The Vaults are Still Bleeding Gold and Silver – Investment Watch

Guest post by Peter Schiff of

This analysis focuses on gold and silver within the Comex/CME futures exchange. See the article What is Comex? for more details. The charts and tables below specifically look at physical stock/inventory data on the Comex to show the physical movement of metal into and out of the Comex vaults.

Registered = Warrant assigned and can be used for Comex delivery, Eligible = No warrant attached – not made available for delivery by owner.

Current trends


It has been four months of a relentless fall in gold reserves at the Comex. This was highlighted last month and the momentum has continued into September. Since May, almost 9 million ounces of gold have left the Comex vaults.

Figure: 1 Recent monthly stock change

Over the past 30 days, Registered has seen a drop of 1.47 million ounces and Eligible has lost 170,000. As shown below, almost every day shows a net loss of metal.

Figure: 2 Recent monthly stock change


Silver is slightly different from gold. Action has focused primarily on registered metal (metal available for delivery). Only one month (March) has seen an increase in Registrations since December last year. In fact, since March of last year, Registered has only seen a significant increase in inventory in two months.

Figure: 3 Recent monthly stock change

Below you can see the removal of Registered with constant movements for the last 30 days. Almost 11 million ounces have been recorded during this time.

Figure: 4 Recent monthly stock change

The table below summarizes movement activity over various time periods to better demonstrate the magnitude of the current movement.


    • Over the past month, gold has fallen 10.2%, or 1.4 million ounces.
        • Combined with the exit of Eligibles, total inventories were down 5.7% or 1.6 million
        • In the last week, the action has been recorded moving to Apte
    • Inventory is down 20% over the last year
        • Eligibles are down 11% and registered almost 30%!


    • Silver Registered is down almost 20% in the last month
        • Registered silver is down an incredible 56% in the last year and 69% in three years
    • Eligibility is almost flat for the month, down 1.2%
    • Overall, inventory has fallen 4% in the past month, but the decline in registration is clearly accelerating

At the current rate, registered silver could be completely sold out by January!

Figure: 5 Summary of stock change

The following table shows the activity by bank/holder. Drill down on the previous numbers to see the specific movement of the vaults.


    • All vaults have seen inventories fall over the past year, with 5 vaults seeing supply fall by more than 30%
    • Over the past month, 5 of 8 rounds lost gold with meager gains at Delaware Depository and HSBC


    • Silver has seen massive moM exits with 3 turns seeing almost 10% or more reduction. Another 2 laps experienced reductions of 5% or more.
    • Over the past year, only Delaware and Malca have seen increases in silver, with 7 vaults experiencing significant reductions (+10%).

Figure: 6 Detail of stock change

Historical perspective

Stepping back and looking at gold and silver inventory shows just how big the current move has been. The decline has been swift and strong, with losses seen in both Eligible and Registered.

Figure: 7 Eligible and registered historians

Silver has seen a massive down to Registered as % of total (black line). As of September 2020, Registered accounted for 40% of Comex’s total inventories. The figure has fallen to 13.8%, which is now the lowest level since at least January 2015.

Figure: 8 Eligible and registered historians

The chart below focuses only on Registered to show the slope of the current decline. As of February 2021, there were 152 million ounces on record. That number now stands at 44 million, a net drop of 108 million ounces. Given the recent acceleration, total holdings could fall below 2016 levels within months.

Figure: 9 Registered History

Comex isn’t the only vault seeing big moves in silver. Below are the LBMA silver holdings. Please note that many of the holdings listed below are allocated to ETFs. Regardless, total inventories have fallen every month since November. Holdings fell below 1 billion ounces in June and now stand just above 900 million in August.

Figure: 10 LBMA Holdings of Silver

Supply available for potential demand

These inventory declines have had a significant impact on Comex’s coverage of the paper contracts entered into. There are now 3.4 paper contracts for every ounce of gold registered within the Comex vaults. In reality, coverage would be much worse if total open interest hadn’t plummeted in recent weeks.

Figure: 11 Open interest/inventories ratio

Hedging in silver is much weaker than gold with 15 paper contracts for every ounce of silver recorded. This is the worst coverage since June 2018, when total open interest was almost 61% higher.

Figure: 12 Open interest/inventories ratio


Physical demand for gold and silver has been voracious. Although the price is still controlled by the paper market, it is clear that something in the physical market could cause a major change. As supplies continue to dwindle, it’s only a matter of time before the shorts get stuck without being able to deliver. At the current rate, this is not something that will happen in a few years. It could be a few months!

Gold and silver price action doesn’t suggest that supplies are starting to run low, but the data is ringing alarm bells for anyone willing to listen. There is physical demand and investors want it now! Prices will be updated. Make sure you are positioned before them.

Guest post by Peter Schiff of

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