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Mission Accomplished?

A set of readily-verifiable facts have combined to point to a stunning conclusion, namely, that thanks largely to enough people doing the right thing, that the federal commodities regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, may have also finally done the right thing when it comes to the decades-old COMEX silver price manipulation. If my assessment is correct, the most logical conclusion is that we may be at the end of the long-running manipulation and set to rocket higher in silver prices. Let me present the facts and leave it to you to decide for yourself.

A bit over two years ago, on March 5, 2021, I wrote an article in which I solicited public support in writing to the CFTC and to elected representatives concerning a letter I wrote to the agency about an issue I advanced for decades – the concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures (which I consistently maintained as a key to the manipulation). While there were many naysayers who countered that writing to the Commission was a waste of time, even more observers took the time to write in. Thanks to all who took the time to write in.

Fortunately, I took my own advice and also wrote to my elected officials and lucked out when through my local congressman and an extremely-competent staffer who diligently-followed up with the agency, received, two months later, an official response that shocked me.  After always arguing with every single point, I raised with the CFTC about the concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures, its response this time indicated that it had shared my concerns with two of its critical divisions, Enforcement and Market Oversight.

If you take the time to read all the references and facts contained in the above two articles, I’m sure you will conclude that I have presented the case objectively to this point. But what’s this business about mission accomplished and the end of the long-running COMEX silver manipulation being at hand? It has to do with another easily-verifiable set of facts since the date of the Commission’s response (May 3, 2021) – the unprecedented decline in the concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures to this time, particularly concerning the commercial-only component of what I always considered at the core of the manipulation.

Thinking back on it, I was always intrigued by the way the Commission concluded its response to me in May 2021, namely, informing me that it could not offer further comment on what it might or might not do regarding the information I provided. This was the farthest cry possible from how it always treated my past complaints about the excessively-large concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures. But how could I possibly know whether the Commission was sincere in its response or whether it was just blowing smoke to bury the matter at hand?

Then, it dawned on me – it wasn’t words that would indicate whether the Commission was sincere or not – it was its actions; specifically, what would the concentrated short position actually do following its response? At this point, the record is quite compelling that there may have been strong action associated with the Commission’s words.

From the high-point of 65,262 contracts (326 million oz) on Feb 2, 2021 for the 4 largest COMEX shorts (which prompted me to write and encourage others to do the same in the first place), the short position of the 4 largest shorts has fallen to 36,478 contracts (183 million oz) as of the most recent COT report (May 30), and when adjusted to reflect the commercial-only component of this position, the concentrated position is down around close to 27,500 contracts (138 million oz), down close to a stunning 60% from Feb 2, 2021.

As I’ve been reporting recently (to subscribers), for the first time ever, on the recent $6 silver price rally from early March to the beginning of May, the 4 big commercial shorts on the COMEX failed to increase their concentrated short position, as they always had in the past. I took this to strongly suggest that they would not do so on the next silver rally, whenever that rally commenced. Now, that I’ve had a chance to think about the Commission’s response of May 3, 2021 and measure that response against the actual record of the sharp reduction in the concentrated short position since then, I can’t help but see the connection even stronger and I feel more assured that the days of concentrated short selling containing silver prices may be behind us.

It now seems to me that back in April-May of 2021, as the Commission was preparing to respond to my letter of March 5, it not only  concluded that I was correct about the concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures being responsible for manipulating prices, it then informed the big commercial shorts to, essentially, knock it off.

Realistically speaking, had the Commission simply ordered the then-big silver shorts to cover their short positions immediately, all heck would have ensued, sending prices to the heavens. It would also have demonstrated that the Commission was negligent for decades. Instead, the Commission, most likely, gave the big commercial shorts some time (say two years) to work down their concentrated short positions. Can I certify that such a time-sensitive directive was given to the big COMEX silver shorts two years ago? Of course not, as how could I possibly be privy to such a directive? But I’ll be darned, that in hindsight, if all the facts don’t fit better than the glove in OJ’s trial.

Then why the question mark on the mission being accomplished? Because despite everything I’ve alleged (or speculated about) to this point being as real as rain and easily verified by the actual record; whether we are actually at the end of the silver manipulation is dependent on whether the former big commercials shorts add aggressively to new short positions on the next silver price rally.  If they do add aggressively to shorts, that would suggest I am incorrect in what I have just written. In that case, there should be ample time to adjust my thinking and positioning, because a decent rally would have already occurred.  If they don’t add aggressively to such short positions, then that rally should prove epic and we won’t have to sit around and wonder any longer about the silver manipulation.

I can’t rule out the possibility of a continued selloff, perhaps a sharp one, in the immediate period ahead; but neither is such a selloff guaranteed. Should we get yet another deliberate price rig to the downside, that will only enhance the prospects for the coming eventual rally being one for the ages.

Ted Butler

June 6, 2023

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