A major development last week was the large amount of gold issued by JPMorgan over the first two days of the COMEX April contract. Total gold deliveries by JPMorgan of 14,326 contracts, including 10,682 contracts (1.07 million ounces) by JPM in its proprietary house account were the largest by JPM in history. This is big news because it demonstrates clear and blatant price manipulation by JPMorgan. With more than 19,000 contracts of gold standing for delivery, what would have been the price of gold, had JPM not delivered more than 10,000 contracts from its house account? Even the dimmest of wits (say at the Justice Department or the CFTC) should be able to conclude that without JPMorgan delivering this many gold contracts, gold prices would have had to increase enough to attract others to take JPM’s place.
Price manipulation cannot occur without a concentrated position. That’s what we witnessed, in full view, by JPMorgan over the first two days of the COMEX April gold deliveries. Back in 2020, JPMorgan entered into a deferred criminal prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Justice Department for manipulating precious metals on the COMEX (and other infractions) and agreed to pay a headline-grabbing $920 million (a pittance for JPM). The fine and the DPA only scratched the surface of JPMorgan’s long-term manipulation of silver and gold, because the case focused solely on spoofing and the short-term manipulation of prices. It ignored the much more serious price suppression of silver (and gold) and JPMs accumulation of massive quantities of physical silver (more than a billion ounces, plus more than 30 million ounces of physical gold) over a decade. They did this while functioning as the biggest short seller (in order to keep the price down). Spoofing was peanuts compared to what JPMorgan was actually guilty of.
I always acknowledged that should JPM choose to do so, it could depress prices by releasing a portion of its physical holdings. I argued that because of the massive amount of physical silver and gold it had accumulated over the years at dirt cheap prices, JPM would choose to let prices fly upward. The recent large gold deliveries suggest they are doing otherwise. But all may not be lost. I suspect that if JPMorgan decided to unload some of its massive stockpile of physical silver and gold for the purpose of containing prices, that fact would quickly become obvious. That is precisely what just occurred in the COMEX April gold deliveries. A new dynamic is in play; just how blatant and obvious can it get that JPMorgan is still manipulating gold and silver prices, in complete violation of the law and its own deferred criminal prosecution agreement (whether active or recently expired), before the DOJ or CFTC is forced to react in some way?
It now seems plausible that JPMorgan’s easiest way out is to sit back and cease manipulating the price of gold and silver. Continued manipulation, as demonstrated in the April gold deliveries, may eventually force even the DOJ and CFTC to react to JPMorgan’s blatant price manipulation. JPMorgan ended the first quarter more than $27 billion ahead on its 30-million-ounce physical gold position and one-billion-ounce physical silver position ($21 billion in gold and $6 billion in silver). With these and even much larger prospective profits in store on higher gold and silver prices, JPMorgan should be mindful before pulling off another blatant manipulative stunt like it just did in delivering such large quantities of gold. At some point, even the Justice Department and CFTC will no longer be able to play dumb in the face of such cleanly manipulative shenanigans. Therefore, it seems this episode also favors some regulatory pressure to end the price manipulation, particularly in silver.
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