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David Morgan on Silver Price Manipulation, Delivery Default & Supply Shortage Risks

“I have little doubt that most of the silver that is on the SLV’s web site with a bar number is there somewhere. But what I am really concerned about is if it is hypothecated or not, meaning is there more than one owner on that same bar. And I can almost guarantee that there are multiple owners for almost every bar that they report. It does not mean that that bar does not exist.

It takes ten contracts to be a market maker.* (*See retraction and clarification in the comments below.) So I have got ten contracts, I have got fifty thousand ounces, and I ship it to my buddy who is a hedge fund manager over in Idaho. That is my silver. I have just sent it over to him on a lease. I have leased it to him. Now he has taken that silver and he has swapped it with somebody at the SLV, so they have got bars there. And he swapped for those and now those are on the exchange showing as part of the deal. So you can have a lease and a swap, so you could have two or three claims on those same bars. And that happens over and over again.

So the reason I used “purportedly” is that is the correct word. There are very few bars that are actually one-to-one correspondence that are sitting on the SLV and that is their only purpose. That is not the way banks operate. That is not the way the whole system operates. So I am not against the SLV, but I also state very clearly that if you follow what I teach, you would not want that to be considered a primary silver investment. That is a paper investment. That is not silver. That is paper. It only settles in paper. People ask whether I think there is going to be a default on the SLV. I say, how could there be? I mean, read the prospectus, they settle in cash. Think they have any trouble printing that stuff up? I haven't seen any problem with that lately.”

So cautions David Morgan, publisher of The Morgan Report on precious metals and proprietor of Silver-Investor.com. More so than perhaps any other, the silver market has been loudly and visibly accused of rampant price manipulation. And more recently, suspicion is growing that the exchanges and ETFs dedicated to trading the metal do not hold sufficient volume of it to meet their obligations. Is the silver market free and fair? Chris delves deeply into these important questions with one of the best-known silver experts.

In this interview, David explains why:

  • The silver market is definitely manipulated, though likely not as rampantly as some believe. And despite this manipulation, he believes the overall upward trend in silver (and gold) cannot be suppressed in the long run.
  • Holding physical bullion as a core part of one's precious metal portfolio is absolutely critical. Many of the bars pledged to tradable securites (ETFs, futures, etc) are assigned to multiple owners – meaning there is much less actual bullion underlying these securities than the market thinks. 
  • Why his long-term outlook for silver is so bullish. Annual industrial demand for silver continues to outstrip supply from new mining, while increasing investment demand for silver as a monetary vehicle only takes more tonnage out of the market. At some point, the market will wake up to the fact that silver is in much shorter supply than currently appreciated. At that point, the price will go much, much higher.

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The User's Profile Adam Taggart July 21, 2011
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“I have little doubt that most of the silver that is on the SLV’s web site with a bar number is there somewhere. But what I am really concerned about is if it is hypothecated or not, meaning is there more than one owner on that same bar. And I can almost guarantee that there are multiple owners for almost every bar that they report. It does not mean that that bar does not exist.

It takes ten contracts to be a market maker.* (*See retraction and clarification in the comments below.) So I have got ten contracts, I have got fifty thousand ounces, and I ship it to my buddy who is a hedge fund manager over in Idaho. That is my silver. I have just sent it over to him on a lease. I have leased it to him. Now he has taken that silver and he has swapped it with somebody at the SLV, so they have got bars there. And he swapped for those and now those are on the exchange showing as part of the deal. So you can have a lease and a swap, so you could have two or three claims on those same bars. And that happens over and over again.

So the reason I used “purportedly” is that is the correct word. There are very few bars that are actually one-to-one correspondence that are sitting on the SLV and that is their only purpose. That is not the way banks operate. That is not the way the whole system operates. So I am not against the SLV, but I also state very clearly that if you follow what I teach, you would not want that to be considered a primary silver investment. That is a paper investment. That is not silver. That is paper. It only settles in paper. People ask whether I think there is going to be a default on the SLV. I say, how could there be? I mean, read the prospectus, they settle in cash. Think they have any trouble printing that stuff up? I haven’t seen any problem with that lately.”

So cautions David Morgan, publisher of The Morgan Report on precious metals and proprietor of Silver-Investor.com. More so than perhaps any other, the silver market has been loudly and visibly accused of rampant price manipulation. And more recently, suspicion is growing that the exchanges and ETFs dedicated to trading the metal do not hold sufficient volume of it to meet their obligations. Is the silver market free and fair? Chris delves deeply into these important questions with one of the best-known silver experts.

In this interview, David explains why:

  • The silver market is definitely manipulated, though likely not as rampantly as some believe. And despite this manipulation, he believes the overall upward trend in silver (and gold) cannot be suppressed in the long run.
  • Holding physical bullion as a core part of one’s precious metal portfolio is absolutely critical. Many of the bars pledged to tradable securities (ETFs, futures, etc) are assigned to multiple owners – meaning there is much less actual bullion underlying these securities than the market thinks.
  • Why his long-term outlook for silver is so bullish. Annual industrial demand for silver continues to outstrip supply from new mining, while increasing investment demand for silver as a monetary vehicle only takes more tonnage out of the market. At some point, the market will wake up to the fact that silver is in much shorter supply than currently appreciated. At that point, the price will go much, much higher.

Note: Listeners interested in the conclusions expressed within this interview will also want to read Chris’ recent report on The Screaming Fundamentals For Owning Gold And Silver, which takes a deep dive into the data behind the supply and demand imbalances in the bullion markets.


David Morgan is publisher of The Morgan Report on precious metals and proprietor of Silver-Investor.com. He is also the author of “Get the Skinny on Silver Investing”

David is a long-time expert on the precious metals markets and how they operate and actively consults for investors, hedge funds, mining companies, depositories, and bullion dealers.

 


 

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