Backwardation for Silver AND Gold.

DSAbug

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http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-backwardation-gold-and-silver

Backwardation in Gold And Silver

On Monday, May 14, something happened that hasn’t happened since Dec of 2008. Two successive near-month precious metals futures contracts were in backwardation at the same time. To oversimplify, backwardation is when the price of a futures contract is lower than the price in the spot market. It should not be possible for it to happen in gold and silver.

But ever since Dec 2008, it has been recurring intermittently, and recently it has become the “new normal” for each futures contract to head into backwardation before expiring.

Even in this “new normal”, however, it has been only one at a time: one metal, and one month. This is because the backwardation occurs with the “contract roll”, as people sell the expiring contract and buy one farther out. The selling pressure on the expiring contract is most intense for a short period of time. After that, the spread widens as the market makers move on, the selling pressure abates, and with wider spreads all around, both the basis and cobasis fall into oblivion. Except for the December month, gold and silver futures are liquid in different months.

That is why one does not see both monetary metals in backwardation simultaneously because they are “out of phase” by 30 days and temporary backwardation typically persists for only about a week or so. And it should be even harder to see two different successive near-dated futures contracts in backwardation.




On May 14, this is precisely what occurred. Both May and July silver are backwardated. And June gold is backwardated. Incredibly, the May silver contract is giving away a 3% annualized profit to anyone who would sell physical silver and buy a May future that delivers in a few weeks (thus recovering the same position). Even more incredibly, no one can or will take the profit that is dangling out there!

July silver backwardation is smaller, and June gold backwardation is even smaller. But still! This should not be possible at all.

Because the next successive contracts are not in backwardation (in silver, all contracts from Jul 2015 on are backwardated), it is not a collapse of trust. I think that it is a lack of unencumbered metal. The markets for precious metals, silver more than gold, have become quite tight.
 

pmbug

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Physical supplies getting tight or people losing confidence in the paper markets? Both?
 

ancona

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I hope this means prices will re-normalize some. this constant pounding is getting unnerving.
 

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I hope this means prices will re-normalize some. this constant pounding is getting unnerving.
The pounding can always be worse. Remember 08.. you are dealing with people liquidating positions to gain cash.

What HAS to happen now is monetary authorities need to OVER-React to the events that are unfolding. That is the thesis for higher prices.

The SPY is now at a 25.5 RSI on a daily chart. That is really hard to achieve. It got close to 16 and change last august. In 08 the SPY had an RSI around 19. So it's possible that we are within a week of major action by the authorities. We currently have about an 8.5% correction and need to break 10% in my estimation before they will do something.
 

ancona

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Derek,
You're absolutely right man. I do remember '08, and I also remember silver being pounded with a rock to the point that there was NO SILVER AT ANY PRICE!

What I fear, is silver being crushed even harder than it was back then, but not being able to pick any up without paying 250 - 350% premiums.
 

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...
The GOFO and the Gold Market

Although the London bullion market predominantly trades paper gold, it needs some physical to give the appearance that the market is a solid one.

In times of market stress, there are two conflicting forces pulling on the gold market. When liquidity tightens (as it is now) financial assets fall in price. Because the gold market is dominated by paper gold trading, including many highly leveraged players, selling prevails and the gold price falls.

But in reality, physical gold becomes even more valuable in times of crisis. How can this be, you ask?

To explain, we need to look at what is called the Gold Forward Offered Rate - the GOFO. GOFO is the rate of interest you pay if you swap your gold (short term) for US dollars. Alternatively, it is the rate of interest you receive for lending US dollars against gold.

Lately, the GOFO rate has been falling. This indicates a few things. Firstly, it tells us that gold's value as security for a US dollar loan has increased. If a bank needs to get US dollars in a hurry (as often happens in a liquidity crisis) then using gold as collateral (security) is the cheapest way to do this. Currently, the GOFO rate is 0.3% for a term of one month, the lowest level since February 2011.

Just as a government bond rises in price as its yield falls, so should the price of gold rise as its implied yield (via GOFO) falls. But this doesn't happen in the gold market.

In fact, it's the opposite. That's because in times of a liquidity crisis or deflationary scare you have leveraged paper gold holders selling, while at the same time increasing fear leads unallocated gold 'owners' to request taking ownership of their gold...and moving it out of the 'system', or out of the London bullion market.

So how do these two contradictory forces play out? Well, let's have a look at two recent periods in the history of the gold market. One that kicked the gold bull market off in September 1999 and the other that looked like ending it in November 2008.

In both these periods the GOFO rate fell below zero. This almost never happens. A negative GOFO rate says banks will pay you to swap US dollars for gold. It suggests they are desperate to get their hands on gold...physical gold.

In late September 1999 the GOFO rate fell to an unprecedented -4%. Look what happened to the price at that point. It exploded higher in a matter of days. The gold market needed a higher price to entice some gold back into the system.


Source: StockCharts

Now let's look at November 2008. On November 20, 21 and 24 the one-month GOFO rate went negative, meaning physical gold was again in high demand in the bullion banking system.

If you look at the chart on those days you'll see that the gold price bottomed right at this time. The stress in the market was so great that a higher price was guaranteed.

After hitting a low of around US$700, gold surged to over US$900 dollars in a matter of months. Paradoxically, the demand for physical gold (within the bullion banking system) seems greatest when the selling of paper gold (which sets the price) is heaviest.
...
More (recommended): http://www.dailyreckoning.com.au/the-physical-gold-market-from-the-weak-to-the-strong/2012/05/18/
 
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