The last time the FT penned an article on the topic of gold manipulation, titled “Gold price rigging fears put investors on alert” it was promptly taken down without much (any) of an explanation. Luckily, we recorded the article for posterity here. Earlier today, another article on the topic appears to have slipped through the cracks of the distinguished editors of the financial journal that enjoys the ad spend of the status quo, when it reported that “Gold pricing scrutiny widens”, hardly an update that will take the world by storm, however it is notable that “even” the FT, where for years goldbugs claiming gold manipulation had been ridiculed, is finally start to admit the glaringly obvious.
In this case, the FT looks at one of the most habitual and recidivist manipulators of practically every asset class that the market has ever known, Swiss bank UBS, better known as the rat that is allegedly perfectly happy to expose all other manipulators in exchange for immunity, and focuses on the Friday’s admission by UBS in its 2013 annual report: “that a review of its foreign exchange operations has been widened to include its precious metals business. In the report, the Swiss bank said: “Following an initial media report in June 2013 of widespread irregularities in the foreign exchange markets, UBS immediately commenced an internal review of its foreign exchange business, which includes our precious metals business.”
And while it was recently revealed that there has been unprecedented collusion and rigging of gold at the time of the London fix, the latest revelations confirms that the inquiry is going beyond merely what the venerable five member banks of the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd, on the premises of N M Rothschild & Sons: after all UBS is not part of this particular criminal syndicate, which at last check included Barclays, Deustche (soon to be replaced by Standard Bank which is merely a front for China’s ICBC), Bank of Nova Scotia, HSBC and SocGen.
More from the FT:
“A number of authorities also are reportedly investigating potential manipulation of precious metal prices. UBS has taken and will take appropriate action with respect to certain personnel as a result of its ongoing review.”
UBS has been in front of its peers in revealing important details about various regulatory probes – most notably the rigging of Libor and other interbank lending rates.
Until Friday the bank had not mentioned its precious metals business was included in its review of trading practices. There was, for example, no mention of the metals business alongside fourth-quarter results a month ago.
But before anyone gets too excited, let’s recall that the last time the CFTC did an “in depth” investigation of manipulation in precious metals, it found… nothing (however, according to Bart Chilton that was only due to the zero or negative budget allotted to the impotent regulator, until recently headed by a Goldmanite). Perhaps this time will be different, and suddenly it may be in someone’s interest to finally see gold trade up to its fair value, whatever that may be, although certainly higher than the current prevailing beaten down prices, which have seen China buy up unprecedented amounts of physical gold courtesy of manipulated paper supply and demand. Especially supply.
Better yet: we look forward to learning all about it by the staunch defender of fair and efficient gold markets, the FT. Which is why, just in case, we have saved this article too. You never know when the FT will pull down this article or that, simply for breaching the taboo topic of gold price manipulation, something the Bank of England we are confident, will be very interested in as well.