The Global “Fractional” Paper Bullion Market Is Collapsing
MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2013
I wrote last week that there was a scramble going on globally by entities seeking to take physical possession of the gold on which they have a legal claim, most of which is sitting either in alleged “allocated” big bank bullion vaults or in alleged “allocated” accounts in Comex custodial warehouse vaults.
I also demonstrated mathematically, using the reported numbers on the CME website for precious metals futures open interest and warehouse gold/silver stocks, that the amount of gold represented by Comex futures open interest far exceeds the amount of deliverable gold on the Comex (the analysis is even more extreme for silver). In fact, if less than just 10% of the buyers of June gold contracts demand delivery, the Comex won’t have enough gold to cover the legal claims. For silver (July silver) it’s even more extreme.
This is a global problem and not just endemic to the Comex. Globally, the legal claim of ownership on physical gold far exceeds the amount of gold represented by paper futures, LMBA forward contracts, leased gold and vault receipts. The latter – vault receipts – is where the big banks in London have the most severe problem, as gold this is supposed to be sitting in “allocated” accounts under the name of the legal owner who bought and paid for those bars has been largely leased out. I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, I received this comment from John Brimelow’s “Gold Jottings” report, which comes from Gerhard Schubert, head of Precious Metals at Emirates NBD, the largest banking group in the Middle East. Keep in mind that Middle Eastern buyers demand physical delivery of their gold. Here’s the quote from his latest weekly report:
I have not seen in my 35 years in precious metals such a determined and strong global physical demand for gold. The UAE physical markets have been cleared out by buyers from all walks of life. The premiums, which have been asked for and which have been paid have been the cornerstone of the gold price recovery. It is very rare that physical markets can have a serious impact on market prices, which are normally driven solely by derivatives and futures contracts…
I did speak during the week with several refineries in the world, of course including the UAE refineries, and the waiting period for 995 kilo bars is easily 2-3 weeks and goes into June in some cases. A large portion of the 995 kilo bars in the UAE goes normally into the Indian market, but a lot of the available 995 kilo bars are destined for Turkey, at this time. We heard that premiums paid in Turkey have reached anything between US $ 20 and US $ 35 per ounce.