GLD loses another 1.5 tonnes of gold/gold and silver rebound in the access market []

Gold fell  $1.30 to $1335.10 (comex closing time ).  Silver was also down by 25 cents to $20. 25 (comex closing time)
In the access market at 5:00 pm, gold and silver skyrocketed northbound for no apparent reason:
gold: $1347.70
silver:  $20.46

It seems that our specs are in deep trouble with the commercials net long. We will have in the next few weeks a plethora of buyers and a scarcity of suppliers of paper gold. The next two weeks will be a very exciting to watch.

At the Comex, the open interest in silver rose by 909 contracts to 133,641.
The open interest on the entire gold comex contracts fell by 5291 contracts to 439,441 despite  gold’s spectacular rise in price on Friday of $46.00.
Tonight, the Comex registered or dealer inventory of gold  remains below the 1 million oz mark at 950,441.152 oz or 29.56 tonnes.  This is dangerously low especially when we are coming up to the August delivery month.
Remember in June we had almost 31 tonnes of gold stand for delivery.  The total of all gold at the comex (dealer and customer) rises slightly again tonight still well below the 7 million oz barrier resting at 6.895 million oz or 214.47 tonnes.
JPMorgan’s customer inventory remains constant tonight at only 46,069.447  oz or 1.43 tonnes.  It’s dealer inventory rests at 390,092.326 oz (12.13 tonnes) but it still must settle upon contracts issued in the May and June delivery month which far exceeds its inventory.  (see last Wednesday’s  Bill Kaye interview with Lars Schall on the lack of deliveries at the comex per outstanding issues).

 

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Singapore Central Bank Rocked By Losses, Money-Laundering, And Terrorism-Financing [Zerohedge]

With the Singapore Dollar (NEER) continuing its surge higher (+6% against the USD in 2012), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) saw a S$10.6 billion loss this year as the “FX impact exceeded the interest, dividend income and other gains from the foreign assets held.” This is the 3rd loss in the last 4 years and 2nd largest on record, but of course the central bank notes, “this is not a cause for concern.”

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GDP growth sliding away, inflation remains elevated, currency continues to strengthen…

Portugal boots on the ground. A street view of the economy

We recently traveled to Portugal to take a “boot on the ground” view of the conditions and economic activity in the second largest Portuguese city: Porto.

As Zero Hedge explains:

The economy is still contracting. The IMF assumes real GDP growth of -2.3% in 2013 and +0.6% in 2014 and unemployment reaching 18.5% next year. There have been clear signs of adjustment fatigue with Finance Minister Gaspar’s resignation a reflection of that. The opposition Socialist Party, that withdrew its support for the adjustment programme, is now ahead in the polls.

Still, looking at the large elderly population and at the condition of  real estate market, one has to wonder what IMF analysts have been smoking to assume that in a 12 months time growth can resume from -2.3% to +0.6%.

The airport as well as underground transportation facilities are modern, clean and functional, having undergone a massive programme of refurbishment due to the Euro 2004 football championships being partly hosted in the city. However, immediately above ground, the harsh condition of buildings is striking: probably 1 over 10 buildings are abandoned or partially collapsed.

One would expect that abandoned buildings are concentrated in the periphery of the city, but surprisingly even in front of the beach the proportion of  ruined and unoccupied houses remains astonishing.

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Even in the main square of Porto, where Porto City Hall is located in the Avenida dos Aliados, large historic buildings are left in ruin.

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This building is located no more than 500 meters from the Porto City Hall, (by comparison, this is the picture shown on Wikipedia)

With so many broken windows, one would guess that the economy would soon be booming!

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House prices only partially reflect the situation:

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While looking to gold and silver dealers to check prices and sales, we discovered that the old-fashioned type writers are still found on the desks and used to do business:

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An independent journal reports “we are in a war without weapons, an economic war“:

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Would Krugman be surprised that in such economic environment, gold buyers are fighting each other with pamphlets and advertisements to get their hands on the barbarous relic still owned by people who need some cash?
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Two “we buy gold” in front of each other in the main commercial street of Porto. We asked if they were also selling and the answer was a direct “No, we just buy.”

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In case you want to buy, physical comes at a decent premium (I’m sorry my phone did not pick up the prices of bars) you can see silver eagles below going for 35 euros.

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A quick e-bay search confirms the prices found on the ground.

 

In Braga, I picked up these two placards placed in front of the train station. On the left side the socialist candidate (whose advertisements were everywhere) and on the right side the advertisement fort the communist  party’s annual festival. I sincerely hope for the Portuguese people that these aren’t the only choices left…

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One Third of Kenyans Now Have a Bitcoin Wallet [motherboard blog]

Image via Flickr

Thanks to bitcoin, it’s about to become a lot easier to move money in Africa. M-Pesa, a successful mobile money platform in Sub-Saharan Africa, is embracing bitcoin. The service will give rise to transactions with negligible fees (~$0.04), and could dramatically slash revenues of existing money transfer services like Moneygram, Western-Union and Paypal. That is, if the famed untraceable digital currency catches on.

Kipochi, the bitcoin wallet service is now being integrated into M-Pesa, which more than one third of Kenyans have already signed up for, as well as five million Tanzanians. A team of 8,300 brand agents is also currently canvassing East India, targeting ‘unbanked’ people. (Update: Just to clarify, that one third of Kenyans now has access to a bitcoin wallet service doesn’t mean that all of those people use bitcoins. We’ll see how usage growth pans out after Kipochi is fully integrated.)

Like many bitcoin businesses that advocate the digital currency’s mainstream proliferation, Kipochi boasts these tenets on its front page:

  • Free of inflation
  • Global
  • Secure
  • Transparent
  • Low cost

The wallet service allows government-ID-carrying users to swap funds by using their phone numbers as account numbers.

Read more: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/one-third-of-kenyans-now-have-a-bitcoin-wallet#ixzz2Z2FYtYMN

Comment is free How cryptography is a key weapon in the fight against empire states [guardian]

A telecommunications station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

‘Africa is coming online, but with hardware supplied by China. Will the internet be the means by which Africa continues to be subjugated into the 21st century?’ Photograph: Mao Siqian/Corbis

The original cypherpunks were mostly Californian libertarians. I was from a different tradition but we all sought to protect individual freedom from state tyranny. Cryptography was our secret weapon. It has been forgotten how subversive this was. Cryptography was then the exclusive property of states, for use in their various wars. By writing our own software and disseminating it far and wide we liberated cryptography, democratised it and spread it through the frontiers of the new internet.

The resulting crackdown, under various “arms trafficking” laws, failed. Cryptography became standardised in web browsers and other software that people now use on a daily basis. Strong cryptography is a vital tool in fighting state oppression. That is the message in my book,Cypherpunks. But the movement for the universal availability of strong cryptography must be made to do more than this. Our future does not lie in the liberty of individuals alone.

Our work in WikiLeaks imparts a keen understanding of the dynamics of the international order and the logic of empire. During WikiLeaks’ rise we have seen evidence of small countries bullied and dominated by larger ones or infiltrated by foreign enterprise and made to act against themselves. We have seen the popular will denied expression, elections bought and sold, and the riches of countries such as Kenya stolen and auctioned off to plutocrats in London and New York.

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Portugal’s bond market tanks as crisis deepens [cnbc]

The yield on Portugal’s benchmark government bonds surged on Friday, following demands for a renegotiation of its bailout program, reigniting investor fears about the deteriorating political situation in the country.

Portuguese 10-year government bond yields rose to 7.77 percent at lunchtime on Friday, up from 6.88 percent on Thursday, before paring back slightly. The country’s 5-year government bond yields increased from 6.57 percent on Thursday to peak at 7.72 percent on Friday, before falling back to 7.4 percent.

(Read MoreRecovery in Europe’s Periphery? Not So Fast)

On Friday, the leader of Portugal’s socialist opposition, Antonio Jose Seguro, told parliament that Portugal must end its commitment to austerity.

“We have to abandon austerity politics. We have to renegotiate the terms of our adjustment program… The prime minister has to recognize publicly that his austerity policies have failed,” Seguro said.

Alessandro Giansanti, a senior interest rate strategist at ING, said that Friday’s jump in bond yields was in direct response to Seguro’s comments.

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Draghi Impotent as Fed Trumps ECB on Yield Curve [Bloomberg]

The widest gap between two- and 10-year German yields in more than a year suggests theEuropean Central Bank is struggling to protect the region’s economy from a U.S.-led surge in borrowing costs.

ECB President Mario Draghi pledged last week to keep interest rates low for an “extended period of time,” capping yields on bonds with maturities of three years or less. Longer-dated borrowing costs tracked Treasury yields higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it may scale back its bond-buying program. Borrowing costs for companies in the euro region rose to the most in eight months in June.

ECB President Mario Draghi

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