Are silver prices rigged?

Jun 24, 2023

silver jewelAre silver prices rigged?
#SilverSqueeze action

Melissa Pistilli said, in response to the silver squeeze excitement on Reddit and other parts of social media in early 2021, INN took to again ask followers the question, “Do you believe the silver market is manipulated?” This time around, an eye-popping 95.6 percent of respondents, “Yes.”

Had CPM Group’s Christian changed his mind? A decade later, he had neither lost his sharp tongue nor changed his position on silver manipulation. Speaking to S&P Global Market Intelligence, he compared the #SilverSqueeze action to what happened with the Hunt brothers — and he didn’t mince words.

“(The Hunts) looked at silver and said, ‘Oh, we think this price is gonna rise sharply.’ And they bought a lot of silver and they bought some silver futures, and they bought some silver options, and then they told everybody what they were buying. (But) these guys are just punks … They have the same short-term thinking process as the guys who stormed the Capitol,” he told the news outlet.

Christian casted doubt on retail investors’ ability to force the silver price high enough that it would hurt those with short positions in the market. Additionally, he noted that big banks such as JPMorgan stand to benefit from a higher silver price, as they did during silver’s soaring prices in 2011. “J.P. Morgan actually recorded record earnings on its gold and silver trades that year,” he said.

Similarly, Philip Newman, managing director at Metals Focus, acknowledged the “emotive” nature of the controversy given the “strong opinions” that some people have about how the price of silver should be determined. “Their starting premise is the market is being manipulated and therefore we’re not seeing the true silver price. We just don’t subscribe to that view,” Newman told Bloomberg at that time.

“They are trying to fight against something that may not exist. Unfortunately, yes it makes a great headline but you could see people losing a lot of money, which is quite sad,” he added.

GATA Secretary and Treasurer Chris Powell weighed in on the other side, saying he believes that manipulation is at play in the silver market. However, he cautioned that it isn’t easy to go up against governments and central banks, calling them “creators of infinite money.”

He explained in a note posted on GATA’s website, “I would encourage (Reddit-inspired investors) to inquire into the use of the Central Bank Incentive Program sponsored by CME Group, operator of the major U.S. futures exchanges, which provides volume trading discounts to governments and central banks for their surreptitious trading in the commodity futures markets.”

Silver’s 2021 price jump came on the heels of a blockbuster day for the iShares Silver Trust, the largest silver ETF. Speaking to INN, Chris Marcus, founder of Arcadia Economics, pointed out that the record-breaking inflows don’t match the silver supply and demand statistics from the Silver Institute.

“It hit me last night — the only way that we know if there’s anything in there is based on the word of JPMorgan, who’s the custodian of SLV who just got fined a billion dollars for manipulating … the precious metals — and Treasury markets I might add,” he said at the time.

Of course, there’s a flip side there too. Also speaking to Bloomberg, Ross Norman, longtime precious metals market guru and CEO of Metal Daily, shared his opinion on silver manipulation.

“There’s also always been this theory that bullion banks have a massive net-short position in silver in the New York futures market,” he said. “That’s true, but it is because they also hold a corresponding long position in the London market. But one side of this trade is visible and the other is not. And that’s how this theory has grown and gathered momentum over the years.”

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