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Former Goldman Commodities Research Analyst Confirms LMBA OTC Gold Market Is "Paper Gold" Ponzi

 March 28, 2010 09:11 PM
 


When we put up a link to last week's CFTC hearing webcast little did we know that it would end up being the veritable (physical) gold mine (no pun intended) of information about what really transpires in the commodities market. First, we obtained direct evidence from Andrew Maguire (who may or may not have been the target of an attempt at "bodily harm" as reported yesterday) of extensive manipulation in the silver market. Today, Adrian Douglas, director of GATA, adds to the mountain of evidence that the commodities market, and the CFTC, stand behind what is potentially the biggest market manipulation scheme in the history of capital markets (we are assuming for the time being that all allegations of the Fed manipulating the broader equity and credit markets are completely baseless). Using the testimony of a clueless Jeffrey Christian, formerly a staffer at the Commodities Research Group in the Goldman Sachs Investment Research Department and now head and founder of the CPM Group, Douglas confirms that the "LBMA trades over 100 times the amount of gold it actually has to back the trades."

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Christian, who describes himself as "one of the world's foremost authorities on the markets for precious metals" yet, in the words of Gary Gensler, said "that the bullion banks had large shorts to hedge themselves selling elsewhere- how do you short something to cover a sale, I didn't quite follow that?" and proves that current and former Goldman bankers are some of the most arrogant people alive, assuming that everyone else is an idiot and will buy whatever explanation is presented just because the CV says Goldman Sachs. Yet Christian confirms that the gold market is basically a ponzi: "in the "physical market" as the market uses that term, there is much more metal than that…there is a hundred times what there is." And there you have it: as Douglas eloquently summarizes: "the giant Ponzi trading of gold ledger entries can be sustained only if there is never a liquidity crisis in the REAL physical market. If someone asks for gold and there isn't any the default would trigger the biggest "bank run" and default in history. This is, of course, why the Central Banks lease their gold or sell it outright to the bullion banks when they are squeezed by high demand for REAL physical gold that can not be met from their own stocks" and concludes "Almost every day we hear of a new financial fraud that has been exposed. The gold and silver market fraud is likely to be bigger than all of them. Investors in their droves, who have purchased gold in good faith in "unallocated accounts", are going to demand delivery of their metal. They will then discover that there is only one ounce for every one hundred ounces claimed. They will find out they are "unsecured creditors".

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For those of you who missed the CFTC hearing, here are two of the must-watch clips. In the first one, Adrian Douglas introduces the underlying concerns about the Ponzi nature of the LBMA hedging situation, in which a wholesale rush to "physical delivery" would result in a one hundred fold dilution of gold holdings, and a 99% result of unsecured creditor claims (good luck collecting on that particular bankruptcy). We also meet Jeffrey Christian, formerly of Goldman and currently of CPM, in which not only does the "expert" state that a bullion bank short is hedged by further shorting, but confirms Douglas' and GATA's previous claims that the "physical" market, as defined, is a joke, as the OTC market treats gold purely as a financial asset, essentially conforming to the precepts of fractional reserve banking. As Douglas notes "He confirms that the LBMA trades hundreds of times the real underlying physical. This is even a higher estimate than I have previously made! It is, as I asserted before the Commission, a giant Ponzi Schem."

Here is running commentary from Douglas based on a transcript of this part of the hearing:

S. O'MALIA: Both Mr. Organ and Mr. Epstein in the second panel, raised the concerns that short positions exceed the physical supply. The second panel kind of argued that that wasn't a concern. Are you concerned that the shorts will not be able to deliver if called upon?

J. CHRISTIAN: No. I am not at all concerned. For one thing it has been persistently that way for decades. Another thing is that there are any number of mechanisms allowing for cash settlements and problems and a third thing is as many people who are actually knowledgeable about the silver market and the gold market have testified today that almost all of those short positions are in fact hedges, the short futures positions are hedges, offsetting long positions in the OTC market. So I don't really see a concern there.

(Note: It is interesting that Mr. Christian is not concerned about the ability of the shorts to deliver because they can cash settle! He clearly has no understanding that when someone wants to buy precious metals giving them cash  instead is a failure to deliver. It is a default! But he is not concerned! He says that the short position is actually hedged by a long position on the OTC but we will see later in this testimony how he describes the "OTC Physical Market" and we will see that the long position is not bullion but is in fact an unbacked (or only partially backed) I.O.U. bullion.)

S. O'MALIA: Mr Organ would you like to respond?

H. Organ: I do see a risk on this, and I think it is a risk that we have to be very, very careful of. As countries like China, South Korea and Russia start demanding and taking physical delivery of their gold and moving it offshore to their shores and putting pressure on the Comex, and we will probably come to a point in time where we will have a failure to deliver.

A DOUGLAS: Mr. Chairman, could I make a comment?

CHAIRMAN GENSLER: No! Who are you?

A DOUGLAS: I would…

CHAIRMAN GENSLER: No! I said "No!"

A DOUGLAS: Oh! You said "No"?

CHAIRMAN GENSLER: I don't know who is this?

A DOUGLAS: I am Adrian Douglas; I am assisting Harvey.

CHAIRMAN GENSLER: Alright, Sir. Yes.

A DOUGLAS: I would just like to make a comment. We are talking about the futures market hedging the physical market. But if we look at the physical market,the LBMA, it trades 20 million ozs of gold per day on a net basis which is 22 billion dollars. That's 5.4 Trillion dollars per year. That is half the size of the US economy. If you take the gross amount it is about one and a half times the US economy; that is not trading 100% backed metal; it's trading on a fractional reserve basis. And you can tell that from the LBMA's website because they trade in "unallocated" accounts. And if you look at their definition of an "unallocated account" they say that you are an "unsecured creditor".


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