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.

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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

Gold, Financial War & The Fed’s Dangerous Exit Strategy

With the United States celebrating Independence Day, oil still trading over $100 a barrel, and continued uncertainty in the Middle-East, today King World News interviewed the director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Dr. Benn Steil warned KWN about the Fed’s exit strategy, and also spoke about China’s large hoard of U.S. dollars, and their massive accumulation of gold.

Eric King: “What we are looking at right now is a financial war between the U.S. and China.”

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Dr. Steil: “That’s right. In the 1940s the U.S. was the world’s largest international creditor, and Britain was the world’s largest international debtor. Today, China is the world’s largest international creditor, and of course the United States is the world’s largest international debtor.

And it’s fascinating to see that the United States today takes the same position in terms of identifying the flaws in the global monetary architecture that Keynes and the British took in the 1940s. For example, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in 2010, proposed imposing caps on persistent current account surpluses. Of course that was aimed at disciplining Chinese economic behavior….

“This was exactly the sort of position that Britain was taking in the 1940s, Harry Dexter White and the FDR administration condemned. So where you stand depends on where you sit at the time.”

Eric King: “This is also a quote (from Dr. Steil) ‘At present, the United States has no need to accommodate calls for it to sacrifice its exorbitant privilege (having the world’s reserve currency) to some vague vision of the global good. It will only waver when the market initiates a clear shift toward alternatives.” What about that (Dr. Steil)?”

Dr. Steil: “Well, in the 1940s there was a deal to be done between the United States and Britain. It was a harsh deal, and it was an imbalanced deal as I explained, but nonetheless it was a deal to be done. Britain needed financing to get through the war, and the Americans needed British acquiescence to make the dollar the global unit of account.

But the situation with China today is not the same, and let me give you just one little anecdote to illustrate this: In 1956, the Eisenhower administration forced the British out of (the) Suez (Canal) by threatening to withhold emergency IMF support.

Now, the United States, at the time, could afford to provoke a sterling crisis at no cost to itself because in 1956 U.S. holdings of British securities amounted to only one dollar per U.S. resident. Now, compare that to today, where Chinese holdings of U.S. securities amount to over (a remarkable) $1,000 per Chinese resident.

So China cannot afford to provoke a dollar crisis today because it would be hurting itself at least as much as it would be hurting the United States. And that’s why there is really not, in my view, a deal to be done right now between the United States and China to remake the global international architecture … As you quoted, China has a vast stash of dollar-denominated assets, and it doesn’t want to do anything that would undermine the global purchasing power of this hoard. So they are in quite a bind.”

Source: http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2013/7/4_Gold,_Financial_War_%26_The_Feds_Dangerous_Exit_Strategy.html

4 Absolutely Spectacular Gold Charts & Commentary

With oil surging and gold and silver rebounding, today top Citi analyst Tom Fitzpatrick sent King World News four incredible charts and commentary covering the gold market.  Fitzpatrick takes KWN readers through a fantastic look at the gold market as only he can, and KWN readers around the world will enjoy this extraordinary piece.

Here is Fitzpatrick’s piece along with 4 tremendous charts:  “(Below is an article covering gold from the) New York Times, 29 August 1976 (3 days after the corrective low had been posted in 1975-1976 before Gold started a 3 year rally into late 1979/early 1980):

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“Two years ago gold bugs ran wild as the price of gold rose nearly six times.  But since cresting two years ago it has steadily declined, almost by half, putting the gold bugs in flight.  The most recent advisory from a leading Wall Street firm suggests that the price will continue to drift downward, and may ultimately settle 40% below current levels.
The rout says a lot about consumer confidence in the worldwide recovery.  The sharply reduced rates of inflation combined with resurgence of other, more economically productive investments, such as stocks, real estate, and bank savings have combined to eliminate gold‘s allure.
Although the American economy has reduced its rapid rate of recovery, it is still on a firm expansionary course.  The fear that dominated two years ago has largely vanished, replaced by a recovery that has turned the gold speculators’ dreams into a nightmare.”

The above note is probably a close representation of consensus market view at the moment.

We are biased to believe that the low in this correction may have been posted for Gold.  However it is early days and we need to see some more positive price action to support this view.

–  Crude has consolidated but still looks bullish overall

Between 1973 and 1974 the DJIA fell 45%.  As the Equity market then recovered Gold went into a corrective phase within 3 months that saw it fall 445 as the Equity market rallied.

This time around gold has in fact been much more resilient.

–  It did not peak until Sept 2011 (2 1⁄2 years after the Equity market bottomed out).

–  It has so far corrected 39% with an Equity market that has rallied 140% off the March 2009 low (DJIA).  In 1975-1976 it corrected 44% as the equity market rallied 76%.

“In 1976 the Gold correction ended in August and the Equity market began a deep correction in September (27% over 18 months).  During that period Gold rallied by about 78% and over the 1976-1980 period it multiplied in value by a factor of 8 from just over $100 to over $800.  The final part of that rally saw Gold rise from about $470 to $850 over about 4 weeks on the back of the USSR invasion of Afghanistan.  Even without that move it still multiplied by about 4.5 times in just over 3 years.

So what are we looking at to increase the likelihood of the low being in?

In addition, daily momentum is turning up from more oversold levels than those seen before the $270 bounce in 2012.  On a daily chart this is the most oversold we have Been since the turn higher in Gold in 2001.

It has become very stretched to the 55-and-200-day moving averages which now have a big gap between them.

An important thing to note is that Gold broke its support level the same week as the S&P broke above its 2007 high.  As long as the equity market stays resilient (As we saw in 1975-1976) it may be a drag on Gold’s ability to rally substantially.  In the 1980-2000 period when financial assets were aggressively rallying, Gold took a back seat.  We may need the market to be more concerned about the financial/economic backdrop before Gold can get any real traction again.

Source: http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2013/7/3_4_Absolutely_Spectacular_Gold_Charts_%26_Commentary.html

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