Did A Raging Fire Burn Down JPMorgan’s Gold Vault?

As a reminder, it was Zero Hedge who broke the news in March about the location of JPM‘s vault, namely that it can be found 90 feet below street level at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza (located over half a mile away on Liberty and William Streets). Which is relevant, because as the FDNY reports, and as the video clip below vividly confirms (with the Federal Hall National Memorial distinctly visible in the background), the fire response was focused on the area on Broad street between the New York Stock Exchange and what is now the 15 Broad Street block.

Video streaming by Ustream

So did a sweeping fire “take place” (in broad daylight and in front of video camera armed streetwalkers) providing the fire brigade a pretext to abscond with JPM‘s gold on orders from above, or merely give JPM an alibi to say it’s gold is “gone… all gone” or rather “burned… all burned” (leaving aside the propensity of a fire to propagate in the confined oxygen constraints to be found on top of the Manhattan bedrock and far below street level)? No. For the simple reason that 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza is over two blocks away from where the fire did take place as can be seen on the map below:

In other words, if there was a “fire” in JPM‘s vault, the response would have been not at 15 Broad Street, but over half a mile away at the perfectly fire-accessible Liberty Street (between the NY Fed and 1 CMP), across from the real JPM vault fire doors which can be seen in the following interactive image:

And yes: those who may suggest that any amount of gold tonnage may have been quietly moved over two blocks by the Fire Brigade have never actually carried the not-so-light-bars of gold themselves, especially not in broad daylight.

So why the confusion?

It appears the confusion stems from the Fire Brigade‘s designation of the fire as taking place at “JP Morgan’s building” which indeed is where the Fire Brigade was located. However, it is the 23 Wall Street building, also known as the “JPMorgan building” formerly owned by JPM, and subsequently owned by Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, best known for being the site of the September 16, 1920 Wall Street bombing, when 38 people were killed and 400 injured. Ironically, as was then reported, “because the Morgan building was so well known, many assumed that the target of the assumed anarchist bombing was actually the bank itself.”

For modern generations, 23 Wall Street may be better known as the (incorrect) facade of the NYSE as represented in The Dark Knight Rises.

Of course, JPM has long since moved on from its landmark location just across from the NYSE, and now can be located at its Park Avenue headquarters (with its Bear Stearns annex), and of course, at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza.

So what is now housed in the 15 Broad/23 Wall Street block to where the FDNY was responding, if not any JPM? 23 Wall and 15 Broad Street were sold in 2003 for $100 million to Africa Israel & Boymelgreen (there is likely a far more interesting story surrounding Africa Israel and Boymelgreen here than there is about the “fire in JPM‘s vault”). The two buildings have become a condominium development, Downtown by Philippe Starck, named for French designer Philippe Starck, one of a growing number of residential buildings in the Financial District. Starck made the roof of 23 Wall into a garden and pool, accessible to the residents of the development.

Could there be a vault in the Downtown residential building, and could the FDNY have been responding to a fire in such a “commercial vault”? Of course: as anyone who has ventured into the skyscraper forest of New York‘s Financial District knows, there is an underground vault in virtually every building.

Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-21/did-raging-fire-burn-down-jpmorgans-gold-vault

South African gold output continues to fall – how much further?

LONDON (Mineweb) -

How the mighty have fallen! Not so long ago South Africa dominated global gold output with the rest coming nowhere in comparison, but the country’s gold output has been on the decline since the 1970s.

It fell to fifth largest gold producer in 2012 when it was overtaken by Russia and on the latest output figures the country has drifted downwards towards being now only the world’s sixth largest gold producer, having been overtaken by Peru as well – however that is on production so far this year.

In yesterday’s publication of minerals output and revenues, Statistics South Africa noted that the country’s gold output fell again in May commenting that its ‘overall mining production decreased by 0.7% year-on-year in May.The largest negative growth rates were recorded for ‘other’ metallic minerals (-32.3%), diamonds (-19.7%) and gold (-14,6%). The main contributor to the 0.7% decrease was gold (contributing -2.4 percentage points). Manganese ore (contributing 1.5 percentage points) was a significant positive contributor.’

But will there be any recovery in South African gold production ahead? The short answer is that, barring a huge gold price increase, the country’s gold output will likely continue to decline at a rapid rate.

South Africa has some of the world’s highest cost producing gold mines – a recent estimate has suggested that at current gold prices around half the industry is operating at a loss – and this would suggest that gold production could continue to decrease at an escalating rate as companies will no longer be able to afford to keep unprofitable mines and shafts open.

Add to this the pressures on the companies from massive wage demands brought on by mining union competition for membership between the NUM and AMCU, and this is a recipe for the potential annihilation of the country’s gold mining sector in its current form.

Some of the production fall may be mitigated, though, by selective mining of higher grade ore to try and maintain profitability at the expense of mine longevity.

South Africa’s gold sector though is not the only part of the country’s vitally important mining industry to be affected. The platinum miners are facing many of the same problems as the gold sector although this year’s figures may end up being a little better than in 2012 given the levels of labour disruption that year.

South Africa’s gold sales have now for some time lost their dominant position in terms of revenue. The country’s No.1 revenue earner nowadays, according to Statistics South Africa, is coal, followed by platinum group metals with gold languishing in third place – and could even be knocked into fourth place by iron ore sales if the production decline continues.

The relative figures in terms of unadjusted sales in April – the latest available – according to Statistics South Africa are as follows:

Metal Mineral Sales Value (million ZAR) Sales Value (million US$)
Coal 8 506.6 847.1
Platinum Group 5 612.6 558.9
Gold 4 877.6 485.6
Iron Ore 4 875.3 485.4

Between them these four accounted for almost 80% of the total value of South African metals and minerals sales in April.

The South African government has to be particularly concerned about the fall off in the volume and value of the minerals produced, particularly with regard to gold and pgms, given that it is very much a resource economy and heavily dependent on the sector for its export earnings. Both the gold and platinum sectors are in crisis and with the mining unions set on what the industry will see as untenable demands and prone to unacceptable militancy and inter-union rivalries, things may well get worse before they get better.

Source: http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/content/en/mineweb-gold-news

Sell Equities And Buy Physical Gold Now While Prices Are Low

Faber said it’s a good idea to take money out of the stock market.

“I don’t think there is a lot of upside potential, but I think there is considerable downside,” he said.

Marc Faber, managing director of Marc Faber Limited and the author of the widely read monthly investment newsletter “Gloom, Boom & Doom” report, said weakness in China’s economy could spell big trouble global markets.

Faber said that if the Chinese economy grows at 3 or 4 percent—or even not at all, which he sees as a possibility—it will have a huge, negative affect on industrial commodities and the incomes of countries that produce them. In turn, he said, if countries such as Russia, Brazil or nations in Africa, Central Asia or the Middle East have less income, they’ll buy less from China, Western Europe and America, leading to very little earnings growth or an earnings contraction for those more prosperous economies.

China preferably would show trend line growth of 10 percent, as it has done for the past 20 years, Faber said.

Faber said it’s a good idea to take money out of the stock market.

“I don’t think there is a lot of upside potential, but I think there is considerable downside,” he said.

However, he said that markets are now seeing emerging markets and their currencies go lower, and “It could be that all the money in the world flows in to U.S. stocks and avoids emerging markets.”

Gold can eventually be a source of profit, according to Faber. He said it’s possible the price of gold can go somewhat lower, even though he thinks it’s now at a reasonable level. “I keep on buying gold and I have faith that gold prices will eventually be higher,” Faber said.

Faber said that, in general, corporate earnings will disappoint.

“They may not collapse, but I don’t think they will be as a good as expected,” Faber said. He said cyclical stocks, such as semiconductors and materials companies, will have tough time matching earnings expectations.

U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa kicks off the unofficial start to quarterly earnings season after the closing bell on Monday.

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/big-data-download/mark-faber-china-puts-global-markets-risk-164954983.html