Sponsor Advertisement I’m ever conscious of the beating JPMorgan et al laid on the precious metals between Christmas and New Years in 2011‘Dead’ would be a good word to describe the gold market everywhere on Planet Earth yesterday. Gold closed at $1,696.20 spot…down $1.10 from Thursday. Volume was microscopic at around 85,000 contracts.The silver price chart was very similar right up until 10:00 a.m. in New York. From there it got sold off into the 1:30 p.m. Comex close…and then didn’t do a lot after that.Silver finished the Friday trading day at $32.31 spot…down 23 cents from Thursday. Volume was only around 27,500 contracts.The dollar index opened at the 79.93 mark…and stayed mostly at that level until shortly before 8:00 a.m. in New York. From that point, the index rolled over…and by 12:15 a.m. Eastern time, it was down to its low of the day…around 79.51…down about 45 basis points from its early morning New York high. Then it recovered a hair going into the close…finishing the day at 79.56…down 37 basis points.The effects of the decline in the dollar index were nowhere to be seen in either the gold or silver price yesterday.The gold stocks chopped around in about a one percent price range of Thursday’s close…with the HUI finishing the Friday trading session up a tiny 0.22%.Almost every silver stock finished in positive territory yesterday…and that’s reflected in Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index, as it closed up 1.29%.(Click on image to enlarge)Here’s the ‘big picture’ view of what the silver stocks have been up to…Nick Laird’s ‘old’ SSI chart.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report shows that 15 gold and 12 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday…and the link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.There were no reported changes in either SLV or GLD on Friday.The U.S. Mint had a smallish sales report. They sold 1,000 ounces of gold eagles…and 2,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes. Month-to-date the mint has sold 35,500 ounces of gold eagles…6,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 1,403,000 silver eagles. Based on this data, the silver/gold sales ratio stands at 27 to 1.It was a very slow day the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, as they reported receiving only 9,565 troy ounces of silver…and shipped nothing out the door.The Commitment of Traders Report was as expected…a yawner.In silver, JPMorgan et al decreased their net short position by a tiny 591 contracts. The Commercial net short position is currently a hair under 290 million ounces. The ‘Big 4’ are short 265.7 million ounces of that amount…or 50.7% of the entire Comex futures market in silver on a net basis. The ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 55.4 million ounces of silver, which represents 10.6 percent of the Comex short position on a net basis. So the ‘Big 8’ are short 61.3% of the entire Comex futures market in silver.JPMorgan still short well over 30 percentage points of this amount…and it’s my opinion that Scotiabank/Scotia Mocatta are short another 10+ percentage points. So between the two of them, they are short roughly 45% of the entire Comex futures market. The other two traders in the ‘Big 4’ hold immaterial positions…as do the four traders in the ‘5 through 8’ category.In gold, JPMorgan et al decreased their net short position by 2,716 contracts…and the Commercial net short position now sits at 21.49 million ounces. The ‘Big 4’ are short 13.44 million ounces of gold…or 37.0 percent of the entire Comex futures market in gold on a net basis. The ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 5.33 million ounces of gold…and this amount represents 14.7 percent of the Comex futures market on a net basis.Using straight arithmetic, the ‘Big 8’ are short 51.7% of the entire Comex futures market in gold on a net [all reported spread trades subtracted from the open interest] basis.The ‘Big 8’ are short 87.3% of the Commercial net short position in gold. But in silver, the ‘Big 8’ are short 110.7 percent of the Commercial net short position…with JPMorgan and [I believe] Scotiabank holding about almost half of that percentage between the two of them.I’d also like to point out that these percentages of concentration are minimum numbers.You can follow the historic and interactive COT data for gold here…and silver here. These charts are a bit slow to load…especially silver…so if you’re using an older browser, it may take a while.As always, here’s this past week’s Commitment of Traders data for the Big 4 and Big 8 traders in all commodities traded on the Comex as of the close of trading on Tuesday, December 11th. It’s translated into “Days of World Production to Cover Short Positions”…but it’s just a different name for the same data. It’s my guess that 90 percent of the red line [the Big 4] in silver is represented by JPMorgan Chase and Scotiabank.(Click on image to enlarge)Here’s an ‘Australian Christmas Wreath’ made of native parrots. The read and blue ones are Crimson Rosellas…and the red and green ones are Australian King Parrots. The photo was taken at Lamington National Park in Queensland, Australia…and I thank Australian reader Brad Lane for sharing it with us.I have the usual number of stories for a Saturday…and only a couple of them are ones I’ve saved for the weekend.Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our [needs] keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget—just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits. – President John F. Kennedy to the Economic Club of New York…1962Today’s ‘blast from the past’ is a pop song by a group that found success here in Canada first…and then later in the U.S. and around the world. This is one of the first tunes that brought them fame in the mid 1970s…and the rest, as they say, is history. Everyone should know it…and the link is here. While I’m in the mood…here’s another, and even bigger hit of theirs from 1987, linked here.The classical ‘blast from the past’ is an old chestnut that I pull out every year at this time. It’s a short piece from Handel’s Messiah…and sung by Dame Emma Kirkby. I consider her interpretation of this work to be definitive. It’s absolutely divine…and the link is here.What little price action there was yesterday is not worthy of further comment in this space…although I note that the silver price was taken to new lows for this move down.Except sit here and watch, there’s not a lot we can do going forward. I’m still not sure whether the 200-day moving averages are targets this time or not…but I’m ever conscious of the beating JPMorgan et al laid on the precious metals between Christmas and New Years in 2011. Could it happen again? Sure…as the short positions in both gold and silver are still there…greatly reduced in gold, to be sure…but still obscene and grotesque in silver.Here are the 1-year charts for both gold and silver to give you the lay of land. I doubt very much that we’ll hit the lows of last December, but “da boyz” could certainly hit gold for at least fifty bucks…and silver for two or three bucks.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)One thing is for sure…and that is with the rampant money printing going on world wide…it’s only a matter of if not when inflation everywhere becomes far more noticeable…and it’s a given that we’ll see substantially higher precious metal prices despite the efforts of JPMorgan Chase et al when that time arrives.That’s all I have for the day…and the week. I’ll see you here on Tuesday…or Wednesday, depending where on Planet Earth you live. 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