23 April 2015

NAV of Certain Precious Metal Trusts and Funds - Sprott Bid For Canadian Metals Trusts

Bloomberg reports that Sprott may be planning an 'unsolicited bid' for the acquisition of the Central Gold Trust and the Silver Bullion Trust.  The planned acquisition would cut the 'trading gap' or NAV discount of the Gold Trust.
The market has already cut the recent discount to NAV roughly in half this morning with a rally in the price of GTU.  Markets tend towards the arc of price discovery, if sometimes more slowly, even in a climate of persistent manipulation.   And once begun, those adjustments have sometimes then come suddenly, which 'no one could have foreseen,' as we saw in the most recent financial crisis of 2007.

"Sprott Asset Management LP is planning to make an unsolicited offer to acquire Central GoldTrust and Silver Bullion Trust valued at $800 million, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

An offer at that level would reflect a 3.5 percent discount to the combined market value of the trusts at the close Wednesday of about $829 million. The proposal could come as early as Thursday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The trusts, which buy and hold substantially all of their assets in respective metals in bullion and certificates, have been under pressure from investor Polar Securities Inc., the Toronto-based hedge fund. Polar has been urging the trusts to change how unitholders can redeem their investment as a means of closing their trading gaps.

Sprott aims to use its broader marketing platform and investor relations expertise to close the historic trading gap on both targets between their unit price and their net asset value, said the person familiar with the situation. Sprott projects it will add about $3.14 per unit in value to Central GoldTrust and 95 cents a unit to Silver Bullion by closing that gap, the person said.

J.C. Stefan Spicer, president and chief executive of both Central GoldTrust and Silver Bullion, declined to comment. Glen Williams, a spokesman for Sprott, declined to comment."
In other industry news, Bloomberg also reported that growing Swiss exports indicate that 'gold bars are leaving U.K. vaults for Switzerland, where they’re refined and sent to Asia. India and China.' Or in other words, gold is flowing from west to east.
Sometime recently challenged that notion of gold flowing East, as just a slogan.  Look, he said, at the mighty gold inventories on the Comex.  Yes, I have looked, and what is truly available at these prices is a rounding error on the physical markets in Asia and the Mideast. 
Right now, at these prices, there are a total of 567,928 ounces of registered gold available for delivery in all of the Comex warehouses.   That is a little under 18 tonnes.  The Central Gold Trust alone, a fairly modest player in the bigger scheme of things, holds 698,496 ounces of gold bullion.  It appears that Sprott is bidding to pick up all of it, and at a discount to spot.  How is that for mispricing of value?
And yet all of this, all of the Comex and these trusts,  this is just about what is being taken out of the Shanghai gold exchange alone each week.  And then there is India, Russia, and the Mideast.
The crux of this, of course, is the implied threat of the West, led by the US, to throw their own gold reserves on the table to keep the prices of bullion artificially low and 'under control.'   Really?  Throw down then, and see what happens next.  Because once that is done, there is no going back.  And the dislocation that follows may bring down more than a few bullion banks with it.
Someone needs to sit down with these central banking lads and give them a more realistic assessment of what price levels they can ever hope to sustain given the highly distorted dynamics of the markets which they themselves are perpetuating.   I am sure their bullion banker buddies will tell them whatever they wish to hear while the fees are flowing.
I suspect that the real gap here is the divergence between the physical markets and the paper markets.  And after several long years of persistent market rigging it is yawning.   You might do well to mind that gap, because it may close at some point, and that move could be sudden, and noticeable.