THE COMING SILVER ACCIDENT
By Theodore Butler
(The following essay was written by silver analyst Theodore Butler. Investment Rarities does not necessarily endorse these views, which may or may not prove to be correct.)
Perhaps “accident” may not be the precise word to describe what I see coming in silver. After all, Webster’s defines accident as “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance.” While that definition certainly encompasses what I see ahead in the silver market, I need to add a qualifying adjective to complete my vision. That word is unavoidable. The silver market is headed towards an unavoidable accident.
This will not be like any accident you have ever witnessed or experienced. This is an accident you can fully prepare for, and greatly profit from. This coming silver accident could favorable and permanently alter your family’s standard of living and financial security. The great news is that preparations for this accident are simple and merely depend upon you applying common sense.
At the core of what makes the coming silver accident unavoidable is the immutable law of supply and demand. Supply and demand ultimately governs how all markets function. While some markets, including silver, can be artificially controlled or manipulated in price for long periods of time, eventually such manipulations must end if they are at odds with supply and demand.
Nothing has been more at odds with the basic law of supply and demand than the silver market. For many decades, the world has consumed more silver than it has produced. That has necessitated a draw down of previously produced silver – the existing inventories. There has never been a situation in any commodity where such conditions have failed to cause a dramatic price increase. While supply and demand mandate a sharp price increase, it has not yet come. That’s the groundwork for the coming silver accident. When it comes, the price will explode upward and reach levels that are talked about for decades to come.
The primary factors mandating a silver accident are excessive naked short selling and leasing. Silver has the largest short position that’s ever existed in anything. This is the key component to the coming silver accident. The total naked short position in silver measures into the billions of ounces and towers over real world supplies. This combined short position includes the COMEX, all other exchanges, forward selling and leasing, the cumulative issuance of unbacked silver bank certificates, unallocated storage programs and pool accounts. No other commodity has such a huge naked short position.
It is, basically, this bloated short position that’s at the heart of the coming silver accident. It is this same excessive short position that guarantees a financial windfall for your family. A naked short sale is the sale of something you don’t own. While common in financial markets, more than 99% of the world’s population will never sell short anything in their lifetimes. That’s because it’s an unusual and unnatural financial transaction.
Unbridled short selling can artificially depress the price. That is why we have restrictions on short selling that date back to the great stock market crash of 1929. In commodities, there must be a short for every long on every futures contract. Regulations are supposed to preclude excessive long and short speculation via speculative position limits, but these regulations have been abandoned in COMEX silver, despite the efforts of many of us to correct that.
There is one other aspect about short selling that is important to grasp. Whereas the word “sale” means closure or finality in all the billions of daily world business and financial transactions, a short sale is always an open or incomplete transaction. A normal sale marks the end of a transaction. A short sale marks the beginning of a transaction. A short sale must be completed at some point, in some way. There is no exception to this rule. Either the short sale is repurchased and closed out, or that which has been sold short is actually delivered and the open short sale is closed.
Precisely because all short sales must be closed out guarantees a silver accident. When I say that silver has the largest short position in history, I am also saying that silver has the largest number of incomplete transactions in history. Forget, for the moment, the manipulative and depressing effect this monumental short position has had on the price.
All short sales must be closed out in someway. With silver, could it be by delivering silver? Against the billions of ounces of silver sold short, how much do we have to deliver to close out these incomplete transactions? In the COMEX warehouses there’s 100 million ounces. That represents most of the known silver bullion in the world, but it’s mostly owned by investors other than the short sellers. Maybe there are a billion ounces of silver in the world, in coins, small bars and silverware, but that’s not eligible for delivery against the silver short position of billions of ounces. Not only is all the world silver in existence woefully insufficient to cover the monstrous short position, but most of this insufficient quantity isn’t even owned by the short sellers.
That’s why I’ve made such a big deal about the uniqueness of a silver short position that’s larger than existing world inventories. It eliminates one of the only two legitimate ways in which a short sale can be closed out. That’s why we’ve never seen any other commodity with a short position greater than what actually exists. How can you have a short position in anything greater than what actually exists?
The only remaining legitimate way a silver short position can be closed out is if it were bought back by the short sellers. From whom are these short sellers going to buy hundreds of millions and billions of silver ounces from? Or more correctly, at what price? Since actual delivery is out of the question, the only way the short sellers can buy back their bloated silver short position is to get every owner of real silver and every owner of paper silver to sell out. The price that would be necessary to accomplish that feat would qualify in any reasonable definition as an accident.
While there is no way to determine when the silver shorts will spook and rush to cover, time is not on the shorts’ side. They must try, at some point, to buy back and cover the silver they can’t possibly deliver. It is not important to know in advance what the actual trigger for the silver accident will be. All you need know is that with the critical and long-term physical deficit in silver, the short selling charade must end. Since we can’t determine when, don’t focus on the timing, focus on the inevitability of a delivery crunch.
Long-time readers know that Investment Rarities has been underwriting my articles for the past four years. For most of that time, the silver price averaged between four and five dollars. For the past year, the silver price has been six, seven or eight dollars. Does this increase mean that the price has finally responded to the law of supply and demand, and therefore eliminated the chance of a silver accident?
Normally, a price increase of 50% or 100% in a commodity should be sufficient to balance any consumption deficit. That’s a big move in any commodity. But not for silver. That’s because the consumption deficit in silver is unlike any other commodity deficit. Silver has been in a structural deficit stretching back for more than a half-century. You don’t undo the damage of 60 years with a 50% or 100% gain.
There is zero evidence that production or consumption has been impacted by the price, or that the silver deficit has been cured. There has been no worldwide rush to find new silver mines in response to higher prices. Silver may have increased in price, but there has been zero effect on near-term production increases or substitutions in demand. No one has switched to gold or platinum jewelry because silver is up in price. The law of supply and demand hasn’t been affected one bit as a result of the recent price increases. The first prerequisite for the coming silver accident is very much intact. However, it takes more than a bullish supply and demand equation to cause a violent price event. Bullish fundamentals point to higher prices but not necessarily a price accident. In the silver short position, we have the needed reason, in spades, for an accident.
As a result of the 60-year structural deficit, we have exhausted just about all the world’s previously existing silver inventory. That includes just about all world governments’ silver inventory. When the unavoidable silver accident occurs, there will be no one to douse the price fire. This can’t be said about any other commodity.
This fact distinguishes between a gold and a silver accident. In gold, in a financial meltdown or currency crash (popular reasons given for a gold price accident), world governments own enough gold to extinguish a price explosion. In silver, they don’t own enough silver to put out a fire.
It’s rare to be presented with an unavoidable financial accident that you can personally benefit from. If you find my argument has merit, then position yourself in silver before the coming accident. If you wait until the accident happens, it will be too late.