by Keith Weiner, Monetary Metals:
This topic is so timely and so important, that we publish this special report in lieu of our normal weekly Supply and Demand Report.
After our recent article debunking manipulation, we got a phone call from a man whom we will call Jim Bailey (all names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty). Jim worked on the London gold desk at a major financial institution. He told us that a lot of what we said was spot on. However, he said in no uncertain terms that manipulation does occur. Here is Jim’s story, as related to us by phone on Friday.
It was seven years ago, today. Lord Horace Abernathy came into our office. I knew of Abernathy, of course, he was my boss’ boss’ boss. A power broker, his value to the bank was not so much in his managerial skills, but his connections in government. His seat in the House of Lords was invaluable.
He did not ask after the traders’ health, or make any other small talk. He is a Lord and traders are mere peasants. He just said, “Chancellor Osborne needs you to make silver go down.”
There was a long silence, as nearly a score of traders gaped at each other.
“Gold too, of course.”
The head trader, a man known only by his last name McKellar, looked like a hard man such as you might find drinking and fighting heavily in a pub in South London. He had a florid nose, and one ear perhaps resembled cauliflower. He kept a running tally of every gold forward throughout the trading day, and could calculate bid and offer on options spreads in his head in about a second.
He wasn’t having none o’ the Lord’s rubbish. “We haven’t got a Harry Potter wand to wave and just make them go down! Every tosser is buying right now. We could sell our whole prop position and it wouldn’t make a dent.”
Abernathy ignored McKellar and his uncouth language. “Well, what are you waiting for? I should not even need to tell you this, but Osborne personally wants gold and silver to go down. This big rise makes the government’s money look bad.”
McKellar just said, “OK, how do you expect us to do that?”
“How should I know? Press some buttons on those fancy terminals of yours! It’s not my responsibility to know how to trade. That’s why we pay you so much, because you do. Am I in error?”
“Oh, we know how to trade. My. Lord.” The sarcasm would have been obvious even to Abernathy. But he either did not hear it, or chose to ignore it.
“Splendid. You have a month to make your plans for silver, but I want to see it start to fall on May the first.”
“May 1 is a Sunday.”
“Very well. You have bought yourself an extra day. But I better see a big drop on May the second!”
McKellar was not the only one staring holes into Abernathy’s head.
“And gold too. But you have until August to get gold down. Silver first. Definitely silver before gold.”
“Why silver first? If I may be sold bold as to ask, my Lord?” This was from Robert Johnson, the assistant head trader.
“Very well. I should not be having to tell you. But I shall, nevertheless. HM Treasury wants to make this look realistic. Silver leads gold, and it went up more. The end of the bull market, and the start of another decade-long bear, should also start with silver.”
“You have your orders.” He made his exit with a grand flourish.
The price of silver dropped four dollars on May 2, 2011. Here is how Bailey told us that it went down.
“You heard him,” said McKellar. “Make silver go down. I am going to the pub for a drink!” and he stalked out. No one knew if he was buckling under the pressure, or if he suspected that we might be breaking the law and wanted to deny any knowledge of what we were about to do.
We got an intern to tape up large pieces of paper on the wall. And as we brainstormed ideas, he wrote each in a different color crayon. After a few hours, we had a goodly list:
Publish bearish research reports
Call all clients and urge them to sell
Call the other banks and convince them to sell
Find 10,000 tons of silver metal and sell it
Sell the metal backing SLV, and buy it back and return it later after price falls
Sell futures, naked
Just then, McKellar staggered back into the office, looking none too steady on his feet. But he fell into a chair and joined the discussion.