The Public Be Damned
Here’s an excerpt from an update sent to subscribers on August 10, 2011. For subscription information please go to www.butlerresearch.com
It is important to try to understand, as much as possible, what are the dynamics behind the large price moves recently. It is human nature to accept any plausible-sounding reason offered if it is in conformance with the price direction. In a big price move, we demand an immediate explanation and then we accept any explanation offered, even if it doesn’t stand the scrutiny of further analysis. For instance, big price declines in copper and crude oil are immediately explained and accepted as being due to weakness in the world economy. Yet we know that the world economy and copper and oil fundamentals can’t possibly change quickly enough to be the real explanation. Please allow me to offer what I think is the real cause behind all the crazy price volatility and then to suggest something constructive you might want to do about it.
What’s behind the volatility is unbridled speculation and computer-type HFT trading gone wild. Oil didn’t drop $20 a barrel or copper 25 cents a pound because there was a sudden fall-off in demand or increase in supplies. This was all about speculative trading gone haywire. Let me be more specific. The whole premise of the economic justification behind commodity futures trading has been bastardized. US law has sanctioned the trading of commodity futures for the express purpose of allowing legitimate producers and consumers to hedge or transfer their price risks to speculators. But the wild price swings we are witnessing are not related to legitimate hedging. The volatility is as a result of speculators battling speculators, with real hedgers largely on the sideline. This is relatively easy to demonstrate.
The big price moves are the result of moving averages and other technical signals being violated. Technical funds and other momentum type traders rush into and out of the markets, often on an intra-day basis, as a result of these price changes. Against those technical type traders are aligned the “commercials” that take the opposite side of these transactions. But these commercials are also speculators and are not the legitimate hedgers they purport to be. Real producers and consumers don’t hedge based upon changes in moving averages on a daily basis. Real hedgers don’t day trade. Real hedgers don’t engage in HFT. The fact is that the commercial traders are just trading against the tech fund speculators and this makes the commercial traders speculators as well. This is an important distinction. It is why the big commercials in COMEX gold may be in trouble, namely, they weren’t hedging in the first place and their short speculation may have been a serious miscalculation because it wasn’t a legitimate hedge originally.
If my analysis is correct, then most of the volatility is due to one giant sick game of unbridled speculation. The speculators include not just the obvious and visible speculators, but also the commercials pretending to be hedgers. These commercial speculators in drag include the largest banks, like JPMorgan. How has it gotten to the point where our insured deposit taking institutions are among the biggest speculators? This speculative trading activity on the part of banks has greatly increased the current price volatility and increased the dangers of systemic risk. How is that good?
We’ve gotten to this point because our financial system structure has encouraged more and more speculation on the part of our important financial institutions. Leading us on the way to ruin is the criminal enterprise, also known as the CME Group, which has become dependent of encouraging more of the mindless daily speculative trading to fatten its bottom line. So harmful is the CME’s role in all of this that in order for the CME to be blessed, the public must be damned.
What can we do about this sorry state of affairs? Quite simply, what we have been doing, namely, to petition the regulators to enforce the laws governing manipulation and disruptive trading practices. I know that many are tired of petitioning the CFTC because there has been little visible response from them regarding the silver manipulation. Yet I am still convinced that this is the best and perhaps only constructive route. I’m not going to beg you to contact them if you feel it’s a waste of time. Likewise, I’m not going to promise you that the agency will do the right thing, as that’s up to them. All I do know is that silver is manipulated by virtue of a concentrated short position on the COMEX and that is against the law. You must always do what you feel is right, regardless of how it may turn out or how many times you tried in the past or whether someone else will also do the right thing.
I know I’m going to send this article to the CFTC (as well as to the CME and JPMorgan). I invite you to do likewise if you are so inclined or write in your own words and ask them to break up the concentrated short position in silver. I would ask that you remain respectful if you do write so as not to distort the intent of your message. I know most of us are sick and tired of the silver crime in progress and the regulators failure to deal with it, but you must rise above your emotions to be effective.
August 10, 2011
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