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World Gold Council
29 апреля, 01:43

Bank of England Gold Vaults Bled 1500 Tonnes of Gold over 2013-2016 New Data Shows

Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com An article in February on BullionStar’s website titled “A Chink of Light into London’s Gold Vaults?” discussed an upcoming development in the London Gold Market, namely that both the Bank of England (BoE) and the commercial gold vault providers in London planned to begin publishing regular data on the quantity of physical gold actually stored in their gold vaults. Critically, this physical gold stored at both the Bank of England vaults and the commercial London vaults underpins the gargantuan trading volumes of the London Gold Market and the same market’s ‘liquidity’. Therefore, a new vault holdings dataset would be a very useful reference point for relating to London’s ‘gold’ trading volumes as well as relating to data such as the level and direction of the gold price, the volume of gold held in gold-backed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), UK gold import and export statistics, and Swiss and Hong Kong gold imports and exports. The impending publication of this new gold vault data was initially signalled by two sources. Firstly, in early February, the Financial Times (FT) wrote a story claiming that the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) planned to begin publishing 3 month lagged physical gold storage data for the entire London gold vaulting network, that would, according to the FT: “show gold bars held by the BoE, the gold clearing banks, and those [vaults] operated by the security companies such as Brink’s, which are also members of the LBMA.” The “gold clearing banks” are the bullion bank members of London Precious Metals Clearing Limited (LPMCL), namely, HSBC, JP Morgan, ICBC Standard Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia – Scotia Mocatta, and UBS. HSBC and JP Morgan operate precious metals vaults in London. See profile of JP Morgan’s London vault and a discussion of the HSBC vault . ICBC Standard Bank also maintains a vault in London which is operated on its behalf by Brinks. There are 4 security companies with their own vaults in London, namely, Malca Amit, Loomis, Brinks and G4S. Therefore, including the Bank of England, there are 8 custodians with gold vaults in London that comprise the LBMA gold vaulting network. The second publication to address the new gold vault data was the World Gold Council. On 16 February, addressing just the Bank of England vaults, the World Gold Council wrote in its Gold Investor publication that: “The Bank of England is, for the first time, publishing monthly data revealing the amount of gold it holds on behalf of other central banks.” “The data reveals the total weight of gold held within the Bank of England’s vaults and includes five years of historical data.” While I had been told by a media source that the London vault data would be released in the first quarter of 2017, at the time of writing, there is still no sign of any LBMA vault holdings data covering the commercial vault operators in London. However, the Bank of England has now gone ahead and independently released its own numbers covering gold held in the Bank of England gold vaults. These gold vaults, of which there are between 8 – 10 (the number fluctuates), are located on the 2 basement levels of the Bank of England headquarters in the City of London. In an updated web page on the Bank of England’s website simply titled ‘Gold’, the Bank of England has now added a section titled ‘Bank of England Gold Holdings’ and has uploaded an Excel spreadsheet which contains end-of-month gold holdings data covering every month for a 6-year + period up to the end of January 2017, i.e. every month from January 2011 to December 2016 i.e. 72 months. Note that as of 28 April, this dataset has also been updated to include month-end January 2017 data, so is now a dataset of 73 months. Bank of England ‘show vault’ According to the Bank of England, the data in the spreadsheet shows: “the weight of gold held in custody on the last business day of each month. We publish the data with a minimum three-month lag. Values are given in thousands of fine troy ounces. Fine troy ounces denote only the pure gold content of a bar. We only accept bars which comply with London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) London Good Delivery (LGD) standards. LGD bars must meet a certain minimum fineness and weight. A typical gold bar weighs around 400 oz. Historic data on our gold custody holdings can be found in our Annual Report.” Prior to this spreadsheet becoming available, the Bank of England only ever divulged gold vault quantity data once a year within its Annual Report, for year-end reporting date end of February. You will appreciate that the new spreadsheet, having data for every month of the year, and for 72 months of data retrospectively, conveys a lot more information than having just one snapshot number per year in an annual report. Therefore, the Bank of England has gone some way towards improving transparency in this area. Before looking at the new data and what it reveals, it’s important to know what this data relates to. The Bank of England provides gold custody (storage) services to both central banks and a number of large commercial banks. Large commercial banks which trade gold are commonly known as bullion banks, and are mostly the high-profile and well-known investment banks. On its gold web page, the Bank highlights this fact – that it provides gold custody service to both central banks and commercial banks: “We provide safe custody for the United Kingdom’s gold reserves, and for other central banks. This supports financial stability by providing central banks with access to the liquidity of the London gold market. We also provide gold accounts to certain commercial firms that facilitate access for central banks to the London gold market.” In the London Gold Market, the word “liquidity” is a euphemism for gold loans, gold swaps, and gold trading including gold sales. This reference to central banks accessing the London Gold Market as being in some way supportive of ‘financial stability’ is also an eye-opener, since reading between the lines, the Bank of England is conceding that by accessing the London Gold Market’s “liquidity” via bullion banks, these central bank clients are either contributing to direct stabilisation of the gold price in some shape or form, or else are using their gold operations to raise foreign currencies for exchange rate intervention and/or system liquidity. But both routes are aiming at the same outcome. i.e. stability of the financial system. At the end of the day, the gold price has always been a barometer that central banks strive to keep a lid on and which they aim to stabilise or smoothen the gyrations of, given that the alternative – a freely formed and unmanipulated gold price – would thwart their coordination of fiat currency exchange rates, interest rates and inflation targets. Interestingly, in addition to the new spreadsheet of gold holdings data, the Bank of England gold web page now includes a link to a new 1 page ‘Gold Policy’ pdf document, which, looking at the pdf document’s properties, was only created on 30 January 2017. This document therefore also looks like it was written in conjunction with the new gold vault data rollout. The notion of central banks accessing the liquidity of the London Gold Market via bullion banks is further developed in this Gold Policy document also. The document is quite short and merely states the following: “GOLD ACCOUNTS AT THE BANK OF ENGLAND 1. The Bank primarily offers gold accounts to central bank customers. This is to support financial stability by providing central banks with secure custody for their gold reserves and access to the liquidity of the London gold market (particularly given the Bank’s location). 2. To facilitate, either directly or indirectly, access for central banks to the liquidity of the London gold market, the Bank will also consider providing gold accounts to certain commercial firms. In deciding whether to provide an account, the Bank will be guided by the following criteria. a. The firm’s day to day activities must support the liquidity of the London gold market.b. Specifically, the Bank may have regard to a number of factors including but not limited to: evidence of active or prospective trading with a central bank customer; or whether the firm has committed to honour buy and sell prices. 3. Access to a gold account remains at the sole discretion of the Bank. 4. The Bank will review this policy periodically.” The Vault Data Nick Laird has now produced a series of impressive charts of this new Bank of England data on his website GoldChartsRUS. Plotting the series of 72 months of gold holdings data over January 2011 to December 2016 yields the below chart. Bank of England custodial gold holdings: January 2011 – December 2016. Source www.GoldChartsRUS.com On average, the Bank’s vaults held 5457 tonnes of gold over this 6 year period. The minimum amount of gold held was 4693 tonnes at the end of March 2016, while the maximum quantity of gold held was 6250 tonnes at the end of February 2013. The overall trend in the chart is downward with a huge outflow of gold bars from the bank’s vaults from the end of February 2013 to the end of March 2016. As of January 2011, the BoE held just over 5500 tonnes of gold bars in its vaults. Gold holdings rose until the end of August 2011 and peaked at nearly 5900 tonnes before falling to 5600 tonnes at year-end 2011. Overall in 2011, the holdings fluctuated in a 400 tonne range, trending up during the first 8 months, and down during the latter 4 months. This downtrend only lasted until January 2012, at which point BoE gold holdings totalled about 5450 tonnes. For the remainder of 2012, BoE gold under custody rose sharply, reaching 6200 tonnes by the end of 2012, a level near the ultimate peak in this 6 year chart. The year 2012 was therefore a year of accumulation of gold bars at the Bank during which 750 tonnes were added. The overall maximum peak was actually 6250 tonnes at the end of February 2013, after which a sustained downtrend evolved through the remainder of 2013. By December 2013, gold under custody at the Bank of England had fallen to 5670 tonnes, creating an overall outflow of 580 tonnes of gold bars during 2013. The outflow of gold continued during 2014 with another 470 tonnes flowing out of the Bank, leading to end of year 2014 gold holdings of just 5200 tonnes. The outflow also continued all through 2015 with only 4780 tonnes of gold in custody at the end of December 2015. The Bank therefore lost another 440 tonnes  of gold bars in 2015. Overall, that makes an outflow of 1490 tonnes of gold from the Bank’s vaults over the 3 years from 2013 to 2015 inclusive. This downtrend lingered for 3 more months, with another 80 tonnes lost, which brought the end of March 2016 and end of April 2016 figures to a level of about 4700 tonnes, which is the overall trough on the chart. It also means that there was a net outflow of 1570 tonnes of gold bars from the Bank’s vaults from the end of February 2013 to the end of March / April 2016. A new uptrend / inflow trend began at the end of April 2016 and continued to the end of November 2016, where gold custody holdings peaked again at about 5123 tonnes before levelling off at the end of December 2016 at 5102 tonnes. Therefore, from the end of April 2016 to the end of December 2016, the Bank of England vaults added 400 tonnes of gold bars. The gold holdings of the vast majority of central banks have remained stagnant over the 2011 – 2016 period, the exceptions being the central banks of China and Russia. But Russia buys domestically mined gold and stores it in vaults in Moscow and St Petersburg, so this would not affect gold holdings at the Bank of England. China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), is known to buy its gold on the international market, including the London Gold Market. It then monetizes this gold (classifies it as monetary gold), and airlifts it back to China. But these Chinese purchases don’t show up in UK gold exports because monetary gold is exempt from trade statistics reporting. However, if China was surreptitiously buying gold from other central banks with gold accounts at the Bank of England or buying gold from bullion banks with gold accounts at the BoE, then some of the gold outflows from the BoE could be PBoC gold purchases. But without central bank specific data, its difficult to know. But what is probably true is that the fluctuations in the quantity of gold stored in the Bank of England vaults are more do to with the gold holdings of bullion banks and less to do with the gold holdings of central banks, for the simple reason that central bank gold holdings are relatively static, or the least the central banks claim that their gold holdings are static. This does not take into account the gold lending market which the central banks and bullion banks go to great lengths to keep secret. Bank of England custodial gold holdings and US Dollar Gold Price: January 2011 – December 2016. Source www.GoldChartsRUS.com There is also a noticeable positive correlation between the movement of the US Dollar gold price and the inflows/outflows of gold to and from the Bank of England vaults, as the above chart demonstrates. Bullion Bank gold accounts at the BoE One basic piece of information that the Bank of England’s new vault storage data lacks is an indication of how many central banks and how many commercial banks are represented in the data. In its first quarterly report from Q1 2014, the Bank of England states that 72 central banks operate gold accounts at the bank of England, a figure which includes a few official sector organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB), and Bank for International Settlements (BIS). This number would not have changed much in the meantime, so we can assume that the gold holdings of about 72 central banks are represented in the new data. But the number of commercial banks holding gold accounts at the Bank of England is less clear-cut. The 5 gold clearing banks of the LPMCL all hold gold accounts at the Bank of England. Why? Because it says so on the LPMCL website: “Each member of LPMCL has vaulting facilities under its control for the storage of gold and/or silver, plus in the case of gold bullion, account facilities at the Bank of England, which have contributed to the development of bullion clearing in London.” The LPMCL also states that its clearing statistics include: “Transfers over LPMCL Clearing Members’ accounts at the Bank of England.” Additionally, the LPMCL website states that their “clearing and vaulting services help facilitate physical precious metal movement logistics, location swaps, quality swaps and liquidity management.” See BullionStar article “Spotlight on LPMCL: London Precious Metals Clearing Limited” for a full profile of LPMCL. The Bank of England’s reference in its new ‘Gold Policy’ document to commercial banks needing to be “committed to honour buy and sell prices” is a reference to market makers and would cover all 13 LBMA market makers in gold, which are the 5 LPMCL members and also BNP Paribas, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank, Toronto-Dominion Bank. But there are also gold trading banks that make a market in gold which are not officially LBMA market makers, such as Commerzbank in Luxembourg which claims to be one of the biggest bullion banks in the world. So I would say that lots of other bullion banks (of which there about 40 in total) have gold accounts at the Bank of England in addition to the 13 official LBMA market makers. More fundamentally, any bullion bank that is engaged in gold lending with central banks (the central banks being the lenders and the bullion banks being the borrowers) would need a gold account at the Bank of England. I counted 28 bullion banks that have been involved with borrowing the gold of just one central bank, the central bank of Bolivia (Banco Central de Bolivia – BCB) between 1998 and 2016. Some of these banks have since merged or exited precious metals trading, but still, it gives an estimate of the number of bullion banks that have been involved in the gold lending market. The Banco Central de Bolivia’s gold lending activities will be covered in some forthcoming blog posts. Bullion banks that are Authorised Participants (APs) for gold-backed ETFs such as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) or iShares Gold Trust (IAU) may also have gold accounts at the Bank of England. I say may have, because in practice the APs leave it up to the custodians such as HSBC and JP Morgan to allocate or deallocate the actual physical gold flowing in and out of the ETFs, but HSBC on occasion uses the Bank of England as a sub-custodian for GLD gold (see “SPDR Gold Trust gold bars at the Bank of England vaults” for details), so if some of the APs want to keep their own stash of allocated physical gold in relation to ETF trading, it would make sense for them to have a gold account at the Bank of England. As to how much gold the GLD stores at the Bank of England and how regularly this occurs is still opaque because the SEC does not require the GLD filings to be very granular, however there is a very close correlation between inflows and outflows from GLD and the inflows and outflows from the Bank of England vaults, as the following chart clearly illustrates. Gold held in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and custody gold held at the Bank of England: January 2011 – December 2016. Source:www.GoldChartsRUS.com As gold was extracted from the GLD beginning in late 2012, a few months later the Bank of England gold holdings began to shrink also. This trend continues all the way through 2013, 2014 and 2015. Then as the amount of gold began to increase in the GLD at the end of 2015, the gold holdings at the Bank of England began to increase also. Could this be bullion banks extracting gold from the GLD, then holding this gold at the Bank of England and then subsequently exporting it out of the UK? Some of it could, but UK gold net exports figures suggest that gold was withdrawn from both the Bank of England vaults and from the ETF gold stored at commercial gold vaults (run by HSBC and JP Morgan), after which it was exported. Custody gold held at the Bank of England and UK gold imports and exports: January 2011 – December 2016. Source:www.GoldChartsRUS.com Looking at the above chart which plots Bank of England gold holdings and UK gold imports and exports (and net exports) is revealing. As Nick Laird points out in this chart, over the 2013 to 2015 period during which the Bank of England gold holdings fell by 1500 tonnes, there were UK net gold export flows of 2500 tonnes, i.e. 2500 tonnes of gold flowed out of London gold vaults, so an additional 1000 tonnes had to come from somewhere apart from the Bank of England vaults. Spot Checks The new monthly vault holdings data from the Bank of England can now also be compared to the amount of gold reported by the Bank of England in its annual reports. The figures the Bank reports in the annual report are as of the end of February. These figures are only reported in Pounds Sterling, not quantities, so they need to be either converted to USD and divided by the USD LBMA Gold Price on the last day of February, or else just divided by the GBP LBMA Gold Price on that day. In September 2015, I wrote the article “How many Good Delivery gold bars are in all the London Vaults?….including the Bank of England vaults”. This was followed by an October 2016 update titled “Tracking the gold held in London: An update on ETF and BoE holdings”. Both of these articles aimed to calculate how much gold was actually stored in the entire London gold vaulting network by looking at how much gold was held in custody in the Bank of England vaults and how much gold was held by ETFs in London. For end of February 2015, the calculated total for gold held at the Bank of England (based on the annual report) came out at 5,134 tonnes. Now the Bank of England data says 5126 tonnes which is very close to the calculation.  For February 2016, the calculation came out at 4725 tonnes.  The new Bank of England data now says  4730 tonnes, so that’s pretty close also. Conclusion This new Bank of England data is welcome and the Bank of England has taken a step towards greater transparency. However, it would be more useful if the Bank published a breakdown of how much of this gold is held by central banks and how much is held by bullion banks, along with the number of central banks and number of bullion banks that the data represents. Two distinct sets of data would be ideal, one for central bank custody holdings and the other for bullion bank custody holdings. The Bank most likely would never publish two sets of data as it would show bullion bank gold storage activity for the whole world to see. While the Bank of England has now followed through with its promise to publish its gold vault holdings, the LBMA has still not published gold vault data for the commercial gold vault providers, i.e. its members HSBC, JP Morgan, ICBC Standard Bank, Brinks, Malca Amit, Loomis and G4S. Where is this data, why is there a delay, and why has it not yet been published? As a reminder, the Financial Times article in early February said that the LBMA would publish gold vault holdings data that would: “show gold bars held by the BoE, the gold clearing banks, and those [vaults] operated by the security companies such as Brink’s” The Financial Times article also said that: “HSBC and JPMorgan, London’s biggest bullion banks, are backing the initiatives by the LBMA to improve transparency.” With the gold holdings data on the other London vaults still not published, it begs the question, has there been a change of mind by HSBC and JP Morgan, two of the LBMA’s largest and most powerful members? The vaulting page of the LBMA’s website could also do with an update since currently it erroneously says: “Reputedly [the Bank of England vaults are] the second largest vault in the world with approximately 500,000 gold bars held in safe custody on behalf of its customers, including LBMA members, central banks, international financial institutions and Her Majesty’s Treasury.” A holding of 500,000 Good Delivery gold bars is equal to 6250 tonnes. However, according to the Bank of England’s own figure for month end January 2017, the Bank of England only holds 5085 tonnes of gold in custody (~ 406,800 Good Delivery gold bars). Therefore, the LBMA is overstating the Bank of England’s holdings by 1165 tonnes, unless, and it’s highly unlikely, that the BoE vaults have seen huge gold bar inflows in the last 3 months. This article first appeared on the BullionStar.com website as "Bank of England releases new data on its gold vault holdings".

27 апреля, 22:47

What Does the Elemetal Scandal Say About Gold Prices - Update 1

What Does Elemetal Imply for Precious Metals? Gold smuggling accounts for up to 75% of all LATAM Gold imported in the US Disruption of this augmented Gold supply is Bullish for Gold Elemetal is running for corporate cover No-one cares UPDATE 1 - DGSE a publicly traded retailer, just signed an LOI to buy Elemetal, LLC. It gets better. DGSE is #2 on the S&P list of likely retailers to default. Wait, there's more.  Elemetal is actually majority shareholder in DGSE.  Essentially, Elemetal, which controls DGSE would rather default, then have the real depths of its activities revealed. Details and Elemetal structure at bottom. Gold Supply Augmented with illegal Supply via the Soren K.Group and Marketslant In the past decade and a half, global gold consumption has risen by almost 1,000 tons a year, to about 4,300 tons, according to the World Gold Council, a London-based industry group. Legal mining operations haven’t kept up with demand, so illegal mines controlled by criminal gangs, from the Amazon to central Africa, help cover the deficit, according to Verité, a nonprofit group in Amherst, Mass., that’s researched the illegal gold trade. A 2016 Verité study found that five countries in Latin America shipped 40 tons of gold from illegal mines to the U.S. in one year, almost twice the legal exports from those countries. pdf here  ? Simply put: Elemetal's Sources of metal for refinement were illegal. This implies higher prices via loss of black market source discounts and raw supply that was artificially augmented. Florida is (still)  the source of all our woes. Bloomberg will GLADLY cover the Gold Scandal, but not the Supply/ Demand implications.    The Press Demonizes Gold More  GOLD, SCANDAL, EVIL, DRUGS - buy stocks: We searched the web but were hard pressed for a single Bloomberg article that states the obvious: This implies Gold demand is outstripping legitimate supply and is bullish for prices. We find this annoying since Bloomberg is the primary source for the info above.  Bloomberg: The charges signal a U.S. crackdown on smugglers exploiting a spike in worldwide consumption of gold mined illegally in the Amazon basin, where laborers use fire hoses and mercury to extract the nearly pure precious metal. Note in the above that gold buyers are exploited. Gold is tied to drugs and  illegal activity. It is true in this case, but the implications aren't bad for Gold. As  they demonize cash to eradicate it, Gold is now being tied to crime. This is typical, and it is a canard utilized to steer you away from an investment tool that cannot be branded or properly securitized yet.  Have you ever read an article saying "Drug Traffickers used US Bearer Bonds to hide their money. Be careful of US Bonds, they could be illegally obtained!"  There is a phrase in the trader community that goes like this: Gold miners and Gold are not in the  FOB club. (Friend of Bloomberg) ? Interactive chart HERE The Illegal Venezuelan Oil for Bonds Trade Meanwhile we are pretty sure that Venezuelan officials have made illegal sales of oil cargoes, purchased US Bonds with the cash  through accounts in the Caribbean and those bonds are now being held in custodial accounts at US Banks for their later benefit.  It goes like this. A Venezuelan dictator who is in danger of losing control must solidify his military support. so he tells a general, "See that tanker over there? It's a gift to you. Keep the money that the oil sells for". General does just that, and exports that cash to the U.S. The dictator lives to rule another day.  How do we know? One of our group was asked to retrieve some of those US held bonds for a South American military official probably getting ready to skate out of Venezuela. We had actually reported this to US officials, and have heard nothing since. It is rampant. And it is electronic. And those bonds are in US banks.  But Gold? That inert yellow pet rock? It is a means to launder drug money.  ? So if illegal gold production is rampant in Latin America, and in several countries, unregulated illegal and informal mines account for over 75 percent of gold produced as the Verite report states; Why is this not being addressed? Where are Crocket and Tubbs when you need them? Why hasn't this been stopped? Aren't we supposed to follow the money to catch smugglers? How hard can it be to catch money that conspicuous?  Maybe it is because we want Gold prices to be low. Maybe some banks benefit from this. That is not crazy when one realizes that HSBC got its start in the Opium trade. Maybe They  Want The Cheap Gold to Keep Flowing To put a finer point on things. There is a historical correlation between supply disruptions in commodities and price increases. Studies from as far back as Victorian era England consistently find that a 5% disruption in supply of a product with no change in demand creates roughly a temporary 20% increase in price. To be fair, temporary supply disruption varies in its effect on immediate prices depending on the product disrupted. But by many measures, gold is a Giffen good. So what would happen if all of a sudden 75% of all the LATAM gold produced were unavailable for purchase?  Recent examples would be the manipulation of Natural gas supply to California by Enron et al, and the subsequent price spikes. Another would be the short lived Oil shock of 2007- 08. How crazy is it that upwards of 75% of LATAM gold is illegally mined, much of it used for drug money laundering, it weighs a ton, and the US has not cracked down on it? But we are all over Blood Diamonds, which are infinitely easier to smuggle than 100 lbs of gold right?  So the Elemetal fiasco is telling of a bigger issue. That gold supplies are augmented with illegally procured metal. And no one cares. Elemetal doesn't seem to care   Elemetal Moves Forward... kind of Here is the most recent Letter coming from Elemetal. It is actually a marketing piece.  Dear valued Elemetal Capital customer,Elemetal Capital will be performing an inventory audit over the next 14-21 days. We kindly ask for your cooperation by not making any new bullion sales to Elemetal Capital or sending any material to us during this time.Your in-transit packages and sales booked to Elemetal Capital before this notice of inventory will be priced as agreed.Material shipped to us after this notice and during the limited audit period, however, (including private-mint bars, rounds, sovereign mint coins, standard-recognized bullion) will be forwarded to our scrap channels for lock-in at the following scrap rates:Metal Elemetal BuyGold 99% of fine contentSilver 95% of fine contentPlatinum 95% of fine contentPalladium 95% of fine content Please note that the usual scrap business of Elemetal Direct is unaffected by this Elemetal Capital inventory.We'll announce very soon when we will resume accepting bullion at market rates.All the best,Elemetal Capital CME Group and the London Bullion Market Association had suspended Elemetal Refining LLC last week from trading gold and silver futures on its exchanges. Why are these people even allowed to be in business? Silver Doctors have been all over this from day 1. in fact they have been all over this type of risk from day negative100 Via Silverdoctors.com Federal Agents have arrested NTR Metals Manager Juan Granda, the self-proclaimed “Modern-Day Pablo Escobar” of Gold over charges the US Gold & Silver Firm smuggled $BILLIONS of illegally mined gold into the US: As Bloomberg reports, NTR Metals Company Manager Juan Granda has now been arrested and charged: The operations manager at a metals-refining company was charged with helping run a gold smuggling network that reaped billions of dollars for illegal mines controlled by drug dealers and other criminals in South America. Officials believe NTR smuggled nearly $4 Billion in illegally mined gold beginning in 2012.. full story HERE In 2013, Peru seized $18 million worth of gold bound for refineries in Miami and elsewhere, including NTR. The rest "got away" we guess? What is Going on Here? South American smugglers and drug traffickers laundered money through sales of illegally mined gold from the Amazon rain forest. They sold it to NTR personnel in Latin America. The NTR people through various transactions laundered their purchases in other South American countries as the gold made its way to the U.S. Some of that gold then entered the U.S. via "legitimate  Florida businessmen" acting as a final intermediary for the laundering process. Violetas: Florida Gold Laundromat? Bloomberg “Virtually all of the gold NTR purchased from Ecuador, including the gold from Spartan del Ecuador, was routed through an intermediary company, MVP Imports,” according to the U.S. complaints. U.S. customs records show MVP Imports as the importer, “masking” NTR’s role as the “ultimate purchaser” of the gold, the prosecutors said. More here MVP Imports: a high end knickknack store for the rich in Coral Gables may actually be a  laundromat. The company is  run by a prominent businessman in Florida, that is accused of being listed in customs records as the buyer of much of the smuggled gold NTR bought, masking the fact that NTR bought it.  What is NTR and what does that have to do with  Elemetal ? Elemetal is the parent company of NTR. The list below is believed to be accurate: This is a list of many/most of the Elemetal-related companies (including both corporations and names they do business as). Some are likely no longer operating; many of the "NTR" companies are likely now operating as Elemetal. Deceive, Obfuscate, Inveigle Inc. Echo Environmental Waverly LLC (subsidiary of Elemetal LLC) Elemetal Capital, LLC (wholesale trading of physical, derivatives, Forex) Elemetal Diamond, LLC (diamonds) Elemetal Direct (described as recycling/refining, and direct-to-customer locations, and NTR Metals) Elemetal Direct Americas, LLC (was NTR Metals (Americas), LLC until June, 2015) Elemetal Direct USA, LLC Elemetal Fabrication, LLC (was Pete's Custom Metal, Inc., then NTR Custom Metals, LLC) Elemetal Insurance and Logistics, LLC (unknown) Elemetal Management (unknown) Elemetal Mint (private minting of bars/coins) Elemetal Minting, LLC (perhaps Elemetal Mint is a DBA of this LLC?) Elemetal Online (Provident Metals) Elemetal Recycling, LLC (processing electronic waste; was Echo Enivironmental) Elemetal Refining, LLC (was OPM Metals, a/k/a Ohio Precious Metals) Elemetal USA, LLC (unknown purpose) Elemetal Vault (vault service, trading) Provident Precious Metals, LLC NTR NTR Bullion Group, LLC (owned by NTR Metals, LLC; handled physical metals transactions) NTR Futures (owned by NTR Metals, LLC; handled futures contracts) NTR Metals (d/b/a only?) NTR Metals, LLC NTR Metals (Americas), LLC (now Elemetal Direct Americas; Sam Lewis, President) NTR Metals Belgium Holdings, LLC NTR Metals Canada Ltd. (dissolved 18 Jul 2013) CI NTR Metals Colombia S.A.S. (founded 24 Aug 2011) NTR Metals Europe, LLC NTR Metals Group, LLC NTR Metals HK Ltd NTR Metals (Hong Kong) Limited (started October 2009) NTR Metals International, LLC NTR Metals Investments, LLC NTR Metals (UK) Ltd. (is/was wholly owned by NTR Metals International, LLC) NTR Metals Latin America (parent company of NTR Metals Zona Franca S.A.S; President Mr. Barrage) NTR Metals Miami, LLC NTR Metals Pacific Rim, LLC NTR Metals Real Estate, LLC (appears to own 10720 Composite Drive, Dallas) NTR Metals South America, LLC NTR Metals Texas, LLC NTR Metals USA, LLC NTR Metals West, LLC NTR Metals Zona Franca S.A.S. (Columbia; subsidiary of Elemetal, LLC) DGSE Companies, Inc. (Elemetal is a majority shareholder; had 69 employees as of December 31, 2015) Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange, Inc. (9 stores around Dallas; now just 4?) Charleston Gold & Diamond Exchange, Inc. (1 store in Mount Pleasant, SC) Fairchild International (wholesale watches; website not responding 14 Mar 2017) Southern Bullion a/k/a Southern Bullion Coin & Jewelry (defunct; acquired in 2011 with 23 locations) SBT, Inc. (Southern Bullion Trading, related to Southern Bullion Coin & Jewelry, Inc.; was owned by NTR) U.S. Bullion Exchange (DGSE Company's online trading 'arm').   Florida...Climate change can't swallow it fast enough Good Luck UPDATE 1:  DGSE is a retailer in serious trouble itself.  Posted today are the S&P Top Ten Retailers at Risk of Default per the WSJ.  DGSE takes second place. Somehow, we doubt the complicated structures and the DGSE buyout aren't to make things more transparent for investigators   Sears Holdings (SHLD -3.5%) with a 23.84% probability of default. DGSE Companies (DGSE -1.2%) Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCI -1.1%), DGSE Companies, Inc. (NYSE MKT:DGSE) (“DGSE” or the “Company”), a leading wholesaler and retailer of jewelry, diamonds, fine watches, and precious metal bullion and rare coin products, today announced that it has entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent with Elemetal, LLC (“Elemetal”) to acquire the tangible personal-property assets of Elemetal and Elemetal Recycling, LLC (“Recycling”) at 2101 W. Belt Line Road, Carrollton, Texas, the equipment at 10707 Composite Drive, Dallas, and certain accounts receivable of Recycling. The total estimated cash proceeds to Elemetal and Recycling from the sale and from the payment by DGSE of approximately $3.8 million of obligations owed by DGSE to Elemetal is $19.8 million. In addition, DGSE would assume certain accounts payable of Recycling.

25 апреля, 15:09

Sweden’s Gold Reserves: 10,000 gold bars (pet rocks) shrouded in Official Secrecy

Submitted by Ronan Manly, Bullionstar.com In February 2017 while preparing for a presentation in Gothenburg about central bank gold, I emailed Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, enquiring whether the Riksbank physically audits Sweden’s gold and whether it would provide me with a gold bar weight list of Sweden’s gold reserves (gold bar holdings). The Swedish official gold reserves are significant and amount to 125.7 tonnes, making the Swedish nation the world’s 28th largest official gold holder. Before looking at the questions put to the Riksbank and the Riksbank’s responses, some background information is useful. Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank aka Riksbanken or Riksbank, has the distinction of being the world’s oldest central bank (founded in 1668). The bank is responsible for the administration of Swedish monetary policy and the issuance of the Swedish currency, the Krona. Since Sweden is a member of the EU, the Riksbank is a member of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), but since Sweden does not use the Euro, the Riksbank is not a central bank member of the European Central Bank (ECB). Therefore the Riksbank has a degree of independence that ECB member central banks lack, but still finds itself under the umbrella of the ESCB. Since it issues its own currency, the Riksbank is responsible for the management of the Swedish Krona exchange rate against other currencies, a task which should be borne in mind while reading the below. On 28 October 2013, the Riksbank for the first time revealed the storage locations of its gold reserves via publication of the following list of five storage locations (four of these locations are outside Sweden) and the percentage and gold tonnage stored at each location: Bank of England               61.4 tonnes (48.8%) Bank of Canada               33.2 tonnes (26.4%) Federal Reserve Bank   13.2 tonnes (10.5%) Swiss National Bank        2.8 tonnes (2.2%) Sveriges Riksbank         15.1 tonnes (12.0%) The storage locations of Sweden’s official Gold Reserves: Total 125.7 tonnes Nearly half of Sweden’s gold is stored at the Bank of England in London. Another quarter of the Swedish gold is supposedly stored with the Bank of Canada. The Bank of Canada’s gold vault was located under it’s headquarters building on Wellington Street in Ottawa. However, this Bank of Canada building has undergone a complete renovation and has been completely empty for a number of years, so wherever Sweden’s gold is in Ottawa, it has not been in the Bank of Canada’s gold vault for the last number of years. Three other central banks claim to hold gold with the Bank of Canada. Thes are the central banks of Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Swedish gold in Canada (along with gold holdings owned by the Swiss, Dutch and Belgians) could, however, have been moved to the Royal Canadian Mint’s vault which is also in Ottawa. Bank of Canada staff are now moving back into the Wellington Street building this year. But is the Swedish (and Swiss, Dutch and Belgian) gold moving back also or does it even exist? The location of the Swedish gold in Ottawa is therefore a mystery and is something the Swedish population should be concerned about. Just over 10% of the Swedish gold is supposedly held in the famous (infamous) Manhattan gold vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) under the 33 Liberty building. Given the complete lack of cooperation of the FRBNY in ever answering any questions about foreign gold holdings in this vault, then good luck to Swedish citizens in trying to ascertain that gold’s whereabouts or even convincing the Riksbank to repatriate that gold. A very tiny 2% of Swedish gold is also listed as being held with the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The SNB gold vault is in Berne under its headquarters building on Bundesplatz. The Riksbank also claims to hold 15.1 tonnes of its gold (12%) in its own storage, i.e. stored domestically in Sweden. Interestingly, on 30 October 2013, just two days after the Riksbank released details of its gold storage locations, Finland’s central bank in neighbouring Helsinki, the Bank of Finland, also released the storage locations of its 49 tonnes gold reserves in a move which looks to have been coordinated with the Riksbank. The Bank of Finland claims its 49 tonnes of gold is spread out as follows: 51% at the Bank of England, 20% at the Riksbank in Sweden, 18% at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 7% in Switzerland at the Swiss National Bank and 4% held in Finland by the Bank of Finland. This means that not only is the Riksbank supposedly storing 15.1 tonnes of Swedish gold, it also apparently is also storing 9.8 tonnes of Finland’s gold, making a grand total of 24.9 tonnes of gold stored with the Riksbank. The storage location of this 24.9 tonnes gold is unknown, but one possibility suggested by the Swedish blogger Cornucopia (Lars Wilderäng) is that this gold is being stored in the recently built Riksbank cash management building beside Stockholm’s Arlanda International Airport, a building which was completed in 2012. On its website, the Riksbank states that its 125.7 tonnes of gold “is equivalent to around 10,000 gold bars”. A rough rule of thumb is that 1 tonne of gold consists of 80 Good Delivery Bars. These Good Delivery Gold gold bars are wholesale market gold bars which, although they are variable weight bars, usually each weigh in the region of 400 troy ounces or 12.5 kilograms. Hence 125.7 tonnes is roughly equal to 125.7 * 80 bars = 10,056 bars, which explains where the Riksbank gets its 10,000 gold bar total figure from. Using Gold for Foreign Exchange Interventions On another page on its web site titled ‘Gold and Foreign Currency Reserve’, the Riksbank is surprisingly open about the uses to which it puts its gold holdings, uses such as foreign exchange interventions and emergency liquidity: “The gold and foreign currency reserve can primarily be used to provide emergency liquidity assistance to banks, to fulfil Sweden’s share of the international lending of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to intervene on the foreign exchange market, if need be.” This is not a misprint and is not a statement that somehow only applies to the ‘foreign currency reserve’ component of the reserves, since the same web page goes on to specifically say that: “The gold can be used to fund emergency liquidity assistance or foreign exchange interventions, among other things.” Therefore, the Riksbank is conceding that at least some of its gold is actively used in central bank operations and that this gold does not merely sit in quiet unencumbered storage. On the contrary, this gold at times has additional claims and titles attached to it due to being loaned or swapped. When the Riksbank revealed its gold storage locations back in October 2013, this news was covered by a number of Swedish media outlets, one of which was the Stockholm-based financial newspaper Dagens Industri, commonly known as DI. DI’s article on the topic, published in Swedish with a title translated as “Here is the Swedish Gold“,  also featured a series of questions and answers from personnel from the Riksbank asset management department. Some of these answers are worth highlighting here as they touch on the active management of the Swedish gold and also the shockingly poor auditing of the Swedish gold. In the DI article, Göran Robertsson, Deputy Head of Riksbank’s asset management department, noted that historically the Swedish gold was stored at geographically diversified locations for security reasons, but that this same geographic distribution is now primarily aimed at facilitating the rapid exchange of Swedish gold for major foreign currencies, hence the reason that nearly half of the Swedish gold is held in the Bank of England gold vaults – since the Bank of England London vaults are where gold swaps and gold loans take place. Robertsson noted that over the 2008-2009 period, 50 tonnes of gold Swedish gold located at the Bank of England was exchanged for US dollars:  “London is the dominant international marketplace for gold. We used the gold 2008-2009 during the financial crisis when we switched it to the dollar we then lent to Swedish banks” One of these Riskbank gold-US Dollar swap transaction was also referenced in a 2011 World Gold Council report on gold market liquidity. This report stated that in 2008 following the Lehman collapse: “In order to be able to provide liquidity to the Scandinavian banking system, the Swedish Riksbank utilised its gold reserves by swapping some of its gold to obtain dollar liquidity before it was able to gain access to the US dollar swap facilities with the Federal Reserve.”  In the October 2013 DI interview, Göran Robertsson also noted that at some point following this gold – dollar exchange, “the size of the reserve was restored“, which presumably means that the Riksbank received back 50 tonnes of gold. As to whether the restoration of the gold holdings was the exact same 50 tonnes of gold as had been previously held (the same  gold bars) is not clear. Sophie Degenne, Head of the Riksbank’s asset management department, also noted that: “The main purpose of the gold and foreign exchange reserves is to use it when needed, as in the financial crisis” Auditing of the Swedish Gold On the subject of so-called transparency and auditing of the gold, Sophie Degenne said the following in the same DI interview: “Why do you reveal at which central banks the gold is located? It is a part of the Riksbank endeavours to be as transparent as we can. We have engaged in dialogue with the relevant central banks” How do you verify that the gold is really where it should be? “We have our own listings of where it is. We reconcile these against extracts that we receive once a year. From now on, we will also start with our own inspections.” Therefore, the Riksbank gold auditing procedure at that time was one of merely comparing one piece of paper to another piece of paper and in no way involved physically auditing the gold bars in any of the foreign locations. These weak audit methods of the Swedish gold were first highlighted by Liberty Silver CEO, Mikael From in Stockholm-based news daily Aftonbladet’s coverage of the Swedish gold storage locations in an article in early November 2013 titled “Questions about Sweden’s gold reserves persist“. In Aftonbladet’s article, Mikael From stated that while it was welcome that the Riksbank was at that point signalling an ambition to inspect the Swedish gold reserves, it was not clear that the Riksbank would be conducting a proper audit of the gold reserves at the time of inspection, although such a proper audit would be highly desirable. Mikael stated that without such a proper audit, and without witnessing the gold with their own eyes, the Riksbank and the Swedish State could not be certain that the Swedish gold actually existed. He also called for the Riksbank to provide information proving that the Swedish gold actually exists in its claimed storage locations. This was particulaly important due to a portion of the Swedish gold supposedly being stored at the gold vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NYFED), a storage location which had in the past been non-cooperative and problematic for the German Federal Court of Auditors when they tried to examine the NYFED’s storage arrangements in 2011/2012. Questions to the Swedish Riksbank – February 2017 Turning now to the questions which I posed to the Swedish Riksbank in early February 2017 about its gold reserves. I asked the Riskbank two basic and simple questions as follows: “I am undertaking research into central bank gold reserves, including the gold reserves held by the Riksbank at its 5 storage facilities.  1. Are the gold bars held by the Riksbank in its foreign storage facilities physically audited by the Riksbank (i.e. stored at Bank of England, Bank of Canada, Federal Reserve New York and Swiss National Bank)? In other words, does the Riksbank have a physical audit program for this gold? 2. Secondly, would the Riksbank be able to send me a gold bar weight list which shows the gold bar holdings details for the 125.7 tonnes of gold held by the Riksbank. A weight list being the industry standard list showing bar brand (refiner), serial number, gross weight, fineness, fine weight etc. A few days after I submitted my questions, the Presschef/Chief Press Officer of the Riksbank responded as follows. On the subject of auditing: “Answer 1: Yes, the Riksbank performs regularly physical audits of its gold.“ In response to the question about a gold bar weight list, the Chief Press Officer said: Answer 2: The Riksbank publishes information about where the gold is stored and how much in tonnes is at each place. See table (same distribution table as above). However, the Riksbank does not publish weight lists or other details of the gold holdings.“ So here we have the Riksbank claiming that it personally now performs physical audits of its gold on a regular basis. This is the first time in the public domain, as far as I know, that the Riksbank is claiming to have undertaken physical gold audits of its gold holdings, and it goes beyond the 2013 statement from the Riksbank’s Sophie Degenne when she said “we will also start with our own inspections“. But critically ,there was zero proof offered by the Riksbank to me, or on its website, that it has undertaken any physical gold audits. There is no documentation or evidence whatsoever that any physical audits have ever been conducted on any of the 10,000 gold bars in any of the 5 supposed storage locations that the Riksbank claims to store gold bars at. Contrast this to the bi-annual physical audits which are carried out on the gold bars in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) which are published on the GLD website. In any other industry, there would be an outcry and court cases and litigation if an entity claimed it had conducted audits while offering no proof of said audits. However, in the world of central banking, perversely, this secrecy is allowed to persist. This is outrageous to say the least and Swedish citizens should be very concerned about this lack of transparency of the Swedish gold reserves. Official Secrecy about Swedish Gold Reserves Given the brief and not very useful Riksbank responses to my 2 questions above, I sent a follow on email to the Riksbank asking why the Swedish central bank did not publish a gold bar weight list. My question was as follows: “Is there any specific reason why the Riksbank does not publish a gold bar weight list in the way, for example, that a gold-backed ETF does publish such a weight list every trading day? i.e. Why is the Riksbank not transparent about its gold bar holdings?” This second email was answered by the Riksbank Head of Communications, as follows: “This kind of information is covered by secrecy relating to foreign affairs, as well as security secrecy and surveillance secrecy in accordance with the relevant provisions in the Swedish Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act. As far as we are aware of, the Riksbank is among the most transparent central banks, being public with information about the storage locations and volumes, but do let us know if any other central banks are offering the level of transparency you are asking for (except for Germany of course, which we are aware about).” So here you can see here that gold, which in the words of the Wall Street Journal is just a ‘Pet Rock’, is covered by some very strong secrecy laws in Sweden. Why would a pet rock need ultra strong secrecy laws? An explanatory document on Sweden’s “Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act” can be accessed here. In Sweden, the rules governing public access to official documents are covered by the Freedom of the Press Act. While its beyond topic to go into the details of Swedish secrecy laws right now, there is a short section in the document titled “What official documents may be kept secret?” (Section 2.2) which includes the following: “The Freedom of the Press Act lists the interests that may be protected by keeping official documents secret: National security or Sweden’s relations with a foreign state or an international organisation; The central financial policy, the monetary policy, or the national foreign exchange policy; Inspection, control or other supervisory activities of a public authority; The interest of preventing or prosecuting crime; The public economic interest; The protection of the personal or economic circumstances of private subjects; or The preservation of animal or plant species. Given that the Riksbank stated that the information in its gold bar weight lists was “covered by secrecy relating to foreign affairs, as well as security secrecy and surveillance secrecy”, I would hazard a guess that the Riksbank would try to reject Freedom of Information requests in this area by pointing to central bank gold storage and gold operations as falling under points 1 or 2, i.e. falling under national security or relations with a foreign state or international organisation, or else monetary policy / foreign exchange policy (especially given that the Riksbank uses gold reserves in its foreign currency interventions). Perhaps the Riksbank would also try to twist point 5 as an excuse, i.e. that it wouldn’t be in the public economic interest to release the Swedish gold bar details. As to why the Riksbank and nearly all other central banks are ultra secretive about gold bar weight lists and even physical auditing of gold bar holdings usually boils down to the fact that, like the Riksbank, these gold bar holdings are actively managed and are often used in gold loans, gold swaps and even gold location swaps. If identifiable details of the gold bars of such central banks were in the public domain, given that these bars are involved in loans, currency swaps and location swaps, these gold bar details could begin to show up in the gold bar lists of other central banks or of the gold bar lists of publicly listed gold-backed Exchange Traded Funds. This would then blow the cover of the central banks which continue to maintain the fiction that their loaned and swapped gold is still held in unencumbered custody on their balance sheets, and would blow a hole in their contrived and corrupt accounting policies. A Proposal to the Oldest Central Bank in the World Since the Riksbank happened to ask me were there any central banks “offering the level of transparency [I was] asking for” i.e. providing gold bar weight lists, I decided to send a final response back to the Riksbank in early March highlighting the central banks that I am aware of that have published such gold bar weight lists, and I also took the opportunity of proposing that the Riksbank should follow suit in publishing its gold bar weight list. My letter to the Riksbank was as follows: “You had asked which central banks offered a level of transparency on their gold holdings that include publication of a gold bar weight list. Apart from the Deutsche Bundesbank, which you know about, I can think of 3 central banks which have released weight lists of their gold bar holdings. The 3 examples below (together with the Bundesbank) show that some of the most important central banks and monetary authorities in the world have now deemed it acceptable to include the release of gold bar weight lists as part of their gold communication transparency strategies.  The 4 sets of weight lists below include gold bar holdings at the Bank of England (stored by Mexico, Australia, Germany), and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (stored by the US Treasury and Bundesbank). Together these two storage locations account for 60% of the Riksbank’s gold holdings (74.6 tonnes). The Riksbank is the world’s oldest central bank and has a long track record of being progressive and transparent. By releasing the Riksbank’s gold bar weight lists for the gold bars stored over the 5 storage locations (London, New York, Ottawa, Berne and in Sweden), the Swedish central bank would be joining an elite group of central banks and monetary institutions that could be considered the early stage adopters of much needed transparency in this area.” 1. Bank of Mexico Most recently in 2017, Bank of Mexico has released a weight list of its earmarked gold bars stored at the Bank of England. This list in pdf format can be downloaded here – > http://www.guillermobarba.com/assets/uploads/2017/03/LT-BM-18703-ok.pdf The Mexican list details 7265 gold bars held (about 90 tonnes), and includes bank of England internal sequence number, refiner brand, gross weight, assay (fineness), and fine weight. See also https://www.bullionstar.com/blogs/ronan-manly/mexicos-earmarked-gold-bars-bank-englands-vaults/  2. Reserve Bank of Australia In July 2014, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) released a weight list of 6313 gold bars (about 79 tonnes) that it has stored at the bank of England in London. See  http://www.rba.gov.au/information/foi/disclosure-log/rbafoi-131418.html The weight list in Excel format can be downloaded here http://www.rba.gov.au/information/foi/disclosure-log/xls/131418.xls The RBA list includes refiner brand, gross weight, assay (fineness), and fine weight, as well as bank of England account number. 3. US Treasury In 2011, the US Treasury’s full detailed schedules of gold bars was published by the US House Committee on Financial Services as part of submissions for its hearing titled “Investigating the Gold: H.R. 1495, the Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2011 and the Oversight of United States Gold Holdings”. These US Treasury weight lists are as follows, and are downloadable from the financial services section of the “house.gov” web site. Weight list of all Treasury gold held at Fort Knox, Denver and West Point – 699,515 bars  – pdf format http://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/attachment_4_mints_schedule_of_inventory_of_deep_storage_gold_reserves.pdf Weight list of all Treasury gold held at Fort Knox, Denver and West Point – 699,515 bars – xlsformat http://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/mints_schedule_of_inventory_of_deep_storage_gold_reserves.xls Weight List of Treasury gold held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) – 31,204 bars. List starts at page 132 of pdf (or page 128 of file) http://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/112-41.pdf Deutsche Bundesbank The Bundesbank weight list which you know about. The most recent version of this list was published on 23rd February 2017 and can be downloaded here http://www.bundesbank.de/Redaktion/EN/Downloads/Bundesbank/Organisation/bar_list.pdf?__blob=publicationFile The Bundesbank list show all the German gold bars held at the Bank of England, NY fed and Banque de France as well as in Frankfurt.” Conclusion As of now, the Swedish Riksbank has a) not published a gold bar weight list of any of its gold bar holdings and b) not acknowledged my follow up email where I listed the central banks that have produced such lists and suggested that the Riksbank do likewise. The Swedish Riksbank claims to hold 10,000 large Good Delivery gold bars in 5 locations across the world and now claims to have conducted physical gold audits of this gold. Yet it has never published any physical gold audit results of any of these gold bars nor published any of the serial numbers of any of the 10,000 gold bars it claims to have in storage. For a so-called progressive democracy this is shocking, although not surprising given the arrogance and unaccountability of central bankers. If someone with time on their hands, ideally a Swedish citizen, has an interest in this area, it would be worthwhile for them to research the rules of the Swedish Freedom of Information Act, and then craft a few carefully worded Freedom of Information requests to the Riksbank requesting physical audit documents and gold bar weight lists of Sweden’s 125.7 tonnes of gold that is supposedly held in London, New York, Ottawa, Berne and in Sweden.  While these Freedom of Information requests would probably get rejected due a some spurious secrecy excuse and thrown back at the applicant in short order, at least its worth trying, and might even make a good story for the Swedish media to cover. This article was first published on the BullionStar website as "Sweden’s Gold Reserves: 10,000 gold bars shrouded in Official Secrecy".

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• Spaniard wins quarter-final 7&5 and will face Bill Haas in semis• Phil Mickelson says 22-year-old is ‘real deal’ and can reach world top 10Spain’s illustrious conveyor belt of golf talent means Jon Rahm was always destined to be subject to comparison. Here is the most uplifting one: not since a 19-year-old Seve Ballesteros finished second in the Open Championship of 1976 has a player from that country arrived on the scene with such statements of intent.Rahm’s star continues to rise at such a pace that, on Saturday, bookmakers slashed his odds to win the Masters in a fortnight’s time. The 22-year-old has not even played competitively at Augusta National before. Continue reading...

24 марта, 16:54

Новости рынка драгметаллов: 24 марта 2017 г.

Рынки серебра и палладия сегодня показывают прирост, а золото и платина остаются на отрицательной территории, несмотря на активное ослабление курса доллара США. Запасы в золотых ETF-фондах подросли...

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24 марта, 02:38

Rory McIlroy out of Match Play Championship without playing a shot

• Gary Woodland’s withdrawal resulted in McIlroy being knocked out• Slimline Bubba Watson finding form again as Masters loomsRory McIlroy must hope his quota of 2017 misfortune has now been used up. The rib injury which disrupted the initial stages of his Masters preparation might be consigned to history but there was further cause for McIlroy to question whatever happened to the luck of the Irish on Thursday, as Gary Woodland’s withdrawal from the WGC Match Play Championship coupled with the later victory for Soren Kjeldsen meant the four-time major winner was eliminated without hitting a single shot in anger. Related: Jason Day withdraws mid-round as his mother prepares for cancer surgery Continue reading...

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22 марта, 23:21

Rory McIlroy beaten by Soren Kjeldsen in WGC Match Play opener

• World No2 loses 2&1 to Dane but says ‘I played well’• ‘If I had played anyone else I might have won’The good news for Rory McIlroy relates to the WGC Match Play format. The bad? A year ago only one player, Dustin Johnson, succumbed to an opening-day defeat and recovered sufficiently to progress to the knockout stage.McIlroy’s 2&1 humbling by Soren Kjeldsen, the world No68, was no disgrace given the inspired performance of the Dane. The pair would have produced a better ball score of 11 under par through 17 holes, with Kjeldsen minus six on his own. Continue reading...

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21 марта, 14:15

Jordan Spieth wants Masters to be over so people stop asking about meltdown

• Spieth blew back-to-back chance in 2016 with seven at 12th• Rory McIlroy puts the pressure on: ‘The questions will still be there’For 12 months, Jordan Spieth has played questions relating to the Masters with such a straight bat you had cause to wonder whether he was a professional in the correct sport.That stance changed on the eve of the WGC Match Play, with Spieth admitting he will be delighted when the 2017 version at Augusta National is over – if only because it means people will stop talking about his nightmare last year. Continue reading...

19 марта, 18:43

Текст: Спрос на физическое золото рушится ( Саймон Блэк )

Я занимаю кресло в Совете директоров одной крупной компании, зарегистрированной в Сингапуре, которая ведет бизнес, связанный с золотом и серебром. Вчера вечером во время нашего ежеквартального заседания менеджмент компании предоставил большое количество новой интригующей информации. Продажи физического золота и серебра рушатся во всей индустрии. Продажи американских золотых орлов Монетным двором США, например, в феврале этого года были на 67% ниже соответствующего периода прошлого года. А продажи американских серебряных орлов снизились на 75%. Статистика, представляемая Всемирным советом по золоту, также показывает значительный спад спроса на физический металл в 2016 году, особенно на слитки, монеты и ювелирные украшения. Поставщи...

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19 марта, 13:01

Dustin Johnson grows into No1 role and sets sights on WGC Match Play

American hopes to follow victories in Genesis Open and WGC Mexico Championship with another this week in AustinDustin Johnson is chasing a treble that would once have looked impossible for one of the great underachievers of this age. Building on last year’s maiden major he has risen to world No1 and is now threatening to develop a stranglehold on the top of the rankings.Johnson’s success at the Genesis Open in the middle of last month catapulted him to the summit for the first time. At 32, given the widespread and legitimate view that Johnson is the most naturally gifted American player of his generation, the undertone related to his earlier struggles in matching expectation with outcome. Continue reading...

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18 марта, 04:05

Demand For Physical Gold Is Collapsing

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com, I serve on the Board of Directors of a large Singapore-based company that’s in the gold and silver business. And, last night during our quarterly conference call, the management team gave me a lot of intriguing information. Sales of physical gold and silver are collapsing across the entire industry. At the US Mint, for example, sales of US Eagle gold coins fell by 67% between February 2016 versus February 2017. And sales of US Eagle silver coins are down 75% over the same period. The World Gold Council’s data also shows a substantial decline in physical precious metal demand in 2016, particularly with bars, coins, and jewelry. Suppliers and refiners in the precious metals business are echoing these numbers, lamenting that sales are extremely slow and margins are falling. For our Singapore company, this decline is irrelevant. They have their own proprietary, state-of-the-art storage facility and a number of cutting-edge service like bullion-backed peer-to-peer loans, so business is great. But I would expect that a number of other bullion dealers will probably go bust if this downturn lasts much longer. The one conundrum is that this trend does NOT correlate with the price of gold. In US dollar terms, the gold price is up 16% since the beginning of 2016. So it would be reasonable to conclude that sales of physical bars and coins are up as well. But they’re not. The reason is because there’s a HUGE difference between physical gold and “paper” gold. When people talk about the gold price, they’re really quoting the price of gold contracts at exchanges around the world in London, Shanghai, Chicago, etc. Traders aren’t actually buying and selling physical gold. These gold contracts are merely paper financial instruments, like stocks and bonds, that traders use for speculation. When some conflict breaks out in Africa, the knee-jerk reaction is for traders to buy gold contracts. And when central bankers announce that the economy is totally awesome, traders dutifully dump their gold contracts. But they’re really just buying and selling highly leveraged paper assets. Nothing physical changes hands. It’s the same with gold ETFs; these are merely financial instruments to gamble on the paper price of gold. Investors who truly understand the benefits of owning gold, and don’t simply want to speculate on the price, buy physical bars and coins from a dealer. And quite often there’s a massive difference in fundamentals between the demand for physical coins and the paper price. During the 2008 financial meltdown, the paper price of gold and silver plunged. Speculators and traders were hit by margin calls and forced to sell their contracts. But demand for physical coins was incredibly strong; savvy investors were looking for a safe haven. There was a total disconnect between the paper price and physical demand. That’s now happening again, but in reverse. The paper price is rising, but physical demand is falling. Management told me last night that they’ve been invited to speak at several investment conferences attended by family offices and high net worth individuals. But they told me that there’s very little interest in owning physical precious metals among these wealthy investors. Everyone seems to want to dump all of their money in US stocks or real estate, expecting that they’ll easily make 20% despite both markets being at all-time highs. This strikes me as total madness. Few people ever prospered buying what was popular and expensive. There seems to be no fear in the market… no regard for sense or safety. And my contrarian instincts tell me that this complacency is a great reason to own physical gold and silver right now. Remember that gold is primarily a form of savings. You could hold your savings in a bank account, denominated in paper currency like dollars or euros or renminbi. Or you could hold savings in physical cash. You could even own government bonds. Each of these is a form of savings. But so is gold and silver. (And cryptocurrency, for that matter.) The difference is that gold and silver cannot be conjured out of thin air by a central bank. And unlike cash, or money in a bank, precious metals actually keep pace with inflation over time. I remember having a conversation once with a famous investor who told me that he didn’t know what was going to happen in the future… … and THAT’S why he owned gold– for the “I don’t knows.” Will there be a trade war with China in the next few years? A shooting war? A major debt crisis? Another terrorist attack? “I don’t know.” Gold and silver are fantastic insurance policies against the “I don’t knows” due to the metals’ 5,000 year history of value and marketability. There’s no need to go overboard and keep 100% of your net worth in precious metals. But given the obvious risks on the horizon that we discuss regularly, and these bizarre demand trends, it’s a great time to consider adding to your physical precious metals savings. Do you have a Plan B?