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Chris Powell: Russia conscripts gold into defense of the ruble

Section: Daily Dispatches

Gold Market Manipulation Update

Remarks by Chris Powell
Secretary/Treasurer, Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
Mining Investment Asia Conference
Intercontinental Hotel, Singapore
Thursday, March 31, 2022

In recent months gold market manipulation particularly and commodity futures market manipulation generally have been ever-more exciting fields of study.

The most dramatic development may have been the default of the London Metals Exchange’s nickel futures contract three weeks ago. The default was relevant to gold and silver futures contracts and all major commodity futures contracts everywhere insofar as the exchange allowed a trader to maintain a huge naked short position -- not only a naked short position, but a short position larger than all the nickel supply readily available in the world -- and then got crushed for its irresponsibility.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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To rescue the nickel shorts, or the biggest nickel short, the LME even reversed many completed trades, causing some traders to ridicule the LME, calling it the "Soviet Metals Exchange":

Not surprisingly, the primary banker for the big nickel short, the bank assembling loans from other banks to help the big short meet its margin calls without having to dump its entire short position, is JPMorganChase & Co. JPMorganChase is one of the banks that in recent years have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in government fines and civil lawsuit settlements for manipulating the monetary metals markets.

Huge short positions similar to the short position in nickel futures long have been maintained on the books of major investment banks in gold futures and especially silver futures. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reported a few days ago that, strangely, the largest derivatives position in any commodity being traded by U.S. banks is in silver.

Because their trading is so large and consistent, it is unlikely that the banks trading so heavily in monetary metals derivatives and other commodity derivatives are trading entirely for their own books. More likely the banks are often acting as brokers for the U.S. government and possibly other governments.

Indeed, the CME Group, operator of the major U.S. futures exchanges, maintains a special system to facilitate surreptitious intervention in the commodity and financial futures markets by governments and central banks. It's called the Central Bank Incentive Program and provides governments and central banks with volume discounts for trading surreptitiously through exchange-approved brokers.

Suspicions of such market intervention by government through the Central Bank Incentive Program have been supported by the refusal of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to answer a crucial question posed by GATA and even by a member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-West Virginia. That is: Does the commission have jurisdiction over manipulative futures trading undertaken by or at the behest of the U.S. government, or is such trading legal under the Gold Reserve Act of 1934?

As GATA construes the act, it authorizes the U.S. government to intervene secretly in and to manipulate not only any market in the United States but any market in the world. The CFTC refuses to contradict or even discuss this interpretation. Since the CFTC refuses to discuss its jurisdiction, even for a member of Congress, it seems fair to assume that secret trading by the government in the commodity markets in pursuit of a general policy of commodity price suppression is indeed happening and is a highly sensitive issue.

It increasingly seems that the British economist Peter Warburton was correct in 2001 when he wrote that Western central banks were using derivatives to control commodity prices and protect government currencies against the public’s recognition of currency devaluation.

Warburton’s essay, "The Debasement of World Currency: It Is Inflation But Not as We Know It," is posted at GATA’s internet site:

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Today, on account of Russia's war against Ukraine, a worldwide currency war is raging as well and it is largely a war over gold.

Led by the United States, the West is trying to prohibit most commerce with Russia and is specifically targeting Russia's gold reserves, trying to prevent the use of Russian gold in trade:

This attempt to freeze Russia's gold is a proclamation by the West that gold remains the most powerful sort of money -- money without counterparty risk.

In response Russia is making the same acknowledgment, since Russia is more or less remonetizing gold officially. The Russian central bank has begun buying gold from Russian mines at a fixed price in rubles, establishing a gold standard within Russia.

The Russian government is suggesting that gold can be payment for its oil and gas exports.

And the Russian government has removed the value-added tax from domestic gold sales to the public to encourage Russians to trade their rubles for domestically mined metal instead of foreign currency.

These moves by Russia have strengthened the ruble after its crash when the West's sanctions were imposed. Indeed, the ruble finished March as the month's best-performing currency, only 10% lower against the U.S. dollar compared to where the ruble was on February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine and the West began imposing economic sanctions on Russia:

From a low of 139 rubles to the dollar as of March 7, the ruble was up to 83 to the dollar yesterday.

That is, the West is trying to prevent gold from becoming international money again, while Russia is striving to restore gold as an international reserve currency if not the international reserve currency. For the time being Russia seems to be buying gold, not selling it, as the West thought Russia would do and sought to prevent Russia from doing.

Gold seems to be working well for Russia and the ruble.

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In recent months there have been less dramatic but still substantial indications of surreptitious government intervention against gold.

The Bank for International Settlements, the central bank of the central banks, continues to trade gold surreptitiously for its members. GATA's consultant about the BIS, Robert Lambourne, studies the monthly reports of the BIS and calculates that the bank's gold swap and derivatives positions remain on the high side historically:

For whom is the BIS trading and swapping gold and for what purposes? The BIS refuses to say:

But a BIS PowerPoint presentation to potential BIS members in 2008 showed that the bank's services include secret interventions in the gold and currency markets:

Last year the U.S. Treasury Department refused to answer most of Representative Mooney's questions about U.S. gold reserves held at the New York Fed, starting with why the Treasury keeps gold there in the first place if not to trade or exchange it surreptitiously for market manipulation:

In January this year the financial journalists Pam and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade reported that the Federal Reserve has a trading floor not only at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York but also in Chicago, near the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the commodity trading center:

Why does the Fed need a trading floor adjacent to the commodity markets in Chicago if the Fed, through intermediaries, isn't trading commodities as well as regular financial instruments on behalf of the U.S. government?

And of course in recent months some big investment banks, including JPMorganChase, Barclays, and Societe Generale, as well as the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd., have paid collectively about $200 million in civil lawsuit settlements for rigging the gold market.

What I have cited today are only the latest chapters in longstanding Western government policy of pushing gold out of the world financial system to maintain the dominance of the U.S. dollar through manipulation of the currency and commodity markets and particularly through suppression of the gold price.

The history is summarized and documented in "The Basics" section at the top left side of the home page of GATA’s internet site,

This isn't mere "conspiracy theory." It is conspiracy fact, much of it drawn from government's own archives.

The objective of this longstanding policy, like the objective of modern central banking itself, is to destroy markets and enable government to set prices, to determine the prices of all capital, labor, goods, and services in the world.

Markets today are an illusion.

That is totalitarianism, and it is the most effective kind, because, compared to traditional totalitarianism, it is much more subtle. But it is visible to anyone who wants to see it, and you can see it at GATA's internet site.

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Documents supporting all the assertions I have made here today are posted at GATA's internet site and my remarks today will be posted there too and will contain links to the documents.

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