Gold bull may have ended in August 2011

In the Lead: “India Dodging Silver Bullet?”

The latest daily Standard Bank commodities report indicated that according to the latest CFTC data, open interest in COMEX gold fell by 11.8 tonnes. The newest tally shows the lowest such level since January 2009, and also marks the sixth successive week of decline. SB’s analysts note that “over these six weeks, open interest has fallen by a total of 215.0 tonnes, which has been accompanied by an 8% fall in the gold price over the same period.”

As for the all-important ETF space, the enthusiasm levels in that niche remains lackluster, as seen in a “noncommittal 1.1 tonnes that were added to holdings of over the past week.” SB’s report concludes that “as in the futures market, there appears to be a growing lack of confidence in gold’s prospects.” The good news if any in ETFs is that we have not seen any major liquidations just yet. However, it will be interesting to parse the various fund reports for their Q1 gold ETF buy/sell activity when they become available.

Albeit India’s jewelers have returned to work, and plan to stay on the job until May 11 while they hope for favorable pronouncements from the government, they are gearing up for an Akshaya Tritiya season that will likely see quite a bit of glitter having been taken off of gold. Some locals have turned wary about the gold taxation issue and have begun contemplating the purchase of gold coins or even the opening of bullion trading accounts in lieu of decorative gold items.

Meanwhile, according to trading giant Scotia Mocatta, India’s silver imports are potentially set to fall by up to 27% this year as extreme price volatility in the white metal is driving would-be buyers away. India consumes the largest amount of silver globally but its denizens loathe the price gyrations which have left many of their North American counterparts also licking their wounds since at least one year ago. As a result, Scotia Mocatta projects that only some 3,500 tonnes of silver might be imported into India as opposed to the nearly 5,000 tonnes that the country took in during 2011. Behold the roller-coaster ride in silver that has given its buyers a case of intense vertigo ever since the middle of 2010:

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