Monday, May 16, 2011

Revisiting registered silver in COMEX depositories

There are approximately 32 million ounces of registered silver in COMEX warehouses.  Each futures contract controls 5,000 ounces of silver.  Which means there is enough deliverable silver for 6,400 COMEX contracts.

The open interest was 123,000 contracts as of today.  126,000 contracts traded last Friday.

Normally, most COMEX contracts are settled via cash (rumor is that cash settlement premiums are up to 80% due to the shortage of physical silver).  However, if enough longs stand for physical delivery, the shorts don't have the inventory and the COMEX would have to default.  That can't be good for an exchange.

The supply/demand dynamic is already strained, and the price of physical silver is starting to bifurcate from the manipulated spot price.  A default would send physical prices soaring above the paper prices.

A default on silver or gold has never occurred at a major exchange.  There was a default on nickel at the LME in London in 2006, at which point nickel prices spiked.  The same thing will happen to silver if there is a delivery default at the COMEX.

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