SLV Database 3

Many articles were drafted but never published since my last SLV Database 2 article; you can blame Jeanne d’Arc for that – she raised the quality bar so high I would need a wordsmith like John Birmingham to complete the trilogy. But first I want to thank everyone who reads Screwtape Files and contributes ideas and feedback to our ongoing discussion of the silver market; I have a backlog of interesting comparisons which can be generated against the data and I hope to get to each of these in turn.

My analysis from last year seems somewhat primitive – silver bars which swim in and out of the SLV ledger is no longer in question. For today’s article I present proof of what I’m calling ‘Fund Vault Jumpers’, bars which used to be in SLV which are now held in a different fund– specifically, in Australia as part of the Perth Mint Pool Allocated Silver. The proof can be found in this spread sheet, and the detailed explanation of the spread sheet data has been written up as a separate side article. My study shows that 975 silver bars currently residing in the Perth Mint vaults, used to be held in SLV – i.e. nearly 1 million ounces, being approximately 23% of total holdings for the Perth Mint Pool (PMP).

Hard data is perhaps less interesting than the implications of the conclusion and the story behind getting that data. I have known for some time (from visual checks) that bars from SLV had travelled across to Perth; the real challenge was to be able to package that information to be traceable. But the computing component is straight-forward, the tricky part is formulating the framework of questions to interrogate the data. If you're interested in the background, read on ...

We all come to the marketplace with a different views and information. For anyone who believes that SLV has no silver then I hope the evidence in the spread sheet will be instructive. To assume the SLV bar records are all fake requires also believing that the Perth Mint took delivery of non-existent bars, and that both parties collaborated on the bar serial numbers and mutually agreed to keep the data in synch and so on. It should be self-evident that the easiest explanation is the most obvious one: that Perth Mint took delivery of some silver bars (as they tend to do) and that the bullion banks in London supplied them with some in the past (as confirmed by Bron), and that it took a little while for these to be shipped to Australia and show up in the fund inventory (as it does). So while this silver represents only a miniscule portion of SLV’s entire inventory (less than 0.5%), I hope to gain concession from even the strongest critics that the argument has now progressed to talking about percentages of SLV’s inventory being real, versus being entirely imaginary. Of course, there’s many ways we can slice this data, hopefully working towards ‘Phase 3’ of my analysis.

In June of 2011, I flew overnight to Perth to visit the Perth Mint and interviewed Bron Suchecki, manager for Analysis and Strategy at the Perth Mint who generously gave me two hours of his time to explain how the Perth Mint operates. I felt like a true journalist but I got more than I bargained for because modern bullion operations are incredibly complicated. One of the original purposes of my trip was to ask about getting a photograph of the vault but obviously for security reasons this is not permitted – heck photography is not even allowed in the foyer of the building. So this is the courtyard, from my camera:

It turns out the database concept is something Bron has wanted to do for a while, and it was there we talked more about ‘dark bullion’ a concept which can be partially shown on the spread sheet above – namely that the bars left the SLV vault in batches and showed up later in Perth’s vault, with an AWOL time of anywhere between 4 - 12 months. During this time it may have been in the bullion banking system or owned by some other party or been part of Perth Mint’s own internal stocks (they do make lots of coins after all) before being allocated to the pool allocated bar list. By ‘dark’, we mean ‘off-market’ where we see it registered in one ETF then disappear, and if it shows up again then we get a number of days on how long it has been ‘in the system but not on any register’. I am expecting that the dark inventory may hold some keys to the spot price, which is what I’m looking for in phase 3.

I grossly underestimated the amount of data and work involved with this project. If you are interested in the mechanics behind the data collection and indexing, I have also written up a snapshot of the current process here, as a separate article (yeah, that’s two sub-articles off this main one). The data from the Perth Mint Allocated Pool Silver has been a useful benchmark, due to the fact that we have copies of the very first bar list published and every one subsequent. As far as I know I have the only public archive of all Perth Mint Allocated Pool Silver Bar List PDF files since it started. In recognition of this prestigious accomplishment, I have made these archives accessible to public record; the links are located on the main Bullion Bars index page.

I want to talk very briefly about limit of reading error before getting into some facts and figures relating to PSLV. For my current data processing, I am using a bar signature based on the following four data points (combined):
Refiner/Manufacturer: e.g. "Johnson Matthey UK"
Bar Serial Number: e.g. "48339R"
Weight (in Gross Oz): e.g. "1038.100" (to three decimal places)
Fineness/Assay: e.g. "9990" (to four digits)
Because it’s a database I can adjust or tweak the signature and re-run the analysis at any time. The example above is a bar which was held in SLV in February 2010, but if someone adjusts the serial number later on, or corrects the weight to 1038.900, then (depending on how I calibrate the processing) my comparisons would register that as being a new bar because it has a new signature.

The bar signature above is relatively complex already but becomes even more precise with a longer serial number. The 2009 Project Mayhem analysis made a big deal out of the duplications it found with a signature of Serial Number + Manufacture, but generally that’s no cause for alarm because some manufacturers regularly uses four digits as part of their serial number and sometimes the year of manufacture is recorded sometimes not, so the potential for partial overlap is present.

Obvious data issues are easy to spot with the database, like this SLV document which has 7 full pages of the same serial number “KPR3584” with different weights (starts at page 4930). Anomalies like this are imperfections in the data and will affect results, but the sheer volume of the data (which typically runs in excess of 300,000 bars), should generally smooth things out.

The data quality is something I’ll be doing smaller studies on, but that generally doesn’t stop me from doing data comparisons such as taking a good look at Eric Sprott’s PSLV fund (which is actually the focus of this article)! Mid-June 2012, the Sprott Phyiscal Silver Trust re-published the updated bar list for PSLV and PHYS (after a gap of nearly 16 months). To date there have only ever been TWO public issues of the serial bar lists for PSLV. While I realise that maintaining a spread sheet for such a large list, must be difficult, it’s not very transparent. Let’s have a look at how Sprott compares with the update rates of other funds. In this chart, each mark represents a bar list being issued. The below graph is the document records we have for 2011. It shows that I only started downloading the GLD documents mid-year, and also for the first part of 2011, my records were kindly donated by the guys at who happily shared with me their source files. They download their data once a week, whereas you can see my software records a document if it detects the source has changed. Basically what it means is that JP Morgan has the hardware and process in place to regularly update their massive list updated, we capture any deltas.

So my point with that graph is that we don't actually have much visibility into the bar movements with the PSLV (and PHYS). You can also see here the GLD records start in June 2011, where I added the location a few weeks after getting the SLV downloads started. The ‘number of bars’ is on a log scale because SLV has so many records it made the others look really tiny. This graph captures nicely the growth of the Perth Mint Pool Allocated Silver.

Anyway, the bulk of Eric’s bars use a refiner code similar to the ones listed on the CME website, however some codes remain unidentified and some bar records are not even flagged with a refiner’s name! For someone like me, this is highly distressing because it means I can’t crunch all the information and I have written to Sprott Asset Management asking them if they can supply the remaining information.

It’s one of those small details which people don’t seem particularly interested in, but here is the raw fact: 28% of PSLV’s holding cannot be verified as LBMA compliant. I have no doubt whatsoever that he holds the silver he claims, what I'm saying is that without the refiner information, it can’t be externally proven to be compliant. But apparently this has not bothered so many investors!

Apart from the bars which have no refiner flagged, the only codes I can’t identify are: KPPO, SFRU, SMJA and NMJA (which may be ‘New Mexico Jewellers Association’ but I can’t be sure), the rest I got matches for. Here’s what the PSLV origin-of-bars breakdown looks like @ September 2012 using the current documents. Using the database I’ve separated the two documents out, so that you can easily see which refiners were sourced for the bars added during the PSLV secondary (this level of detail is not apparent from the raw data and as far as I know I’m the first to study it like this).

SOURCE A: PSL.20110204.152041.Sprott_Silver_Bar_List_02-3-2011.pdf
SOURCE B: PSL.20120614.163336.PSLV-Bar-List.pdf
NOTE: When I reference data, unless otherwise stated, I’ll be
referring to SOURCE B, since it has all the records from A.
Having a secondary bar list allows us double the number of data points available for Eric’s hoard of silver. In particular, I was interested to see whether any bars that had been added, had ever been part of the ETF structure in London. This comparison is challenging when you think about what’s involved – essentially it means being able to compare the bar signature to every other fund. Happily, that is now possible with the new central bar index.

I was really disappointed to find no matches. I really had it in my head that because of the large sample sizes involved (PSLV is kind of a large inventory, and SLV is massive), and with records over 24 months, that there must have been at least one or two bars which had floated across the geographical boundaries and across vaults, similar to what we saw demonstrated with the Perth Mint bars. Even more annoying, I re-ran the processing several times and got the same result.

The comparison results are:
  • ZERO matches on Refiner, Serial, GrossOz, Fineness. Initially I figured I found the mistake - after all PSLV has GrossOz weights to three decimal places, and SLV has only one decimal place. So I re-ran the comparison rounding Sprott's to one decimal place. Still no matches.

But if I loosen the signature comparison a little:
  • 6 matches on Refiner, Serial, Fineness (i.e. same but different weights). The weights are in no way similar so these are circumstantial.
  • 9 matches on Refiner, Serial, Weight (i.e. same but different fineness). These are the only comparison which could be close to being the same bars. But none of the data supports these signatures as representing the same bars - many of the serial numbers are short (which increases the probability of a duplicate signature, and of the two long serial numbered matches, the appearance in each fund is not consistent with being a Fund Vault Jumper. i.e. one of those bars does disappear from SLV around 2011-May-27, but that is no good because it appeared in the 2011-Feb-02 PSLV document. The other disappears from SLV mid-April but then reappears later. This all indicates that the matches here are coincidental and can be discarded.
  • 1670 matches on Refiner, Serial – this comparison was me clutching at straws to find any correlation. In this result set is the interesting anomaly detected originally in PSLV SOURCE A, by Joshua Gibbons. He identified many ‘Solar Applied Materials Taiwan’ bars which had an identical serial number to ones held in SLV (this is a separate mystery for later, but basically the simple conclusion is that the production run for two different SAMT batches used the same serial numbers).
Obligatory photo of silver, just to remind that when we talk about bars, we are talking about these big bulky bars of silvery industrial metal (this particular photo is actually of the ZKB fund). These things are really heavy - I once held a 450-ounce bar and it's a good 14 kilos of weight ... the 1000-ounce LBMA bars are about twice that. Anyway, back to the main article.

To be honest, I'm stumped with these results. I concede that the current data indicates Sprott got most of his silver (both lots) from the North American geography almost exclusively. But the origin of the bars themselves are often quite varied - check out this query which shows the breakdown of best-match for country of origin based on the initial refiner location. There are many from Canada and United states and but just as many from other countries far away.

There's a few ways to interpret these results, and I have already had some basic discussions with Bron and Victor about it - their take is basically that the efficient market will source bars from nearby rather than incur the cost of getting it from other sources (that's the basic paraphrase anyway). What that suggests is that it was more efficient for PSLV to slurp up the bars already sitting around the United States rather than go to the expense and effort of shipping the bars from London across the Atlantic. Bron has also pointed out that Australia has no primary center for silver, so Perth Mint getting metal from London (causing the Fund Jumpers) makes sense based on ease of access, whereas for America it's a different story.

To balance this article, consider the following: I realise that most people thought the bars ‘were still warm from the refinery’. Well, they could only have been referring to certain percentage, because some of Eric’s silver hoard has bar numbers which have a specific year on them (~11%), and additionally some of the bars in PSLV are from refineries which no longer operate the brand (like Handy & Harman). Here’s the percentage of bars within PSLV where the year is part of the serial number (based on a cursory exact match of the first 4 characters). Not splitting hairs, it's just that SOME OF Eric's bars were as cold as a grave, despite what you heard.

This is a picture of me,
with my pet human.
Finally, I’ve been wrestling with the fact that advancing a platform and framework for objective analysis of bullion investing data is not easy to do properly behind a hidden identity. In fact I am not writing anonymously, but during our last stoush with the Almighty Turd, I was appalled that Stephanie the Mod suggested my name wasn’t real. I’m very proud of my work and it would be useful for my business contacts to see my inventiveness, so even though this makes it easier for JP Morgan to gun me down, I’ve added some basic details about me to our profile page.

p.s. I don’t actually own any gold or silver I lost all of it at one of GM Jenkins’s infamous “poker extravaganza” nights while heavily under the influence of what he claims was only alcohol in a particularly rash all-in-bet but ironically he had all of his winnings stashed aboard his 50-foot yacht and was last sighted at an undisclosed location (off Cape Coral, headed south) and reported a boating accident en-route to Bermuda.

[ Updated 14th Sep 2012 - trying to sort out the new terminology 'Fund Jumpers' has been reclassified as 'Vault Jumpers' which works better. This will help distinguish between the different movement types, which I'll explain in the next article]

[ Footnote: 23rd Sep 2012 - this article just got a mention in Ed Steer's Gold and Silver daily (thanks Nick Laird). It doubled the number of hits overnight. I need to just clarify that I think Ed Steer got me mixed up with Joshua Gibbons, who does the weekly analysis of SLV data over at, and I can't contact Ed directly. I won't amend my article above, as it is already correctly attributed, but just wanted to make sure that readers understand the context - Joshua's work inspired me for this project, but the two studies are not the same - my data looks at other funds and other vaults. FYI, I found the link About.AG's PSLV analysis that I mentioned above, it's here on the kitco forums. p.s. I've nearly finished writing up my next article follow-up and I'll add the link below once it's done. Regards, Warren ]

[ also see: SLV Database 4, where I look at the Goldmoney and Bullionvault data ]


Kid Dynamite said...

wow, Warren, great work.

you really deserve an answer from Sprott on the 9,697 bars of unknown origin/refiner.


Bron Suchecki said...

Excellent work Warren.

The problem with Sprott's bar list is more to do with Royal Canadian Mint and how they record the bars. They really should be able to do better.

Maybe just tell them the Perth Mint can do it and their competitive spirits may get them to come up to scratch :)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic work, Warren. Now that you have got the analysis up and running, I can perhaps start pestering you with my questions.

GLD reports their inventory in ounces every day. You can track individual bars. How often does it happen that GLD gets bars added and removed on the same day, and what is the net change of inventory on these days?

How often does it happen that bars are removed from GLD and later put back in? Do the baskets stay unchanged while outside of GLD, or does the composition of the baskets change?

You cannot see it if a particular bar is removed from GLD and and then added back on the same day. But if one AP creates a basket and some other AP redeems on the same day, you will be able to see it as these most certainly involve different bars.


costata said...

Impressive piece of work Warren. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Superb work, Warren. This is real 'back of the net' stuff..! I can't wait to read the next instalment..!

Any replies from Mr Sprott, yet? ;-)

Anonymous said...

As an aside (I'll put up a more detailed post about this on Screwtape soon, but I don't want to jump in on top of Warren's excellent post), I've launched today a new spin-off site for Screwtape, which will be essentially a repository of trading ideas - not limited to the PMs - for those with an interest in TA and shorter term trading rather than long term wealth protection.

It's called Jeanne d'Arc's Trading Set Ups, and you can find it here. Have a look, if you have time, and let me know what you think.

And before anyone asks: no, I have absolutely no intentions of starting a newsletter or making deals with Andrew McGuire or Gonzalo Liras... :-) It's a freebie Blogspot with no adverts, like Screwtape, and it will stay that way.

Bron Suchecki said...


I don't think we will find bars dropping off (from redemptions) and bars coming on (from creations) within the same day.

Reason is that if you look at page 19 of the GLD prospectus (Creation and Redemption of Shares) the process is the APs deposit or withdraw unallocated into/out of GLD's unallocated account with the custodian. APs are then given shares.

The custodian then allocates the bars, leaving no more than 400oz of unallocated. My guess is the custodian nets the unallocated transactions.

Anonymous said...


we already have evidence for days on which some baskets are created and some are redeemed, both on the same trading day.

Take a look at my GLD article and as an example the day for which Warren James 'received' the fax from HSBC (16 Aug 2011). The deallocated sum confirmed in that fax is not equal to the total change of inventory on that day.


Bron Suchecki said...

And that may have only been one fax of many. Back office operations often batch transactions and there may have been other netting deallocation or allocation faxes as other AP requests were received and confirmed.

We will see from Warren's work but at this time I'm going to take a bet that allocation and deallocation on the same day will be rare, if at all.

Maybe Warren can specifically look at 16 Aug 2011 for GLD to see what the bar list change shows for that day?

Anonymous said...


please take a look at the figures. The deallocation on that day was larger than the total loss of inventory on that day. So there must have been some allocation as well on the same day.

I am happy to take a bet that allocation and deallocation on the same day will be frequent, say, that it will happen on at least 10% of all days that show an inventory change.

You see, this is related to the question of why the GLD puke indicator works. I am saying one AP is in need of physical gold and takes it out of GLD for that reason. Then, perhaps, some other AP has a smaller quantity available and arbitrages against it. All on the same day.

And, yes, I expect that an individual bar can be reallocated to several different owners on the same day. ("The LBMA gold is very busy.") The GLD bar list then provides only a once-a-day snapshot.


Warren James said...

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback on my research :)

I admit the GLD discussion has more value than SLV, and I've been working on ways to capture this information at a higher resolution (than my current processing structure). For anyone wondering what's being talked about the 16-Aug-2011, it's written up last year, and also I've updated the article with the archive location of the fax itself.

Having the fax in place of the document actually means that there was no public bars record for 16th August, but happily we do have the ones either side of it, (15th Aug 2011 and 17th Aug 2011).

I'm really torn at the minute as I could chase this or I use the Sprott analysis routines to process BullionVault and Goldmoney records in silver, or I could switch straight to Gold and see if Sprott's PHYS has any bars from GLD. I guess I will just have to do all three. Bron and Victor's bet is the most interesting, so I'll queue this ahead of the silver analysis.

[ BTW, general observation - it's amazing how much gold there is in GLD. I was trying to figure out a custom graph and my initial premise was to have one pixel represent a single bar. That doesn't work - the graphic would be so large. To fit it on the screen properly there has to be 100 bars per pixel. I'm going to need multiple charts for this. The good news is that I can reuse the GLD analysis for SLV. ]

Stormdancer said...

Freak me out. Warren my deepest thanks and gratitude to you and all the prosimians. Bron thank you also for the support you've provided this project.

I see from the sidebar I have a lot of reading to do and I'll do that before I pester anyone with questions.

But thankyou. For a long, long time now I've desired a peek into that opaque OTC metals world and after a lot of frustratingly fruitless effort, this is the first ray of hope I've seen.

I'm certainly eager to see what comes next...the potentials are exciting :)

I'm in awe of the sheer work that must have gone into getting this far.

Man, tangible facts being pulled out of the darkness. Simply awesome.

I'll go read now before I fall into some disgusting display of grovelling and fawning :)

But...I'll be back :)

Bron Suchecki said...


1. You're focusing too much on that one fax. Consider that there may have been another fax later in the day with revised figures as a late AP creation request came in to JPM's back office. In such case JPM just nets that off against the redemption requests and revises the deallocation down.

2. While APs can use GLD as a source of physical I think you and FOFOA are way overplaying that and underplaying what I think is the more likely reason, being that APs aim to minimise creation/redemption costs and will only do so when they accumulate too much long or short position (ie they determine the trend of buying/selling will not be reversing).

Because BBs have a pretty good "web" of intelligence, they know when the trend will not reverse before others, hence why the GLD Puke theory seems to predict price changes.

3. "an individual bar can be reallocated to several different owners on the same day" This makes no sense to me. Settlements are not done intra-day in the gold market. All transactions for a certain day with each counterparty are settled once on that day.

Anonymous said...


this is from LPMCL, Clearing Introduction:

Each member of LPMCL must provide, on demand, same-day allocation of metal to a creditor member and it is expected that such allocation will be provided within one hour under normal circumstances.

So I don't think JPM has revised the fax that was intercepted by Warren, but rather that there has been an independent allocation from a basket creation on the same day (perhaps by a different AP). It is my understanding that, once the fax has been sent, the (de)allocation has taken place.

1) Do investors bid up GLD, and the AP responds by creating a basket,
2) Does the AP want physical gold, and the GLD investors respond by selling him some shares?

If it was always (1), there would be no argument why the GLD indicator works.

But we know the GLD indicator works, at least if more than 250000 ounces (about 25 baskets or 7.78 tons) are (de)allocated on a single day. In the case of smaller inventory adjustments, yes, perhaps this the result of some paper gold arbitrage that has lead to an accumulation of a GLD long or short position that is finally squared by some of the APs in a creation/redemption step.

But why would the price of paper gold (trading volume 2700 tons per day) increase after some arbitrage has lead to an inventory reduction by 7.78 tons???

PS: For newcomers, we are talking about my GLD article and the discussion at FOFOA's blog.

Bron Suchecki said...

LPMCL is the clearing organisation, of which only a few are clearers, and it only covers inter-bank clearing of unallocated and allocated balances between clearing banks.

Most APs are not clearers so what you quote doesn't apply to them. The standard metal account agreement from bullion banks does not give clients one hour allocation. Note the GLD trust is just a client of JPM.

1) is most of it IMO, APs respond to investor behaviour.

In the case of 2) you have it worded wrong, it should read "APs bid up GLD, and GLD investors respond by selling."

I just don't see 2) being the case given the amount of physical metal available in the OTC market. I mean, just look at some of the quantities that GLD creates daily, there has to be a big amount of "dark" gold to handle that.

Regards your GLD indicator, keep in mind that gold market settlement is 2 days after trade date and GLD share settlement is 3 days (see page 19 & 20 of GLD prospectus): "An Authorized Participant who places a purchase order is responsible for crediting its Authorized Participant Unallocated Account with the required gold deposit amount by the end of the second business day in London following the purchase order date."

Hence redemption/creations of GLD on a specific day are actually reflecting trading/requests by APs from 2-3 day prior (2 days for creating, 3 days for redeeming) - and thus reflecting price action from 2-3 days prior. You might want to factor that into your GLD indicator.

As to your final question, I have a number of issues with your post but not the time to address them systematically because you've put a lot of theories and interpretations into the post. It is on my to-do.

Bron Suchecki said...

Missed something from point 2) - with that amount of "dark" physical, why would a BB go into the visible GLD market and bid up its prices to get GLD shares so it can redeem them for the physical it desperately needs, when it can do so quietly in the OTC?

milamber said...


Again Kudos for doing this project.


I am really looking forward to your response to Victors GLD theory.

And for Jeanne, here is some really stout technical analysis for you to behold ;)


"The Silver Bullet and the Silver Shield is ALIVE! For close to 16 months we have been taking it on the chin listening to the those paper propagandists that said silver was in a bubble and that we should sell. 16 months of paper raids. 16 months of rehypothicated accounts. 16 months of pundits gloating. 16 months of blatant criminal manipulation. Well now it is our turn!"


Anonymous said...


have you ever tried to purchase 10-15 tons of unallocated (this should already be visible in the spot price, perhaps +$5 ?) and then have it allocated? Eric Sprott did this with 7 tonnes, and you can see it from the GLD inventory. How likely is it that this is a coincidence?

By the way, the BB may already own shares of GLD, and so when they get an allocation request, they just redeem the GLD shares they already own. Only if they happen not to own any GLD, would they have to purchase GLD in the market.


Most APs are not clearers so what you quote doesn't apply to them.

I don't care. But all LBMA clearers are APs. That's what matters.


Anonymous said...

why would a BB go into the visible GLD market and bid up its prices to get GLD shares so it can redeem them for the physical it desperately needs, when it can do so quietly in the OTC?

Well, we actually see them do this, don't we? (not necessarily bid up the price of GLD as they may already own shares in GLD, but definitely take the gold out of GLD). First, there are a number of 'coincidences', and finally the GLD trading strategy does work. That's the strongest argument. I haven't seen any other plausible explanation of why the strategy would work.

And so we conclude that the 'dark pool' is apparently not that big after all. Well, there may be a lot of allocated gold in the system that's owned by all sorts of investors, but this need not be for sale. So the liquid part of the 'dark pool' is apparently not that big.

I mean, just look at some of the quantities that GLD creates daily

They have created a net amount of about one tonne per calendar day (average over the previous 4 weeks). That's perfectly in line with my estimate. Global supply (mining and recycling) is about 12 tonnes per trading day. Some part of it goes through London? How much? 4 tonnes? Then there is some selling from the stock of allocated gold ('dark pool'), so perhaps in total some 10-15 tonnes per day? Well, apparently there was a surplus of about one tonne per day during the previous four weeks which they put into GLD (whether they still own the shares or whether they have sol them, we don't know).

Nevertheless, GLD still posts a net loss of inventory compared with the summer of 2010, and so there has been no net creation for two years. Perhaps there is not that much physical gold around after all?

Note the GLD trust is just a client of JPM.

Of HSBC, isn't it? And the deallocation requests on Warren's fax came from three APs, one of whom (JPM) is a clearer. They can definitely get intra-day allocation, no? But since the fax was not sent for the net-amount deallocated on that day, but only for a part of it, apparently this fax was not the five-o-clock summary for that trading day, but rather some intra-day activity, no?

Does perhaps the account agreement that you as the Perth Mint get from your BB differ from what the BBs do among each other? (i.e. what Goldman gets when they use HSBC as a clearer?)

Finally, I won't take any 3-day settlement into account, first because for the strategy to be valid, you can only act on published information (making a strategy profitable by using hindsight information is not any challenge). Secondly, if I purchase shares on Monday at 10:21am, this affects the price immediately rather than three days later when the trade settles.


Kid Dynamite said...

FYI, when Victor mentions Sprott, he's talking about this, from April, 2011:

if only we had the bar lists from back then to see if any GLD bars ended up in PHYS... Warren, do we?

Kid Dynamite said...

also, Bron - I'm not sure you're correct about the GLD data reflecting creations/redemptions from 2 or 3 days earlier. I would guess (although I could be wrong) that the website data reflects that current day's requests, and that the language you reference in your comment is just a backstop for identifying counterparty default..

kinda like how Sprott's website updates his funds when he buys the metal, not when he physically receives it.

also, Victor, I would guess (although I could be wrong) that you can only redeem/create GLD shares one time per day, at the end of the day. That's how other ETFs, which I have done creations/redemptions on, generally function. In other words, I don't think (although I could be wrong) that an AP can redeem GLD shares at 10am, and then again at noon. I think those requests would be aggregated and done once, end of day.

Anonymous said...


you may be right that creations/redemptions of GLD happen only once per trading day. In this case, the fax of 16 August 2011 is not the only one.

This fax confirms the redemption of a number of baskets. As we know the total inventory of GLD on 16 August and 17 August, we know that on 16 August, there were also some creations.

Now if they (de)allocate only once per day, we know that the creations involved different APs than the redemptions, don't we? Otherwise, they would have deducted the creations from the amounts on that fax.

So various faxes for one trading day may only mean two things
1) intra-day (de)allocations - this may not be what happens as you say
2) different APs involved - this was the first point in which I objected to Bron's comment


Anonymous said...


Thank you for alerting me to that. I now hold you responsible for the fact that I have run out of blood pressure tablets...


Rx said...

What a fantastic article. This needs to become some type of worldwide live chart that would include the new silver exchange in China. Hope you continue this great work.

Motley Fool said...

Just want to chime in with my applause for the work done here.

Also :

"p.s. I don’t actually own any gold or silver I lost all of it at one of GM Jenkins’s infamous “poker extravaganza” nights while heavily under the influence of what he claims was only alcohol in a particularly rash all-in-bet but ironically he had all of his winnings stashed aboard his 50-foot yacht and was last sighted at an undisclosed location (off Cape Coral, headed south) and reported a boating accident en-route to Bermuda."

I am sad to hear about your boarding accident. It seems there is a high correlation in the metals space. Perhaps a database for how much gold has been lost to boating accidents, though perhaps the amount not lost would be less work. ;)