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Exchange For Physical Gold?

Numerous stacks of gold and silver coins

Dec 04, 2019

Two years ago, following a surge in the use of "Exchanges For Physical" by traders at the COMEX, Eric Sprott asked me to begin tracking and recording the daily totals for this practice as posted by the CME. It's time for an update.

First, let's attempt again to discern what the heck an "exchange for physical" really is, because the truth of the matter is, no one really knows. When we first wrote about EFPs back in April of 2018.

So, these are "ex-pit transfers between two parties". OK. If that's the case, then EFPs are best categorized as a swapping of positions between two parties. Given the volume of these transfers each day, it's safe to assume that the two parties in question here are almost always Bullion Banks. And what are "Bullion Banks"? These are the banks that manage the physical delivery market in London...and they operate hand-in-glove with their trading desk operations on the COMEX in New York.

(By the way, the conspiracy to rig and manipulate prices between London and New York trading is precisely what the U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating under the RICO statutes...an investigation that has already yielded six indictments, including the former head of JP Morgan's global precious metals desk, Michael Nowak. It's noteworthy that up until his indictment, Nowak also proudly served on the board of directors of the LBMA. Read more here: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/abject-corruption-exposing-financial-political-complex-protecting-its-own-gold-manipulation)

Anyway, back to the EFPs. Though this practice of "ex-pit transfer" has been around for decades, the use of this scheme has increased dramatically in the past several years, possibly coinciding with a similarly dramatic increase in total contract issuance and open interest.

How does the CME itself define an EFP? Here's a link, an excerpt of which is pasted below: https://www.cmegroup.com/trading/metals/precious/g...

Note the last line above. "EFP is a key component in pricing OTC spot gold". Dutch money manager Gijsbert Groenewegen offered to provide his expertise and insights to this process back in 2018, and back then, he suggested that the dramatic surge in EFP use was also a tool for Banks to directly impact price. Groenewegen theorized that The Banks do, in fact, now use EFPs as a means to control prices off-exchange and through the deliberately-opaque OTC markets. This is worth considering, and you can read his article here: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/blog/8942/guest-pos...

But let's get back to the sheer volume of EFPs at present, because in the end, I believe it helps to reveal again the utter scam, sham, and fraud of the current digital derivative and fractional reserve pricing scheme.

From the CME Group's own website, it is explained that futures contracts and EFPs are utilized by "gold traders" who "frequently trade OTC with Banks to hedge gold transactions". OK, that sounds legitimate. You've a big position and you'd like to hedge it? Go right ahead. In fact, the latest global hedge book update from the World Gold Council estimated the current demand for producer hedging to be about 266 metric tonnes: https://www.gold.org/goldhub/research/gold-demand-...

While 266 metric tonnes is a lot of gold, that only equates to about 85,000 COMEX contracts. Hmmm. There must be more to the story.

Well, maybe these ex-pit transfers are needed to help hedge the custodial gold stored in the Bank of England vaults in London? In 2017, Ronan Manly did some deciphering and concluded that there was only about 860 metric tonnes of this custodial gold held in the London vaults. That’s a lot of gold, too. Again, though, you could hedge every last ounce with about 277,000 contracts.

And what kind of total EFP volume are we talking about here? Again, I've kept track every single day since November 24, 2017, and the total amount of COMEX contracts—moved off exchange and "exchanged for physical"—is 4,444,344.

Yes, that's right. In just two calendar years, 4,444,344 contracts have been swapped off of COMEX and, in the CME’s own words, converted into "physical, unallocated accounts".

Now let's do some math.

At 100 ounces per COMEX contract, 4,444,344 contracts equates to 444,434,400 ounces. And 444,434,400 ounces is about 13,820 metric tonnes. Now that, my friend, truly is A LOT of gold. For the sake of comparison, that's more than the combined holdings of the Unites States, Germany, and Switzerland! It's also about five times the total annual global mine supply!

So, we're supposed to believe that "ex-pit transfers" executed by parties hoping to "hedge over- the-counter physical gold business" have totaled nearly 14,000 metric tonnes over just the past two years? And this is a legitimate component of the free, fair, and sacrosanct global pricing scheme for physical metal? Give me a break!

Again, if anything, my hope is that this information sheds more light upon the inherently-fraudulent pricing process that has been utilized by The Banks since 1975. (https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1974LONDON16154_b.html) The price of physical metal is not determined by the exchange of physical metal for cash. Instead, it's largely determined through the exchange of unbacked and unallocated derivative contracts, the supply of which is ever increasing through the alchemic wizardry of The Bullion Banks.

However, a day is coming when these Banks will be faced with a margin call of true physical delivery for the unallocated and fantasy "gold exposure" that they have created over the past 45 years. Don't allow yourself to be a bag-holder. Take immediate physical delivery or move your metal to a trusted custodian outside of the banking system.


There are now multiple countries that have repatriated their physical gold from London and the other banking centers. If these countries don't trust the Bullion Banks, why should you? Heed their warning and repatriate your personal gold as soon as possible.

Don’t miss a golden opportunity.

Now that you’ve gained a deeper understanding about gold, it’s time to browse our selection of gold bars, coins, or exclusive Sprott Gold wafers.

About Sprott Money

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Since 2008, our customers have trusted us to provide guidance, education, and superior customer service as we help build their holdings in precious metals—no matter the size of the portfolio. Chairman, Eric Sprott, and President, Larisa Sprott, are proud to head up one of the most well-known and reputable precious metal firms in North America. Learn more about Sprott Money.

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About the Author

Our Ask The Expert interviewer Craig Hemke began his career in financial services in 1990 but retired in 2008 to focus on family and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Since 2010, he has been the editor and publisher of the TF Metals Report found at TFMetalsReport.com, an online community for precious metal investors.

*The author is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Sprott Money Ltd. The views and opinions expressed in this material are those of the author or guest speaker, are subject to change and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprott Money Ltd. Sprott Money does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness and reliability of the information or any results from its use.


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