A quick update from the SLV database. I was looking at the SLV inventory over the last two weeks of April. I cobbed together this chart (click for larger view) which compares the closing price of SLV vs. the inventory held according to the ounces published. It's a bad graph, but one of my first composite charts so be kind.
The graph is curious because on the 20th of May, the number of bars held takes a big drop and then peaks again on the 27th April with the high in silver (the gap in the middle is the easter holiday).
I have always wondered about the bars which disappear and then show up again. It stands to reason that because the 1000-oz bars are quite heavy, that movement in and out of the vault will probably be more like allocations rather than actual shipping (as highlighted by Bron).
So using the 13th April bar list as a reference point, I set out to find out how many bars showing up in 27th April list, were already present in the 13th April list, with a temporary absence of leave on the 20th April (in between).
After crunching the numbers in the bar serial numbers database, I have an answer - 8.3 percent of the amount added to the inventory between 20th April and 27th April. i.e. between those dates, some 9,954,185 oz of silver was added to SLV, and of that amount 1,197,039.8 oz (8.3 pct) was already sitting in the vault on the 13th April (14 days before). The table in the database for those date ranges is called "SLV_Analysis" so you can check my maths if you want - the connection information for the database is here.
I used this exercise to cut my teeth on the data processing and I give no personal guarantee about any numbers, this exercise was about 5 hours of work. I'm happy to share any details if anyone is interested (and again, the data is all there if you want to check).
What to conclude? Not much - approximately 1197 bars probably never left the vault and went 'dark' for a few weeks while SLV shuffled its data around, reappearing 14 days later. Either that or those bars left the vault and then got redelivered within a few weeks. I am personally more inclined to think that they have shitloads of silver - more than you can imagine - and they shuffle the allocation as best as they see fit to manage the price and futures, all that stuff, to make lots of money from hapless investors. Certainly it's more likely a change of ownership registration than a physical move, but it means that we've got more hard work ahead to identify these dark pools of silver. If anyone out there has any comments that can enhance my understanding, please let me know your thoughts, many thanks.
NOTE: This analysis indicates the SLV Serial Bars data is about right. If it were claiming all the bars were brand new, that would be unusual, and if all the inventory showed up a second time, that would indicate shenanigans, but a 8.3% seems about right.
Since this analysis, we got a bit more sophisticated. For a full list of all future articles in this series, please check out http://screwtapefiles.blogspot.com/p/bullion-bars-database.html