Bitcoin Soars After CFTC Approves Futures Trading: First Trade To Take Place Dec.18

Bitcoin is back over $10,000 after the the CFTC confirmed what had been previously reported, namely that it would allow bitcoin futures to trade on two exchanges, the CME and CBOE Futures Exchange, also granting the Cantor Exchange permission to trade a contract for bitcoin binary options.
The CFTC announced that through a process known as “self-certification,” CME and Cboe stated that their contracts comply with U. S. law and CFTC regulations. The US commodity regulator also said that the it held ‘rigorous discussions’ with the exchanges that resulted in improvements to the contracts’ designs and settlement.
As to when the first bitcoin futures will cross the tape, the CME said it has self-certified the initial listing of its bitcoin futures to launch Monday, December 18, 2017.
‘Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past,’ said CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. ‘As a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets. In working with the Commission, CME, CFE and Cantor have set an appropriate standard for oversight over these bitcoin contracts given the CFTC’s limited statutory ability to oversee the cash market for bitcoin.’
‘Market participants should take note that the relatively nascent underlying cash markets and exchanges for bitcoin remain largely unregulated markets over which the CFTC has limited statutory authority. There are concerns about the price volatility and trading practices of participants in these markets. We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts’ price discovery process, including potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages. Nevertheless, investors should be aware of the potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Comex Gold Sees ‘Another Large Sell’ as Bullish Silver Betting Grows to 7-Week High

COMEX gold contracts recovered a $5 drop against a weakening US Dollar in London lunchtime trade Tuesday, rising back to last week’s finish at $1275 after what analysts called another “large sell” order on the futures market.
Commodities retreated and bond prices edged higher as world stock markets fell again.
Germany’s Dax dropped for the fourth session running after the 19-nation Eurozone released a raft of stronger economic data, led by 2.5% annual GDP growth across the region for the third quarter of the year.
“Speculative financial investors stopped withdrawing from gold and built up net long positions again in the week to 7 November,” says German financial group Commerzbank in a commodities note today, looking at the latest Comex gold derivatives data from US regulator the CFTC.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/14/2017.

Thoughtful Disagreement with Ted Butler

Dear Mr. Butler, in your article of 2 October, entitled Thoughtful Disagreement, you say:
‘Someone will come up with the thoughtful disagreement that makes the body of my premise invalid or the price of silver will validate the premise by exploding.’
I will take you up on your request. You state your case in this paragraph:
‘Here are the issues. Silver (and gold) prices are set by paper dealings on the COMEX by a few large speculators (banks and managed money traders), to the exclusion of input from real producers and consumers, making the price discovery process and the resultant price artificial. For the past nearly ten years, CFTC data have indicated that JPMorgan has been the dominant paper silver short seller, along with a few other large banks and as a result of that dominance and control none have ever taken a loss when adding short positions. In addition, for the past six and a half years, JPMorgan has accumulated a massive amount of actual silver (650 million oz) at rock-bottom and self-created depressed prices, all while never taking a loss while shorting silver on the COMEX.’
In other words, the four issues are:
the price of silver is set exclusively in the futures market (throughout my article, I will refer to silver but what I say is equally applicable to gold also)

This post was published at Acting-Man on October 5, 2017.

Asset Managers Flip To Net Short on Treasuries As UST 10Y-2Y Curve Slope Falls Below 80 BPS

Asset managers have flipped to net short on 10-year Treasury futures for the first time since November, according to CFTC data. The group reduced long positions the past three weeks after 10-year yields approached the 2 percent level in the lead-up to the September FOMC meeting.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on September 25, 2017.

Feds File Suit in One of the Largest Precious Metal Fraud Cases in History

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed a civil lawsuit against California-based gold dealer Monex Deposit Co. in what officials call one of the largest precious metals fraud cases in the history of the commission.
The CFTC alleges Monex defrauded thousands of retail customers nationwide out of hundreds of millions of dollars, while executing illegal, off-exchange, leveraged commodity transactions.

As alleged, the Defendants defrauded thousands of retail customers – many of whom are elderly – out of hundreds of millions of dollars as part of a multi-year scheme. Fraud in our markets, like that alleged here, undermines confidence, reduces transparency, and harms competition. As this investigation shows, we’ll work tirelessly to detect and prosecute fraud of the sort that’s alleged here.’
The allegations revolve around leveraged trading in gold, silver, platinum and palladium through the company’s ‘Atlas’ program. Leveraged trading simply means the investor borrows money in order to invest in precious metals. If the investment pans out, the metal will increase in value enough to repay the loan, cover commissions and interest, and generate a positive return.

This post was published at Schiffgold on SEPTEMBER 7, 2017.

Wall Street Firms Win Again, Regulators Capitulate

Financial Crisis is forgotten. Even sounds of gentle wrist-slapping fade. Penalties imposed during the first half of 2017 on Wall Street firms by their regulators – the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – plunged 65% compared to the same period in 2016.
During the first half in 2016, $1.4 billion in fines were levied on Wall Street firms by the three regulators. In 2017, the total was down to $489 million, according to data collected by The Wall Street Journal.
In this context, Wells Fargo doesn’t have much to fear after admitting a week ago that since 2012 it had quietly added unneeded comprehensive and physical damage insurance to the car payments of 570,000 (or 800,000) of its auto-loan customers.
The SEC imposed $318 million in fines in the first half, down 58% from the same period a year ago, based on The Journal’s search of federal documents and publicly available records on the SEC’s website, along with data provided by University of Virginia law school professor Andrew Vollmer.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Aug 7, 2017.

“Visions Of Cataclysms”: Why Eric Peters Is Starting A Long-Vol Fund

Is the recent streak of record low volatility about to end?
While countless analysts, pundits and traders have previously talked their book (if not staked their reputation) on claims VIX is set for an imminent mean-reverting spike, so far that has not happened and in fact net spec positioning in the VIX just hit a record short print as of the latest CFTC week.
And yet, on Friday night, in a notable change to the low-vol regime, Interactive Brokers announced it would hike volatility product margins ahead of what it warned could be a 100% surge in the VIX, a move which will be promptly copied by most if not all trading platforms. Will this then become a self-fulfilling prophecy – should maringed out traders decide it makes more sense to close out vol shorts than to add more cash – it is too early to know, however, in a separate confirmation that the current low-vol regime may be ending, last week JPM’s quant strategy team reported that “following robust performance in 1H ’17, PnL of short vol premia stagnated over the past month… We see further risk for short vol from both rate increase as well as CB balance sheet renormalization.”
YTD, short vol PnL (+5.1%) exceeds that of traditional beta (+4.2%) and value (+4.1%). Momentum YTD PnL of -5.2% arose from a broad-based decline across global equity indices (-5.1%), sovereign bonds (-2.1%), currencies (-1.4%) and commodities (-12.0%). Carry was flat (+0.9% YTD) as it was buffeted by positive bond carry (+3.9%) and negative equity index carry (-1.6%). Over the past month, short vol has stagnated at 0.26% and momentum has continued its decline by – 0.71%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 6, 2017.

WTI Jumps Above $50 On Report US Prepping Sanctions Against Venezuela Oil Industry

After both Brent and WTI rose above their respective 50DMAs on Friday, capping 2017’s best weekly rally for oil, the rising tide is accelerating as the latest CFTC COT data confirmed, when net specs boosted bullish Nymex WTI crude oil bets by 27K net-long positions to 423K, the highest in two months, as producers continued to cover short hedges, sending their net position to the most bullish since the summer of 2015.

Meanwhile, oil started the Sunday session jumping out of the gate, with WTI rising above $50 for the first time since May in early Asian trading, following the usual non-material weekend chatter and “noise” out of OPEC (which to exactly nobody’s surprise “can’t stop pumping“), however what has attracted traders’ attention, is a WSJ report that following last week’s latest round of sanctions, and after today’s vote to overhaul Venezuela’s constitution further entrenching Maduro’s unpopular regime, US government officials are considering announcing sanctions against Venezuela’s oil industry as early as Monday, although as the WSJ notes, a full-blown “embargo against Venezuelan crude oil imports into the U. S. is off the table for now.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 30, 2017.

Why A Dollar Rebound May Be Imminent Even As Crash Insurance Costs Hit Nosebleed Levels

Is the bottom in for the dollar yet?
After hitting a 14 month low, the Bloomberg Dollar Index saw a modest gain of 0.1% as markets awaited this week’s FOMC meeting and kept a wary eye on Capitol Hill hearings which involve close members of the Trump administration. Quoted by Bloomberg, traders described flows as modest amid the elevated event risk we laid out earlier this morning. Besides another potential surprise from the suddenly dovish Fed, traders were keeping a weary eye on Capitol Hill hearings Monday and Wednesday that include Jared Kushner, Donald Jr and Paul Manafort, and what these could mean for Trump’s fiscal agenda. At the same time, the Fed is expected to keep rates and policies on hold, though it may elaborate on balance-sheet reduction or the timing of any future rate increases.
To be sure, negative sentiment against the dollar has been pervasive, and as we noted yesterday when looking at the latest CFTC Commitment of Traders update, net specs are now the most short they have been the USD doing back to 2013.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 24, 2017.

Ted Butler Quote of the Day 07-14-17

But there are other factors that may play into the only question that matters, namely, will JPM add to shorts or not. Among those factors are the widespread and growing attention to the extreme COMEX positioning changes and otherwise unexplainable and weird price action in silver, which can only be explained by COMEX positioning. Throw in the wildcard of the new Enforcement Director at the CFTC, James McDonald, and the game’s outcome goes beyond interesting.

As far as I’m concerned, we’re on the verge of discovering if McDonald will go down as perhaps the regulatory hero of all time or if we’ll be calling for his head on a spike. Again, it all comes down to whether JPMorgan adds or doesn’t add to its silver short positions whenever the next price rally commences. I can’t get more specific than that.

As far as what Friday’s COT report will indicate, the dramatic downside price action and extremely high trading volume point to yet another week of significant improvement – big commercial buying and managed money selling. This is also supported by an increase in total open interest in the reporting week (4,000 contracts in silver and 18,000 in gold). We may even see improvements on the scale of last week’s report, but regardless of whatever the actual reported numbers may be, it sure feels to me that we’re at or passed the point of a downside climax, particularly in terms of extreme contract positioning. Full and maximum exposure is warranted, particularly in silver.

A small excerpt from Ted Butler’s subscription letter on 12 July 2017.

More precious metals news & information available at
Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Digest.

CFTC Approves Options Trading In Bitcoin

US regulators aren’t yet comfortable with bitcoin ETFs (although a quad-levered S&P ETF is just fine for mom and pop), but apparently options and swaps are another story.
This week, the CFTC took a bold step forward in terms of granting institutional investors access to the bitcoin market, approving the creation of the first SEF or Swap Execution Facility. Previously, traders who wished to place bets in bitcoin derivatives markets were forced to operate in markets that were strictly OTC. But now the agency has issued a registration order to LedgerX, granting it status with the CFTC as a Swap Execution Facility, in the process approving bitcoin options trading.
SEFs are platforms for swap trading that were created under Dodd-Frank to bring tighter regulatory scrutiny to derivatives markets. By authorizing the first SEF for bitcoin options, the CFTC is effectively clearing the way for institutional traders like hedge funds and CTAs to participate in those markets.
‘LedgerX is an institutional trading and clearing platform which has been patiently waiting for full regulatory approval from the CFTC to trade and clear options on bitcoin.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 8, 2017.

A Rigged Game — Ted Butler

There’s no question that the silver market is the most rigged game in the world because no one would be able to establish a more perfect trading record than what JP Morgan and a few other big shorts have achieved. The only question is what can and will be done to end it. In time, the charade will become clear enough to a sufficient number of people, including the victimized technical funds, to bring changes to interrupt the perfect trading record of the big shorts – knowledge is power and all that.
I still believe a quicker route to end the silver scam could come at the hands of the regulators, including the CFTC’s new Enforcement Director, James McDonald. I don’t think there’s any chance that the agency will ever find JP Morgan guilty of manipulating the price of silver (as this crooked bank sorely deserves) for the simple reason that such an action would leave JP Morgan open to an unlimited number of lawsuits; enough to sink what is thought to be an unsinkable ship. No government agency would ever do that. But that doesn’t mean the regulators are helpless, either.

This post was published at Silverseek

A Rigged Game

76 years ago, ‘Joltin’ Joe’ DiMaggio was in the middle of the hitting streak of streaks that would come to 56 consecutive games and which has remained a major league baseball record to this day. That season (1941), the Yankee Clipper would bat .408 during the epic streak or more than 4 hits for every 10 at bats. Ted Williams, of the Boston Red Sox, had the highest batting average in 1941, hitting .406 for the entire season.
What would you say if I told you that a batter had hit 1.000 for an entire season? Or that a pitcher threw no-hitters every time he played a game? I’m pretty sure you would say that’s impossible or that something was definitely wrong. And, of course, you would be correct – somethings are too impossible or outlandish to be true. Not just in baseball, but there are limits in almost every endeavor.
Therefore, I wouldn’t blame you if you questioned what I claim is the winning streak of all winning streaks in trading COMEX silver futures. Data published by the CFTC, the federal commodities regulator, indicate that JPMorgan and two or three other large financial institutions, have never taken a loss, only profits on every single silver trading position they have established over the past nine years and, in fact, for a lot longer than that. You can question what I claim all you want, but do yourself a favor and make sure you question me deeply enough – please don’t let me off the hook easily.

This post was published at SilverSeek on June 22, 2017.

Hedge Funds Have Never Been This Bullish About Small-Cap Stocks

The last two weeks have seen the biggest increase in hedge fund bullish Russell 2000 positions since July 2008 pushing the net speculative long position for leveraged funds to a record high.
The reflexive combination of hedge fund shorts being squeezed and FOMC Drift pushed Small Caps higher early in the week, but notably since the cut-off data for CFTC reporting, Small Caps have dropped…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.

Ted Butler Quote of the Day 06-16-17

As I see it, this is the defining moment for James McDonald, the new enforcement director for the CFTC. Either he will do something about the continuing silver manipulation or he won’t. In the event he doesn’t do anything to interrupt the big commercials like JP Morgan from continuing to snooker the managed money technical funds into and out of COMEX futures positions by illegal spoofing and other dirty market tricks, it will fall to something and someone else. I’m not worried that the silver manipulation won’t end dramatically and soon, but it is not written in stone that it will be the defining moment that McDonald will look back on with satisfaction many years from now. Defining moments can be either good or bad and by definition last forever.

But it would be a mistake to underestimate the pressure he is under not to do the right thing. Essentially, for him to dismantle the crooked price discovery mechanism on the COMEX for silver (and gold) and on other futures exchanges for other commodities, he must repudiate more than 30 years of prior agency thinking, as well as overcome the secret and illegal agreement made between the U.S. Government and JP Morgan, on the occasion of JPM taking over Bear Stearns in 2008. Admittedly, that’s a very tall order. But the taller the order, the greater the defining moment.

Certainly, the inability to overcome the standard line from the CFTC for decades, namely, that no manipulation was possible in silver, has plagued others who set out to do so. Gary Gensler comes to mind because he started off in hitting the road running to establish legitimate position limits in 2009 and seemed to be on the right path to doing so. Even Bart Chilton, the former and very outspoken commissioner who talked openly of the silver manipulation, eventually lost his public voice for the same reason as Gensler failed – neither could overcome the illegal agreement with JPM.

A small excerpt from Ted Butler’s subscription letter on 14 June 2017.

More precious metals news & information available at
Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Digest.

Hell Freezes Over: CFTC Finds Trader Guilty of Metals Price Rigging

It must have been painfully awkward for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Last year, Deutsche Bank settled a civil suit involving blatant market rigging and turned over reams of information, including chat logs and voice recordings. The trove contained plenty of damning evidence which had gone overlooked by the CFTC.
CFTC investigators supposedly spent 5 years searching for illegal market manipulation, but somehow, managed to find nothing.
The cheating became hard to ignore after Deutsche Bank turned over voice recordings and 350,000 pages of documents which revealed bank trading desks being run like the back office of a crooked casino.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 13 June 2017.

Ted Butler Quote of the Day 06-09-17

I’m convinced that because the ink was still relatively wet on the agreement between JPMorgan and the U.S. government when Gensler came on board — and because he was unaware of that until he was way down the road to instituting position limits and overall reform, all his efforts were for naught. Anything that would have inconvenienced JP Morgan at that time was not going to fly; neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve would allow it. As Gensler slowly came to this realization, he recognized his efforts would not come to fruition and he beat a retreat.

But that was then — and this is now. The secret and illegal agreement between JP Morgan and the Fed and Treasury is now nine years old — and long of tooth. None of the original U.S. Government arrangers appear to be in office and JP Morgan’s manipulative actions over this time are starting to ripen and smell. For cripes sake, JP Morgan hasn’t taken a single loss when shorting COMEX silver over the past nine years and has amassed 600 million ounces of physical silver at artificially depressed prices over the past six years. No way, no how was that ever intended by the U.S. Government at the outset (JPM’s intentions excluded).

Now JP Morgan’s actions appear inexcusable and not to be tolerated for much longer. Enter the appointment of an apparently honest man to a position that matters at the CFTC and the whole dynamic appears to have changed. Who at the Fed or Treasury will demand that JP Morgan continue to be treated with kid gloves in silver because of a secret agreement made under duress nine years ago, particularly with more

than ever openly recognizing the scummy and duplicitous actions of the country’s most important bank?

A small excerpt from Ted Butler’s subscription letter on 07 June 2017.

  More precious metals news & information available at
Ed Steer’s Gold & Silver Digest.

Ted Butler: Surprise CFTC Announcement

I was shocked by Friday’s announcement by the CFTC of an order and simultaneous settlement of manipulation charges in COMEX gold and silver futures. I first saw it in a Zero Hedge article and subsequent articles on Bloomberg and in The Wall Street Journal, but all those accounts were somewhat off target compared to the CFTC announcement itself. This was one of those rare cases where the source announcement was much clearer than the articles describing it. I would ask you to take the time to read and reread the actual announcement from the CFTC, including both the press release itself and the complete order.
In essence, for the first time in history, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has brought charges against someone for manipulating the gold and silver markets exactly in the manner I have described for decades. This is so astounding on its face, that I hardly know where to begin. In addition, I am writing this less than 24 hours after reading the announcement, so I reserve the right to alter my opinion as time evolves. But there is much to say at this point.
While it is true that the agency brought these charges against a former junior trader of an unnamed foreign bank (said to be Deutsche Bank), the price manipulation occurred during the time of the CFTC’s infamous five-year formal silver investigation. You’ll remember that the original investigation by its Enforcement Division previously concluded that there were no manipulation charges worthy of pursuing. Clearly, something changed the CFTC’s mind. Also, please note that all the alleged price manipulation took place on the cesspool also known as the COMEX and not on any of the foreign exchanges often bandied about.

This post was published at Silverseek


GOLD: $1279.30 up $3.10
Silver: $17.55 up 6 cent(s)
Closing access prices:
Gold $1279.95
silver: $17.57
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$8.24
LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1280.70
For comex gold:
TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 1912 FOR 191200 OZ (5.9471 TONNES)
For silver:
For silver: JUNE
Total number of notices filed so far this month: 447 for 2,235,000 oz

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on June 5, 2017.