by Antal E. Fekete
December 2, 2008, was a landmark in the saga of the collapsing international monetary system, yet it did not deserve to be reported in the press: gold went to backwardation for the first time ever in history. The facts are as follows: on December 2nd, at the Comex in New York, December gold futures (last delivery: December 31) were quoted at 1.98% discount to spot, while February gold futures (last delivery: February 27, 2009) were quoted at 0.14% discount to spot. (All percentages annualized.) The condition got worse on December 3rd, when the corresponding figures were 2% and 0.29%. This means that the gold basis has turned negative, and the condition of backwardation persisted for at least 48 hours. I am writing this in the wee hours of December 4th, when trading of gold futures has not yet started in New York.
According to the December 3rd Comex delivery report, there are 11,759 notices to take delivery. This represents 1.1759 million ounces of gold, while the Comex-approved warehouses hold 2.9 million ounces. Thus 40% of the total amount will have to be delivered by December 31st. Since not all the gold in the warehouses is available for delivery, Comex supply of gold falls far short of the demand at present rates. Futures markets in gold are breaking down. Paper gold is progressively being discredited.
Already there was a slight backwardation in gold at the expiry of a previous active contract month, but it never spilled over to the next active contract month, as it does now: backwardation in the December contract is spilling over to the February contract which at last reading was 0.36%. Silver is also in backwardation, with the discount on silver futures being about twice that on gold futures.
[…]If the governments of the great trading nations had really wanted to save the world from a catastrophic collapse of world trade, then they should have opened their mints to gold. Now gold backwardation has caught up with us and shut down the free flow of gold in the system. This will have catastrophic consequences. Few people realize that the shutting down of the gold trade, which is what is happening, means the shutting down of world trade. This is a financial earthquake measuring ten on the Greenspan scale, with epicenter at the Comex in New York, where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood. It is no exaggeration to say that this event will trigger a tsunami wiping out the prosperity of the world.