|Gold Short Selling|
Many people keep asking me, what is gold short selling?
One way certain banks make a profit in the market place is
by manipulating the price of a commodity to such a degree that you can make
money out of that manipulation. Of
course it has to be legal or done so cleverly that it is difficult to pinpoint
any illegality in the operation but it can be done and is to this day.
It works like this. We
will take walnuts for example. One wants
to make a vast quantity of money from trading in walnuts. One could buy up lots of walnuts and wait for
the price to rise. But that takes too long and the price may never rise. One is depending on so many factors out of
ones control. In order to make money, one has to place as much of the
transaction as one possibly can under ones own control. Usually one controls only one side of a
transaction or contract to buy and or sell. The other party controls the other
side of the transaction. This is usually
called a contract as it is a contract between two parties to engage in a swap
of commodity for a financial value. This
all seems very simple you might say and why am writing something so obvious you
might ask? It is this very simplicity that
leads to how the price of gold and other commodities, such as silver, are manipulated
in such a way that one side of a transaction or contract can control not only
their own side of the deal but the other side two.
As that is the secret of shorting and making a big pile of
money as a result. The concept is very simple.
Control BOTH sides of the transaction or contract.
How do you do this?
Easy. In the gold market, you sell gold you do not currently own,
with the intention of buying it back, at a lower price.
“How do you sell gold you do not own? That makes no sense,”
someone recently asked me. A good question.
If you have ever bought a book from Amazon it is easy to understand
this. Amazon does not stock all the books
it buys. When you order and pay for a
book from Amazon, they then buy the book from a bookseller or refer the order
to a bookseller and pay them. So they collect payment on a product they do not have. They sell a product they do not have. It is quite legal. The only illegality that may enter into the transaction
is if they did not complete their side of the transaction and not deliver the
book (subject to various terms and conditions of course). But, yes it is quite legal.
The short selling process works like this: Investors start
an account with a broker. It is called a margin account and usually one has to
deposit some funds with the broker. Usually
it is initial investment of around $10,000. Short selling accounts require a
type of security deposit, called a maintenance margin. The margin is required
to ensure that the shorted stock can be returned to the borrower. After an
account is set up, the investor is ready to short stock or gold in the market.
After he has sold the stock or gold he does not have in the
market for as low a price as possible, if the price goes down, the short seller
makes a profit, since the cost of buying back the gold will be less than the
selling price on the initial (short) sale. On the other hand, if the price
should rise prior to repurchase, the short seller will incur a loss. The loss
on a short sale can be very substantial.
However, the short seller usually sells or dumps his pretend
gold very quickly. As he does not actually have any gold in the first place he
loses nothing in selling for less than the current market value. This causes the price to drop and others in
the market to follow suit and sell also at a lower price, and the price drops
even further. Others dutifully follow thinking that the value of the commodity
is dropping. In fact it isn’t. Joe is
simply dumping his pretend stock or gold at a reduced price. As a result of his initiative and by his
deliberate action of ‘selling’ below the market price, he is now controlling
both sides of the transaction.
Once it is all sold off and the price has plummeted to an
all time low he can then buy the stock he ‘sold’ but at a lower price and so
make a profit on the difference. Note
that there is no actual movement of gold.
This is all a paper exercise.
This is called short selling or selling short. It is a form
of manipulation as it is using both sides of a transaction in order to make a monetary
gain. It plays on two prime motivations.
Greed and fear. As these
motivations are in abundance the manipulation is usually very successful.
Major Banks that engage in short selling include:
Lynch (New Jersey, United States)
Corporation (Boston, United States)
Chase (New York, United States)
Trust (Chicago, United States)
(Amsterdam, Netherlands, now defunct)
(Amsterdam, Netherlands, formerly Fortis)
(New York, United States)
Bank of New
York Mellon Corporation (New York, United States)
(London, United Kingdom)
If this is difficult to understand look at it like
this. You go to the local produce market
and see that the price of walnuts is 50
cents each. You find and say to a dealer
there, “Hey, I can sell you 2 million walnuts at 20 cents per walnut, how does
that sound?” The dealer says yeah, when you
can deliver?” You say next week if you
pay me now. The dealer agrees and coughs
up the money. You have now been paid for something you do not have. The word mysteriously ‘gets around’ that
walnuts are now available for 20 cents each and then the price goes down to 19
cents each. You go and buy up 2 million walnuts
at the market price (which has gone down to 19 cents each remember), then sell
then to the dealer for the agreed upon price of 20 cents each. You make 2
million cents. Or 20 thousand dollars.
AND you did not have any walnuts to start with. Over simplified perhaps but essentially what
Occasional governmental restrictions on short selling occurs
but this is usually temporary and not overly effective. Usually we are talking
a dollar value in terms of millions or even billions and government restrictions
do not carry a lot of weight.
By way of an
example. A few months ago silver was
shorted to the value that surpassed the actually amount of silver in the world. i.e. There
was not enough silver in the world to cover the actual short selling exercise
that occurred then. Investment banks literally make billions by artificially
driving down stock and futures prices (the price that is envisioned the
commodity will buy or sell for at some time in the future) by selling more of
the stock or ‘futures’ than exists in the real world. By doing this they sell a
commodity now they do not own to buy back later at a reduced price. Like saying, I will sell one million walnuts
I do not have for 20 cents each and buying them back at 19 cents a week
later. That way I can make 1 cent per walnut
on walnuts I do not have, money for nothing.
Of course Joe in the street cannot do this. Only large banks, such as J P Morgan, who
make their living creating profit out of thin air.
This is justified by saying that it is a ‘futures’ market
and so all the transactions are about buying and selling the commodity, such as
gold or silver, in the ‘future, and therefore bare no relevance to the actual
holdings of gold or silver in the present. On so many levels this violates the
basic exchange principle and in fact is not a transaction at all as nothing is
The only way to resolve such activities is to impose a limit
to how much gold and silver can be shorted to the actual physical holdings of
the short seller. In other words, not be
able to sell what you do not have. This would effectively reduce short selling
gold and silver, and would help in stabilising the actual price of gold and