A consultant to GATA (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee) brought to our attention the fact that gold swaps at the BIS have soared from zero in March 2016 to almost 500 tonnes by August 2017 (GATA – BIS Gold Swaps). The outstanding balance is now higher than it was in 2011, leading up to the violent systematically manipulated take-down of the gold price starting in September 2011 (silver was attacked starting in April 2011).
The report stimulated my curiosity because most bloggers reference the BIS or articles about the BIS gold market activity without actually perusing through BIS financial statements and the accompanying footnotes. Gold swaps work similarly to Fed report transactions. When banks need cash liquidity, the Fed extends short term loans to the banks and receives Treasuries as collateral. QE can be seen as a multi-trillion dollar Permanent Repo operation that involved outright money printing.
Similarly, if the bullion banks (HSBC, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, etc) need access to a supply of gold, the BIS will ‘swap’ gold for cash. This would involve BIS or BIS Central Bank member gold which is loaned out to the banks and the banks deposit cash as collateral to against the gold ‘loan.’ This operation is benignly called a ‘gold swap.’ The purpose would be to alleviate a short term scarcity of gold in London and put gold into the hands of the bullion banks that can be delivered into the eastern hemisphere countries who are importing large quantities of gold (gold swaps outstanding are referenced beginning in 2010).
This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on September 18, 2017.