We have an automated download for the GLD Serial Bar list as part of the database project, and when today's file didn't get processed I went to see what the reason was. Somehow, the normal bar list was replaced with an internal fax. For the last 30 hours, it has been sitting at the following location:
[Update November 2012 - to anyone using this link from Scissorspaperockstar's post on TFMetalsReport, please be aware that this fax (in my opinion) does not prove Andrew Maquire's interpretation of GLD+SLV mechanics, and this article does not attempt to address that particular area. regards, Warren]
[Update x 2 November 2012 - recommended read is THIS PIECE by Bron Suchecki of the Perth Mint, which addresses Andrew Maquire's argument head-on !!!
plus, additional personal perspective post-analysis:
[[ *** another update - the PDF issue on the spdrgoldshares site seems to have been resolved. This link now shows the normal PDF bar list, which is regular. ]]
[ my archived location of the fax is here: ]
And I assume the HSBC custodians will fix it up once they realise they screwed up, but in the meantime let's have a look at the contents. Please note that even though the fax is an internal fax, I am placing a copy here on the grounds that it has been exposed publicly to the entire world (at the above URL) for more than 24 hours - but I will take it down if asked by a HSBC representative. I have blurred out the phone numbers, but until they replace the file, it's accessible by anyone (they'll want to change their letterhead after this incident too).
The fax highlights some of the boring mundane mechanics of how the bullion banks operate (yep, no conspiracy here folks).
This is basically how the banks can get gold so quickly - essentially a bunch of ledger entries.
In basic terms (confirmed by precious metals experts), the 'de-allocated' means converted to
allocated unallocated ... HSBC takes control of (title to) 1907 physical bars* and gives 759,618.457 oz to the trust's unallocated account. So then, the 759,618.457 oz of unallocated are are effectively 100% backed by the 1907 bars. Then the trust is able to transfer (from the unallocated account) a total of 759,562.242 oz to the three Authorised Participants (AP), leaving 299.086 oz in the trusts unallocated account. Note that the balance here is treated to handle whatever rounding error is required on the day - the difference (addition) on the 16th is 59.215 oz, so the balance from the previous day must have been 239.871 oz).
The transfers to the three APs in the document may have been to the APs account with HSBC (in which case the 759,562.242oz in those 3x unallocated accounts are 100% physically backed - hooray) or maybe to the APs accounts with other bullion banks (in which case HSBC has a clearing balance with those bullion banks through http://www.lpmcl.com/ **).
At this point the unallocated bars become part of the bullion banking system, liabilities and the rest - the mechanics I'm still a bit hazy on despite having had a lot of stuff explained to me. The main point (for me) is that the 1907 bar entries involved will have been removed from the GLD bar listing (which is a spread sheet), and that the gold bars themselves didn't necessarily have to leave the vault at all. Which is a good thing since the amount is about 21 tonnes of gold. I will have more to say about this in another article.
It's a really interesting insight and thank you HSBC for making that file available to the public. Take it with a grain of salt since it could have just been a very deliberate plant since one must assume these kind of mistakes don't happen by accident, but then it looks like a genuine screw up.
* which previously would have been part of the normal GLD shares system.
** according to my industry contact.
** according to my industry contact.
---- edited for Clarity - Kid Dynamite (comment #2 below) is correct, in the above sentence I got my allocated/unallocated mixed up, was a little late at night and I was rushing.
It is also worth noting that FOFOA has written a note (last half of that post, below the videos) about the GLD outflow (which was kind of a big movement of gold) - with a reference to Lance Lewis' GLD puke indicator, with the theory of the outflows being in a quasi correlation to the movements of FIAT pricing of gold. That is one avenue for the database that I'm interested in identifying - seeing if there is a way to predict paper gold price based on bar movements (but I think it would be way too complex).
As for the bars themselves, I will be looking at the data interested to see whether these same bars flow back into GLD holdings again soon. @GM - yes I haven't completely handed in my conspiracy badge just yet - but you're right I have been approaching this with an 'innocent until proven guilty' standpoint. I'm fascinated by these mechanics of wealth movement, where a single page of GLD entries represents more wealth than I'll see in the next 10 years.
This of course gets us into a whole new area of research - basically whether those serial number entries are fictitious or real. That is the key, since the entries themselves represent the gold and are TREATED AS money and wealth. But more on this in another article :)