Written by Jeff NielsonWednesday, 01 September 2010 12:19

Given the decades of rampant manipulation of the precious metals markets on the “short” side of trading, it is more than ironic that as the U.S. CFTC (“Commodity Futures Trading Commission”) ponders restrictions on commodities markets, it has expressed the most public concern about “speculators” on the “long” side of investing.
This comes with HSBC sitting with the largest concentrated-position in the gold market in history (“short”), while JP Morgan sits with the largest concentrated-position in the history of the silver market (also “short”). Furthermore, these concentrations (in proportionate terms) are far larger than anything seen in the history of all commodities markets.
Nonetheless, we continue to hear endless rhetoric about “speculators” disrupting markets (especially the crude oil market) – through “competing” with the buyers who actually consume these commodities through their own operations. Such “disruptive speculation” is often referred to (disparagingly) as “hoarding”.
Before I get into a direct analysis of this economic phenomenon, it would be helpful to review some basic economic fundamentals, and then first apply those fundamentals to the “short” side of commodities trading. Regular readers will be familiar with one of my economic mantras on commodities markets: anything which is under-priced will be over-consumed.
In fact, this isn’t really “economics”, but merely an expression of common sense. If chocolate bars were suddenly re-priced at a dime apiece, store shelves would be cleaned-out in days. Manufacturers’ inventories would then quickly be drained. This would soon be followed by acute shortages in the global cocoa market, and very possibly the sugar market as well.
At some point, not too far down the road, such warped pricing (totally against economic fundamentals) would create utter havoc in these markets – as acute shortages occurred – leading (inevitably) to a massive price-shock, not only to the chocolate bar market, but also with the cocoa market, and likely the sugar market, too. These price-shocks, in turn, would cause serious disruptions in other markets which rely upon these commodities.
In short, excessively low prices are at least as damaging and disruptive to markets as excessively high prices – and arguably much more so, since they lead to two massive distortions to markets: first over-consumption (which depletes inventories and stockpiles), followed by a massive price-shock (the only way to curb demand to a sustainable level).
If we replace the words “chocolate bar” (in our example) with the word “silver”, we see what utter havoc has been created in this market, through JP Morgan being allowed to accumulate and hold the largest, concentrated (short) position in the history of commodities market.
Noted silver authority Ted Butler has estimated that 90% of global stockpiles of silver have been used-up, thanks to decades of this market-manipulation by JP Morgan – along with smaller, but equally nefarious allies in this market. With decades of manipulation behind us, and global inventories and stockpiles already decimated, we have gone through the period of “over-consumption” and are rapidly approaching the massive price-shock – which became inevitable the day that JP Morgan (and fellow banksters) embarked upon this permanent-manipulation scheme. It is the years of ceaseless manipulation, combined with JP Morgan misrepresenting their activities in this market which makes this more than merely "illegitimate", but also illegal.

Not surprisingly, growing numbers of investors are gravitating toward this market. They are investing in a commodity which has become genuinely “scarce”, due to the nefarious (and illegal) manipulation of this market by JP Morgan and allies. How is the brain-dead media reacting to these market events?
Far from condemning the indefensible conduct of the bankers (on the short side), it is silver investors who are depicted as “speculators” – which as I explained earlier, is a “four-letter word” in the eyes of the U.S. regulator.  And rather than describing the activity of these “speculators” as the very sensible decision to stock-up on a commodity in short supply, the media depicts this activity as “hoarding” – yet another term with negative connotations.
To display how this attitude is not simply “warped”, but totally mistaken, let’s back-up a bit. JP Morgan attempts to “justify” its illegal manipulation of the silver market as part of the legitimate activity of “hedging”. Simple arithmetic proves JP Morgan is lying. By definition, hedging is an activity to help restore balance to a market – through offsetting long positions in that market.
More importantly, the mechanism through which hedging restores balance is price. At this point, analysis becomes simple: if the hedging is legitimate it will produce a price which leads to balance between supply and demand in this market. The simple fact that the (supposed) “hedging” (i.e. shorting) by JP Morgan led to a 90% drop in global stockpiles, and a corresponding 90% plunge in global inventories (in just 15 years) is – by itself – conclusive proof that JP Morgan’s short-position could not possibly represent legitimate hedging.
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