16 July 2009

Paper, Scissors, Gold

As you may have heard recently, the Comex has asserted their right under their rules to deliver the equivalent paper interest in Exchange Traded Funds such as GLD in lieu of the delivery of physical bullion for those standing for delivery under the rules of the commodity exchange.

Is GLD really the same as physical bullion?

"...it appears that a lot of investors believe and trust that investing in GLD is the same thing as buying physical gold bullion. A close reading and analysis of the GLD Prospectus, however, reveals that investing in GLD is drastically different from owning gold. This analysis will show why GLD is nothing more than another form of a derivative security which is loaded with counter-party default risk."
Owning GLD Can Be Hazardous to Your Wealth
Here is a recent statement from Dennis Gartman who most often derides those he calls 'goldbugs.'
"To finish, we do agree that recent decisions to allow for the "delivery" of ETF shares in the stead of actual physical gold against a futures position does cause us some concern. Indeed, it causes us some very real concern, for if we stand for delivery of wheat we expect to receive wheat, not paper. The same holds true for delivery processes on the COMEX, and if GATA and the "Bugs" have a complaint it is this new decision by the COMEX. On this, we’ll grant that the "Bugs" have something to complain about." Dennis Gartman in The Gartman Letter

We have often said that when the real crisis of liquidity comes, and the final flight to safety from the credit bubble collapse begins in earnest, the exchanges will alter the rules to allow for cash and paper settlement of claims for bullion, which they cannot or will not be able to deliver at the agreed upon prices.

This is what makes the current structure of the short positions held by a few banks on the precious metals exchanges a 'racket,' a type of Ponzi scheme where the same thing is sold repeatedly with no means of satisfying the aggregate of the claims and ownership.

We are sure the Comex is "well capitalized," and will continue to be so, even as it is rocked by de facto delivery failures and the substitution of more paper to back up the general failure of paper.

The wheels of justice grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.