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GATA asks bank regulator to check risks of gold futures maneuver
12:21p ET Sunday, June 10, 2018
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
GATA has appealed to the U.S. comptroller of the currency, who has regulatory authority over banks, to review financial risks certain banks may have incurred through derivatives in the monetary metals markets, particularly through the recent heavy use of the "exchange for physicals" mechanism of settling gold and silver futures contracts on the New York Commodities Exchange.
The appeal was made in a letter sent May 5 to the comptroller, Joseph M. Otting, whose office is part of the U.S. Treasury Department, by your secretary/treasurer and GATA futures market consultant Harvey Organ.
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"Exchange for physical" settlements of futures contracts long were considered emergency procedures when a seller was not able to deliver metal from an exchange-approved warehouse and wanted to settle with delivery elsewhere. But now such settlements appear to constitute most gold and silver futures settlements on the Comex. It is a strange development that appears to have been necessitated by the increasing difficulties of central banking's gold and silver price suppression policy.
GATA has received no acknowledgment of the letter. Its text is below and a PDF copy of it is here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
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May 5, 2018
Joseph M. Otting, Comptroller of the Currency
U.S. Treasury Department
400 7th Street, SW
Washington DC 20219
Dear Comptroller Otting:
Please let us bring to your attention financial risks to major banks involving their possibly unreported exposure to derivatives in the monetary metals markets.
In recent months gold and silver future contracts issued by U.S. banks on the New York Commodities Exchange have been moved off-exchange for delivery through a mechanism known as "exchange for physical" (EFP) contracts. Until recently use of this mechanism was considered an emergency procedure when a seller did not have access to metal for delivery through Comex warehouses. Now the mechanism seems to be in use for a large share of front-month contracts for which delivery is sought.
Here is an example that is happening at the Comex in the front active month of April for gold and the inactive delivery month of April for silver.
In gold, there were 229,436 EFP contracts for 713.64 tonnes, an average of 10,925 contracts and 1,092,500 ounces per trading day.
In silver, there were 77,150 EFP contracts for 385,750,000 ounces, an average of 3,673 contracts and 18,369,000 ounces per trading day.
London Bullion Market Association rules suggest that these contracts may not be reported to regulators. The LBMA's bylaws say:
"Figures above exclude any contracts not subject to risk-based capital requirements, such as FX contracts with an original maturity of 14 days or less, futures contracts, written options, and basis swaps. Therefore, the total notional amount of derivatives by maturity will not add to the total derivatives figure in this table."
We are told that these EFP contracts are transferred from the Comex to London as what are called "serial forwards" and their duration is always less than 14 days, which exempts them from being reported.
It is our understanding that in each quarter your office prepares a report detailing risk undertaken by the banks under the comptroller's supervision.
These risks include derivatives undertaken by U.S. banks and other obligations that may cause a bank to fail. Our concern is that your office may not be aware of large unreported derivative exposure by banks.
Could you review this matter and let us know your conclusions?
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
7 Villa Louisa Road
Manchester, Connecticut 06043-7541
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