Questions About Analyzing Gold Futures COT Data

by Dave Kranzler, Investment Research Dynamics

GATA’s Treasurer and Co-founder, Chris Powell, forwarded an inquiry to me from a precious metals market participant who had some questions about sourcing and analyzing gold futures trading data, like the Commitment of Traders (COT) report.  I thought I would share the questions and my response because I think it will help clarify a subject that has been heavily cloaked in opacity and confusion by Wall Street and the Government (CFTC).   Here was the inquiry:

As you can see by the Zeal chart – Zeallc.com LINK –  the shorting of gold futures has risen to 200K contracts, which is at least a 16 year high.  While I realize that this is only one component of the manipulation of the gold price, I would like to follow it more closely.  Do you know where I can get the most recent data on gold shorts?

When I look at this – COT LINK –  it appears the 200K number comes from the commercial shorts only.  But why would Zeal only focus on the commercial shorts and not the net position?

When I look at this chart – Gold futures COT chart –  I’m very confused as to what I should be paying attention to.  What would you be paying attention to when looking to see what the trends are on the Comex?  Any suggestions are appreciated.

Those were great questions and I wanted to share that inquiry plus my response:

With regard to monitoring the long/short positions of gold/silver, you answered your own question.  This is the source:

http://www.cftc.gov/MARKETREPORTS/COMMITMENTSOFTRADERS/INDEX.HTM

If you want to follow the daily changes in open interest you can look here:

http://www.cftc.gov/MARKETREPORTS/COMMITMENTSOFTRADERS/INDEX.HTM

That report is updated for gold/silver around 10:00 a.m. every day, reflecting the previous day’s trade settlements.  It does not show which trading categories bought or sold, just the overall changes in open interest.

The shorting of gold futures is the primary “visible” component of manipulation.  The other components – OTC derivatives, leases and hypothecation are all behind the scenes, hidden from sight and it’s impossible to track those activities.  I believe that the more insidious exertion of manipulation occurs in those activities and that’s why it’s hidden from public view.

Adam Hamilton is behind the times.  Historically the commercial gross short position in gold and silver moved inversely with the price.  When the shorts were high, the price had been manipulated lower.  Then the commercials would reverse it by covering their shorts at a big profit, their gross short position would decline significantly and the short covering would drive the price higher.

The managed money “hedge funds” would take the other side and always lose money.

NOW the managed money – via algorithm-driven HFT trading – seems to have begun to piggy-back the the commercial selling momentum. That’s why now we are seeing large managed money shorts when the price is going lower.

To be honest with you, there’s so much fraud and corruption going on in the reporting of all of this information that it’s really pointless spending the time collecting the data, analyzing it and trying to understand it.  JPM was fined recently by the CFTF (a small, meaningless $650k fine) for stuffing commercial trade tickets into the managed money account bucket.  I guarantee you they still are doing this.

Also, there’s so may “eyeballs” now vs. 10 years ago looking at it that it’s largely removed any value from the information content (and that content is subject to high degrees of reporting fraud anyway).

People like Hamilton and Ted Butler make a lot of money selling newsletters analzying the COT data, so they will defend the value of doing so and the veracity of the data to the bitter end.

But the bottom line is that I wouldn’t spend much time trying to figure out what’s going by looking at the COT and open interest numbers. It’s become a waste of time.

I no longer put much energy in this endeavor, after having spend the better part of the last 15 years looking at the numbers religiously.  I now briefly scan the COT weekly and o/i numbers daily just out of intellectual curiosity to see where they stand and to confirm every week that my view on what I just laid out above is correct.

It is correct and will remain correct until the system collapses.

Hope that helps.

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