|Quick comparison charting all currently known 2013 GLD additions.|
An avid reader of "Harvey Organ's Daily Gold & Silver Report" (who shall remain unnamed) brought to my attention an interesting Harvey Organ footnote (my bold emphasis):
I have access to a lot of good data on GLD, so I (finally) found some time to investigate Harvey's indecision regarding the nature of the added bullion. Premise first: given that so much gold has been removed from the vault recently, simple probability suggests that at least some of the metal being 'added' will come from stuff which has been previously removed. We have explored this concept in the past, calling it the 'Dark Bullion Effect' (link), we also determined the 'background rate' is on average 30% - i.e. when we look at all bars added in total, approximately 30% of those bars (for GLD specifically) are found to have been previously listed in the inventory.
Consider the chart below which shows how many bars we have seen in the past but are no longer on public record - it keeps reaching new highs as the inventory plummets. The trend is upsetting if you consider the amount of great gold data simply disappearing from the public record.
Because the quantity of 'previously-known-but-now-missing bars' keeps growing, I keep expecting to see dark bullion rates also rising. This turns out to be a faulty assumption because this is definitely NOT supported by the data. This particular October 2013 addition contained only 20% dark bullion and all the other bars were new. Here's the breakdown.
|See below for notes. Approximately 86% of bars added on this day,|
were subsequently removed from GLD on November 6th, information,
which neatly illustrates an effect I now call Harvey's Dilemma.
- The returning (dark) bars are nothing special - the 23 x Johnson Matthey Inc were in GLD as early as October 2009, and were removed in 2012. The other 23 previously dark bars got removed again on 6th November.
- The 80 bars (1 pallet) from Johnson Matthey Limited (Canada) were introduced to GLD originally in September 2012, were removed on the 18th October 2012 before returning in this batch nearly exactly one year later. That same pallet also got removed on 6th November - i.e. added but only stayed for 3 weeks.
The newThese Johnson Matthey Limited bars are at the high end of the Johnson Matthey sequence, with serial numbers between 208,730 and 208,809 so they are comparatively recently-refined bars ( the highest known number in that sequence appears to be 228,898). These new bars also disappeared again on the 6th November.
- [added 30th Nov. for clarity] The 214 new Johnson Matthey Limited bars appear to be very recent; numbered between 228,193 and 228,898 (which sets a new record for the highest known number in that sequence). Based on the known layering of this sequence, my estimate is that these bars were refined in 2013, qualifying them for being classified as 'hot new bullion'.
- The 202 SEMPSA bars all have a very high purity (average of .9998), with a serial number range from 17,573 to 18,184 which is a previously unknown range sequence but appears to be the 'most recent' production of a four and five digit series (the highest number we knew previously was 10,750). 134 of these bars were also removed on 6th November (with no apparently pattern for the separation).
For me, the question still remains as to why recent 'Adds' are not comprised entirely of bars previously seen, I have only two major theories:
- "The Bars went East" The easiest explanation is that the gold is being shipped out of London to Switzerland/Asia, so 'of course it's not available to be added back'. While this explanation fits the data from other industry figures and observations (and makes good sense), as far as the bars data collection goes, we don't have any definitive proof yet - but we're looking.
- "The Bars got Allocated or Leased" Based on the idea that heavy gold bars in size have less of a propensity to move around the world (based on weight/cost/security to ship), there is a chance that some of the gold gets allocated as soon as it moves off the GLD bar list. This would explain why a large portion of the bars are 'unavailable' to move back in when gold needs to be added. Once again, we have no direct visibility to this, apart from knowing that the same vaults do have sections for allocated, and that some pallets of gold we observe returning in multiples of 30 days which would seem to indicate leasing.
I strongly suspect there is room for both theories - i.e. it would be wrong to say that 100% of the removed bars are going East, and once we get a sustained 'Add' to GLD we'll be able to prove at least some percentages, but not until then. Please feel free to add any comments or observations.