Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

US Mint Sells Out Of Silver Eagles Following "Tremendous" Demand -

US Mint Sells Out Of Silver Eagles Following "Tremendous" Demand - 

When it comes to buyers of physical assets as opposed to traders of paper representations of such assets, there is one key difference: the latter, more than anything, enjoy looking at "heatmaps", chasing trends and jumping on momentum, the result being the most recent massive selloff in such "paper" representations of precious metals as the GLD and SLV ETFs, and various gold futures.

On the other hand, those who prefer to hold the metal in their hands, as well as others such as China whose ravenous apetite for gold over the past 4 years has been extensively covered here in the past, take every advantage of selloffs, and - inconceivably - demonstrate how Econ 101, namely supply and demand, really works, leading to ever greater demand the lower the price. Demand so high, in fact, that the underlying commodity that is being sold through paper conduits, sells out.

This is precisely what happened at the U.S. Mint, which just sold out of all silver American Eagle silver bullion coins, following "tremendous" demand in the past several weeks, according to Reuters reports.

This should hardly come as a surprise: over the weekend we reported that "Silver Coin Sales At US Mint Soar To Highest In Two Years."

Sales surged to 5.79 million ounces, the most since January 2013, the month that set an all-time high at 7.5 million, Bloomberg reports. "Today, sales jumped 33 percent in one of the busiest times this year", Tom Jurkowsky, a spokesman at the Washington-based mint, said in an interview. Last month’s total was 4.14 million.

“We saw demand surge over the past two days,” Michael Kramer, the president of New York-based MTB Inc., a dealer authorized to purchase coins directly from the mint, said in a telephone interview. “Business was almost triple than what it has been over the past few months.”

Logically, as a result of the surge in physical demand, silver futures for December delivery dropped 1.9 percent to close at $16.106 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $15.635, the lowest for a most-active contract since Feb. 25, 2010.

Because when it comes to precious metals, thanks to the BIS and the central banks, Paper beats Rock every time.

Which brings us to today, when according to an alert issued to dealers across the US, some 2 million ounces of silver sold out just after noon, Eastern time, following the sale of over 1 million ounces in just the first two days of the month.

In a statement sent to its biggest U.S. coin wholesalers, the U.S. Mint says it will continue to produce 2014-dated coins. The Mint will advise when additional inventory will become available for sale without providing further details.

The announcement has not been made available to the public, but a U.S. Mint spokesman confirmed that it has sent the statement to its authorized participants.

A sharp break in gold prices to their lowest in more than four years last week has unleashed a surge in demand for silver and gold coins in North America and Europe.
As A-Mark, one of the largest bullion distributors in the country added, "The US Mint has just announced that they are temporarily sold out of American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins.  They are in the process of producing more and will advise when additional inventory is available.  If you previously received fixed premium pricing from us, it is no longer valid."

So... even lower prices coming, right?

And since everything else in the New Normal is now flipped on its head, it only makes sense that the continued price collapse for precious metals is, as it turns out, driven by ever greater demand!


ScratchJr – Teaching pre-school kids how to write computer code - craft their own interactive stories and games -

ScratchJr – Teaching pre-school kids how to write computer code - craft their own interactive stories and games - 

A computer programming app has been released that is so easy to use that even kids aged five can do it according to its inventors.

ScratchJr is the brainchild of researchers in Massachussets, who are currently testing it out on kindergarten children there. 

Specifically designed for children as young as five who haven’t yet learned to read, the app allows kids to craft their own interactive stories and games, by stringing coding blocks together in order to make animated characters move, jump, and change size or colour. 

“To control the characters in their stories in ScratchJr, children snap together graphical building blocks, much like putting together Lego pieces, and each block tells the character what to do,” explained ScratchJr co-developer, Mitchel Resnick. 

ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language also developed by the MIT Media Lab and already used by millions of children aged eight and up around the world. The ScratchJr team redesigned the interface and language to make it appropriate for younger children. 

“There’s been a growing interest in helping people learn to code, but we see ScratchJr as the first programming language that was designed specifically for children as young as five years old to really meet their needs and their developmental abilities,” said Resnick.

The initiative is intended to transform children’s interaction with the screen from the traditional practice of consuming content that is largely in the form of entertainment. 

“It’s clear some parents are worried about too much screen time, and it’s also clear that there are some parents who are really proponents of technology. So, you have to think about how it fits within your parents’ world and how they want their child to be raised,” said Dr Sandra Calvert, director of the Children’s Digital Media Centre at Georgetown University.

Its developers say that while teaching coding to children who might not even know how to read yet may sound strange, the idea is to expose kids to computer programming early to eventually make it accessible to everyone.


Man uses wife's urine to try to pass drug test -- discovers she's pregnant! -

Man uses wife's urine to try to pass drug test -- discovers she's pregnant! - 

An Egyptian bus driver who tried to avoid a drugs test by using his wife's urine has been busted after it turned out his wife was pregnant, it's reported.

The man had been selected for a standard drugs test along with other public bus drivers, but did not submit his own urine sample, instead using his wife's, the Al-Yawm al-Sabi website reports. What he didn't know was that his wife was two months' pregnant. Before revealing the news, officials asked the driver to confirm the sample was in fact his own, according to Tamer Amin, a presenter on the political talk show Bottom Line. After the driver said it was, the officials reportedly responded: "Congratulations, you're pregnant."

"This story despite being funny has several lessons," Mr Amin says. "First, that drugs have become available to many and have become as common as cigarettes. This is a calamity." In future, the transport authority will require a blood test as well as urine tests to prevent people giving fake samples, a source at the Public Transportation Authority Hospital tells Al-Yawm al-Sabi.

About 12,000 people are killed on Egypt's roads each year, a rate of 42 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation. Drug use has also been on the rise in recent years, with the painkiller tramadol proving particularly popular as a cheap - but addictive - energy booster.

Read more -