Friday, March 28, 2008

Scotia Silver shortage showing signs of improvement

I decided today to wander across the street and be a nuisance at my favorite bullion counter, no big line ups, nobody making a noticeable bullion trade, no robbery, no cute little Pandora, no excitement of any kind.

So while rather bored with my field trip I do have good news for my Toronto readers; The main Scotiabank and Bay and Adelaide does have silver which finally arrived Thursday. They do not however have a full selection and they would not give me quantities(ooooh, top secret!) but as of 11:00 Friday they did have 50 oz and 100 oz bars. They also had some undisclosed quantity of 2001 silver Maples, still factory packaged in plastic.

I hope some of you can make use of this opportunity, while the price is not as good as last Thursday it's still well below our recent $21 showing. While it's still not the best situation the silver shortages discussed last week on this site seem to be abating for now, of course this post could start another run and clean them out;) Oh ,to be that popular a site.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More than the Glaciers are melting down in Iceland

The world media has been fixating on wall street for newest and biggest financial flop but has sadly negligent looking at other hot prospects for complete meltdown. Now I admit I fixate on the U.S. as well due to their proximity and impact on the Canadian economy, and while I have dealt with UK, Spanish, and Zimbabwe's issues before there is even more out there than that.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Uk. Telegraph is one of my favorite Business writers in that he seems to be on the right page and looks further abroad to see the big picture and how things are destabilizing in other parts of the world.

In his most recent offering Ambrose tells us that a number of countries such as Iceland, Turkey, Hungary, the Baltic States and the Balkans are all in serious danger due to their high government debt levels and dependence on foreign capital.

Another article on the danger Iceland poses and how much stake it has UK financials and businesses. We must remember not to fixate too much as the trigger than finally sends the U.S. and then the world into a financial tail spin could come from any country that fails to control it's contagion should a national crisis arise. It could be Lehman Brothers or Citi that breaks the camels back but it could also be Iceland or some other dysfunctional economy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

U.S. dollar crash

As the U.S. dollar crashes there is more and more reason to turn to silver and gold as a protection from fiat disaster. See this short piece from Netherlands television.

Silver certificates, are they actually backed with bullion?

First of all I'm more than willing to post original work by other silver bugs, it gives the blog a fresh perspective and gives me effort free content since I don't always have the time to be prolific having a real job and a couple of crazy kids to herd.

With permission, here is a letter sent to me by Larry Johnsson, who could not for some evil google reason post his comments to my last article on a retail silver shortage.

I am a part-time writer about the gold and silver markets and have contributed quite a bit to GATA - Midas writings, a few articles elsewhere, and have a fairly extensive network with various metalbugs. I couldn't post a comment on your blog over your latest "we are out of silver" theme so I do so by email. My concerns about this news involve silver certificates. What I would like to know (given the nefarious flaws of this paper silver obligation) is whether those in line down at ScotiaMocatta are still being offered silver certificates in lieu of metal. Understandably the bullion bank is liable for a class action suit when holders of this now risky paper now realize that there is NO silver available on demand, AND that these holders will be (and have been) CHARGED storage fees for metal that isn't there. There are lots of dark corners in this situation where problems are going to lurch into the limelight. Keep in mind that most of these (and other) so-called paper positions comprise around 90% of all "silver" purchased and that in the case of silver,,,,each ounce (that they no longer hold in their vaults in Toronto) has been sold at a minimal fractional reserve rate of at least 10 times. What the holders of silver certificates are seeing is a default. They will be cashed out of their positions.

One of our networked friends was down at SM attempting to buy silver (about 2-3 weeks ago) and managed 5 ounces. The clerk mentioned that things were looking tight for supply. The fellow behind him was loudly proclaiming that he wanted to see his 250,000 ounces - for which he had certificates. At a guess, he did not see his silver,,,,,and he now knows that he has been had. This is VERY serious for the third largest bullion bank in the world,,,,mark my words!

At any rate, here is what I wanted to post,,,,and now you have a little more too. Post it if you feel that it is appropriate information for you blog.

If you are looking for a theme that works for the whole financial crisis - right down to the currency level - it can be summed up by stating that paper positions are in jeopardy of failing their asset ability to be redeemed by the owner. The currencies themselves are failing their promises too. Most people hold paper assets and have yet to see that what is happening is going to a redefining of the world financial culture. And it will be a painful experience for almost everyone you know!

And a very wise person on Kitco talked about it some 9 years ago. This poster summed it all up with the statement "all paper will burn". Now we are watching this process unfold.

Best regards,
P.S. I like to see things confirmed from more than one source. So we have, indeed, arrived at that magical time that was predicted by some pundits (Mohide in his 1985 book, Silver, for example, who predated Ted Butler's world view by over 10 years.)

We are out of investment silver. Those who foolishly trusted in silver certificates as proxies for metal - and did so in easily storable sized weights of purchase has let the banking sector rob them. I feel no sadness for them for trusting a bank needlessly when most of these purchases can comfortably rest in ones own hand. But these people will now know that, this was fraud, pure and simple. We have been watching this thing unfold for 10 years and it has been only the last 3 that have been truly revealing. You read the Midas piece, my response, and now this one.

Keep in mind that ScotiaMocatta is where the Canadian banking system gets its bullion. I remember back last year that a Royal Bank out in Winnipeg was reportedly unable to order silver from SM. This situation means that no bank in Canada likely has silver for its clients. Concurrently, Midas reported some large commercial user having his account cancelled at SM....These are all anecdotal,,,but very telling.

For the past 3 years or so I have maintained that the Toronto vaults of ScotiaMocatta were going bare. I have always speculated that "excess" silver was flowing to COMEX to add to the figures of the stockpile that SM holds in their vaults there. It was a premise, but not one that had to be true because, after all, a shortage is a shortage and the problems were going to turn up some day. Predictably they were going to show up at SM and I have been watching for this very carefully. That day is now.

Are we really out of silver? No, not quite. But we would seem to be out of investment sized silver. And that amounts to the same thing!

What are people who want to buy silver now to do? Buy a futures contract and take delivery in 1000 ounce bars (you should be able to take delivery in Toronto). Find a dealer who still has some. LOL

What this SM thing implies that refiners have stopped making the smaller bars and are trying only to keep the COMEX paper market afloat by making the industrial size only. We have all watched the registered stockpiles increasing over this time period. We can speculate endlessly about the details,,,,but this much is clear. Investment demand cannot be met when industrial demand is competing.

But one detail remains clear and easy to speculate about accurately: silver is much more likely to blow up gold than visa versa, and with this correction upon us, I can probably safely say that under $1000 ounce gold is perhaps behind us. We won't run out of investment gold, but it is going to put some dents in the household budget now. But look at it this way: it's in a good cause,,,,and it's a no-brainer for future security and considering where it is going in price, still a bargain.

Best not to miss the boat, yes?

Larry has very valid points, if there is no silver in the Scotia vaults what is backing silver certificates? Are certificates set up as a fractional reserve type system or do they simply represent fictitious bullion the kind Morgan Stanley was charging people storage fees on but had never bought.

Should a bank collapse, these silver Certificates will be a worthless claim on an asset banks don't posses.

This causes quite a dilemma for us silver bugs, we can't get what we want, coins and bars. We can't trust what we can get, paper silver, and finally the money that should have flowed to physical bullion from certificate sales which would have pumped silver back to it's appropriate value has probably been funneled into the very short contracts that suppress our investment. Where the hell are the regulators in all this?

Thanks for the imput Larry.