well played.

Write comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy

Latest Commentary

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Latest Comments

Disclaimer:

BullionBullsCanada.com is not a registered investment advisor - Stock information is for educational purposes ONLY. Bullion Bulls Canada does not make "buy" or "sell" recommendations for any company. Rather, we seek to find and identify Canadian companies who we see as having good growth potential. It is up to individual investors to do their own "due diligence" or to consult with their financial advisor - to determine whether any particular company is a suitable investment for themselves.

Login Form