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Expecting the Unexpected

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May 12, 2017 - 11:48am

I am convinced that silver will soon explode in price in a manner of unprecedented proportions, both in terms of previous silver rallies and relative to all other commodities. By unprecedented, I mean that the price of silver will move suddenly and shockingly higher in a manner never witnessed previously, including the great price run ups in 1980 and 2011. The highest prior price level of $50 will quickly be exceeded.

 

By “soon”, I mean that the move can commence at any time, but more likely before many weeks or months have gone by. I know that the price of silver has been declining on a daily basis nonstop for three weeks now, itself an unprecedented move, but I also know the reason for the decline and how the sharply improved COMEX market structure has always guaranteed a rally in a reasonable period of time. The only question is whether on the next silver price rally will JPMorgan add aggressively to its COMEX short positions. I’m suggesting JPMorgan is not likely to add to short positions on the next rally.

 

At the heart of the unprecedented move higher in the price of silver is the manner in which it will occur. It will be a price move like no other. It will be the greatest short covering rally in history. That’s guaranteed because the COMEX silver short position is the largest and most concentrated short position in history. There is no buying force in the financial markets more powerful than panicky buying by those forced to cover short positions. The largest short position ever holds the potential for the greatest short covering rally ever. For more than 30 years, COMEX silver futures have had the largest short position of any commodity in terms of real world production and inventories. Yet while silver prices have had some notable rallies over the decades, none have included a genuine short covering panic. In fact, the uniquely large and concentrated nature of the COMEX silver short position (meaning it is held by just a few traders) is the mechanism by which silver has been manipulated in price all these years.

 

The concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures and the price manipulation are one and the same. All price manipulations must come to an end. In silver that means that at some point the concentrated COMEX short position no longer increases, but instead gets covered for the first time on rising prices. The main reason is a subtle yet distinct change in the composition of the big concentrated short position in COMEX silver.

 

JPMorgan has amassed a physical stockpile of silver of at least 600 million ounces by my calculations at an average cost of around $20 an ounce, all while continuing to make hundreds of millions of dollars in manipulative COMEX short selling. This epic accumulation has changed the composition of the concentrated COMEX short position more than any single factor.

 

No longer is the largest COMEX silver short subject to extreme financial damage should silver prices explode. Instead, JPMorgan has pulled off the accumulation of the largest silver hoard in world history on declining prices. The bank has never been better positioned for a silver price explosion. In other words, there has never been a better time, from the selfish perspective of JPMorgan, for the price of silver to rip higher or a worse time for the other big shorts. And the recent deliberate price takedown has further reduced JPMorgan’s COMEX short position, greatly enhancing the prospects that JPMorgan won’t be adding to its COMEX short position whenever the next silver rally gets rolling.

 

Should JPMorgan not add to its COMEX short position on the coming silver price rally, then it will be only a matter of time before the remaining big COMEX shorts wake up to the fact that they are toast. By “a matter of time” I am referring to days and weeks. When silver prices rise sufficiently, the remaining shorts will panic and begin to try to cover their short positions. This buying will send silver prices skyward and then touch off all sorts of other buying, including investment buying and then industrial user buying, perhaps the most potent buying of all. The best analogy I can come up with is an atomic bomb on top of a hydrogen bomb on top of a neutron bomb.

 

The big shorts, apart from JPMorgan, appear to be mostly foreign banks according to CFTC data. The speculating foreign banks are precisely the type of short sellers most likely to panic when silver prices start to rally and it begins to take hold on them that JPMorgan is no longer the shorts’ protector and short seller of last resort.

 

Even after the recent selloff, the short position in COMEX silver is still at astronomically high levels relative to all other commodities. The seven biggest shorts (ex JPM) are still short around 350 million ounces (70,000 contracts). It is impossible to imagine such an amount being purchased except at prices $20 to $30 higher, at a minimum.

 

Then other forces will kick in, such as ETF buying, which has largely been somnolent for the past six years. On a rally where silver prices jump to $20 or $30, it would not be unreasonable to imagine $2 to $3 billion of investment demand coming from investors excited by rising prices. That’s not much of an investment in dollar terms, but it happens to equate to 100 million ounces of physical silver. I have trouble visualizing where that much silver would come from, particularly when this physical demand would likely occur as the seven big banks (dead men walking) are buying back in a panic. Then add buying by industrial users who face delivery delays caused by investment buying.

 

The whole silver manipulation has become more obvious than ever, particularly this last deliberate selloff. The concentrated short position hit an all-time extreme a few weeks back on a rally to only $18.50 – the largest such short position at the lowest price ever. You have to ask where this thing is headed. How much longer can a manipulation last that is obvious to more observers than ever before? The name of the biggest manipulator is openly called out and the primary regulator can’t address the most basic questions about the illegal nature of the biggest bank in America holding the price of silver down on paper while it scoops up a huge hoard of physical silver. Something has to give soon and when it does, it will go down in history.

 

Ted Butler

 

May 12, 2017

 

This is an edited version of an article previously sent to subscribers. For subscription information please go to www.butlerresearch.com

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About Theodore Butler / Commentary Author

After publishing unique precious metals commentary on the Internet since 1996, I have decided to offer a subscription service. The main reason for the change is that I felt somewhat restricted by my weekly format.

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