Not so fast Wonger
In the non-speculator category, the Swaps are more short than they were in July 2016 despite open interest being 71,372 contracts lower. The mark-to-market value is record net short at $36.6 billion. What has happened is the Producer/Merchants have cut their positions, presumably deciding that hedging mine output is less important in the current inflationary environment. Consequently, the bullion banks are bearing 71% of the short exposure.
The speculator category makes this more interesting still. At 138,555 net long, hedge funds are only 25,000 contracts longer than average, and compared with their bullishness in July 2016 have hardly got going. It is the other categories, Other Reported and Non-reported have taken 56% of the long side, and they are not behaving like skittish hedge funds at all. These include family offices, the ultra-wealthy and foreigners through Globex who are standing for delivery as a means of getting their hands on physical bullion —171 tonnes from the June contract alone.
Bullion banks are between a rock and a hard place. For years they’ve been playing the hedge funds as an angler hooks and plays a fish. That game has ceased and there is no easy way for them to get level. For the moment they are trying to put a lid on the price, but the cost has been rising open interest, and therefore rising mark-to-market positions.
The August active contract runs off the board at the end of this month and bullion banks are likely to be forced into large delivery volumes again. Furthermore, the exchange for delivery arbitrage facility between Comex and the LBMA is broken, allowing Comex premiums to London spot to go unchallenged.
It is increasingly possible the gold contract is evolving into deep crisis, and that force majeuremight have to be declared if, as seems increasingly inevitable, a wider banking crisis ensues.