Jan 7, 2009

Is COMEX running low on physical gold?..

...or maybe they're just applying "Fractional Reserve" depositing in their gold reserves?

This note is from a small precious metals fund:

"...We accumulated 3 emini gold contracts on CBOT for December delivery and we had been given serial numbers and weights last week for the 3 bars we were to receive.

Today we are informed that Comex is invoking a rule in which they can deny delivery of individual mini bars (roughly 33 ounces) and issue you only a Warehouse Delivery Receipt (WDR) against your mini-contract unless you have 3 WDR's, and then they'll issue you a 100 oz. bar.

Otherwise, if you have only 1 or 2 mini-contracts, you only own a WDR, which you sell by shorting a mini against it. If you own a WDR for a 100 oz., they encourage you to safekeep the gold at the Comex and hold a vault receipt.

CLEARLY, the Comex has run out of the bars that were being delivered to holders of emini contracts. Our back-office guy told us that he's been doing Comex deliveries for 30 years and he's never seen anything like this, and he's never heard of this rule on the mini contract. (update: its in the contract if you read it - Jesse)
Fortunately we have 3 WDR's and we will be getting delivery of a 100 oz. Comex gold bar.

But this whole episode brings into the question the validity of the Comex gold inventory. More importantly, the Comex is now going to issue WDR's, which are paper.

Are they becoming a "fractional" reserve depository, where they can issue several WDR's against the same bar of gold, knowing that some of those people will opt to keep storage on Comex and never require actual physical delivery?"

It certainly puts a fresh emphasis on the old adage, "When in doubt, take it out"

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