Friday, October 14, 2016

Guest post: The gold manipulation silliness continues

I love ZeroHedge. Really. They provide information that typically you cannot find elsewhere, and they give much importance to the Austrian School. Many valuable bloggers can publish their posts there and you can learn a lot.
Nevertheless, they have been shouting at the end of the financial world for years, and sometimes, in order to produce counterinformation (or contra-information), they go a bit too far with the "contra"part.

In this post, originally posted here, Steve Seville simply shows that sometimes there is no gold "manipulation"in the way many commentators propose, and the explanations for the recent downward movement of gold futures and gold mining stocks are simply related to US bond markets and expectations on the American bond yields in the future.
Let's be clear: every market is rigged. Just think about the recent Libor scandal. Nevertheless, this does not mean that since gold is the ultimate money, as many repeat like a mantra, every time that the price of gold drops there must be manipulation, while if the price goes up, then there is no manipulation.
Of course, we are moving into a world of negative interest rates, so it is my opinion that, on the long run,  the gold is a kind of protection against the loss of money you get into if you keep your money in a bank, or if the faith in the central banks start to deteriorate or if we enter into hyperinflation. In any case, these changes do not come all of a sudden (wars or alien invasions excluded) so it is a waste of time to think about hyperinflation risks right now, or the imminent collapse of the modern State as we know it.


Not surprisingly, one of the silliest explanations for last week’s sharp decline in the gold price appeared in an article posted at the Zero Hedge web site. According to this article, the only plausible explanation for the decline is rampant manipulation while China’s markets were closed for the “Golden Week” public holidays*.
In an effort to prove that manipulators in the West routinely take advantage of China’s markets being closed to suppress the gold price, the article includes charts covering the 2015 and 2014 “Golden Week” holiday periods. These charts suggest that, as was the case this year, the gold price tanked during each of the preceding two years when China was closed for business. However, the charts are very misleading. Deliberately so, in my opinion.
For example, the following chart from the article suggests that the gold price plunged from the $1140s to around $1105 during the 2015 “Golden Week” holidays and then quickly recouped its losses after China’s markets re-opened, but that’s not the case. The “Golden Week” is from 1st to 7th October every year, so what actually happened was that the gold price fell from the $1140′s down to around $1115 during the days leading up to the 2015 “Golden Week” (while China was open for business) and then rebounded to the $1140s while China was on holiday.

During the 2014 “Golden Week” holiday period there was no net change in the gold price.
The belief that manipulation is the be-all-and-end-all of the gold market is based on two false premises. The first is that the fundamentals are always gold-bullish. The second is that when financial markets are free from manipulation they always move in concert with the fundamentals. If you hold these two totally-wrong beliefs then every time there is a significant decline in the gold price you will naturally conclude that manipulation was the cause.
The reality is that gold’s true fundamentals have been deteriorating since July and that the pace of deterioration picked up over the past three weeks. At the same time, speculators in gold futures were adding to the risk of a steep downward price adjustment by stubbornly maintaining an extremely high net-long position.
The following chart compares the gold price with the bond/dollar ratio. The fundamental deterioration and the delayed response of the gold market can clearly be seen on this chart.

Gold market participants and observers who were looking at the right indicators (bold is mine) will not have been surprised by last week’s price decline.
*China is apparently the bastion of honest price discovery in the gold market and corrupt Western bankers apparently wait for the Chinese to go on vacation before launching their bear raids.

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