Morgan quietly cuts silver futures position way back, FT reports

Section:

JPMorgan Cuts Back on U.S. Silver Futures

By Jack Farchy and Gregory Meyer
Financial Times, London
Monday, December 13, 2010

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7d699ca4-06ea-11e0-8c29-00144feabdc0.html

JPMorgan has quietly reduced a large position in the US silver futures market that had been at the centre of a controversy about its impact on global prices for the precious metal.

The decision by JPMorgan was an attempt to deflect public criticism of the bank's dealings in silver, a person familiar with the matter said. The person added that the bank's position in silver would from now on be "materially smaller" than in the past.

A group of small precious metals investors has alleged that large short positions -- or bets on lower prices -- in silver futures held by several banks, including JPMorgan, are keeping prices artificially low.

The US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, announced in September 2008 that it was investigating complaints of misconduct in the silver market, although it did not name specific entities.

... Dispatch continues below ...



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Sona Drills 85.4g Gold/Ton Over 4 Metres at Elizabeth Gold Deposit, Extending the Mineralization of the Southwest Vein on the Property

Company Press Release, October 27, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Sona Resources Corp. reports on five drillling holes in the third round of assay results from the recently completed drill program at its 100 percent-owned Elizabeth Gold Deposit Property in the Lillooet Mining District of southern British Columbia. Highlights from the diamond drilling include:

-- Hole E10-66 intersected 17.4g gold/ton over 1.54 metres.

-- Hole E10-67 intersected 96.4g gold/ton over 2.5 metres, including one assay interval of 383g of gold/ton over 0.5 metres.

-- Hole E10-69 intersected 85.4g gold/ton over 4.03 metres, including one assay interval of 230g gold/ton over 1 metre.

Four drill holes, E10-66 to E10-69, targeted the southwestern end of the Southwest Vein, and three of the holes have expanded the mineralized zone in that direction. The Southwest Vein gold mineralization has now been intersected over a strike length of 325 metres, with the deepest hole drilled less than 200 metres from surface.

"The assay results from the Southwest Zone quartz vein continue to be extremely positive," says John P. Thompson, Sona's president and CEO. "We are expanding the Southwest Vein, and this high-grade gold mineralization remains wide open down dip and along strike to the southwest."

For the company's full press release, please visit:

http://sonaresources.com/_resources/news/SONA_NR19_2010.pdf



However, JPMorgan said in a statement: "It is absolutely incorrect to say or imply that the Nymex, CFTC, or any other exchange or regulator has instructed or asked us to reduce our position." The bank declined to comment on whether it had reduced its position in the silver market.

The price of silver has risen more than 70 per cent since mid-August to hit a 30-year high of $30.68 a troy ounce last week on the back of a surge in investor buying and a rebound in industrial silver consumption.

In two previous reviews of the silver market, the CFTC has dismissed claims of manipulation. Most analysts say there is little reason to believe the price of silver is being systematically manipulated.

But Bart Chilton, a CFTC commissioner, said in October that he believed there had been "fraudulent efforts" to "deviously control" the silver price. He did not name any party.

Publicly available data on individual traders' positions are sketchy. In a speech last Wednesday, Mr Chilton said that "earlier this year, one trader held more than 40 per cent of the silver market." He declined to identify the trader.

The CFTC's Bank Participation Report shows that one or more US banks held a gross short silver futures position equal to 19.1 per cent of the total number of outstanding contracts in early December. In January the share was 30.2 per cent.

The CFTC reports data only for the US silver futures market, a small corner of the global derivatives market for the precious metal, which is centered in London and largely traded via private over-the-counter deals. The data also do not cover transactions in the physical market.

Analysts and traders said that JPMorgan's large short positions on New York's Comex exchange, a division of Nymex, were hedges for the bank's long positions in physical silver and London's over-the-counter market.

JPMorgan has invested nearly $3 billion over the past two years in its commodities business, led by Blythe Masters.

* * *

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Prophecy Drills 71.17 Metres of 0.52% NiEq
(0.310 % Nickel 0.466 g/t PGMs +Au and 0.223% Copper)
from surface at Wellgreen Project in the Yukon

Prophecy Resource Corp. (TSX-V: PCY) reports that it has received additional assays results from its 100-percent-owned Wellgreen PGM Ni-Cu property in the Yukon, Canada. Diamond drill holes WS10-179 to WS10-182 were drilled during the summer of 2010 by Northern Platinum (which merged with Prophecy on September 23, 2010). WS10-183 was drilled by Prophecy in October 2010. Highlights from the newly received assays include 71.17 metres from surface of 0.52 percent NiEq (0.310 percent nickel, 0.466 g/t PGMs + Au, and 0.233 percent copper) and ended in mineralization. For more drill highlights, please visit:

http://prophecyresource.com/news_2010_nov29.php