JPMorgan Caves And Unwinds Massive, Controversial Silver Position

JPMorgan commodities chief Blythe Masters

For months, there’s been a campaign — notably led by Max Keiser —  to drive up the price of silver on the belief that doing so could bankrupt JPMorgan, which has been widely believed to be short the silver market.Whether JPMorgan was actually nakedly hedged a meaningful amount of silver is in doubt.

Kid Dynamite wrote a pretty convincing argument last week that the whole theory was bunk. Nonetheless, the bank’s outsize role in the commodity was controversial, and it seems the bank has caved. It told the FT that it has meaningfully reduced its role in the market, and that its new position was “materially” smaller, though whether that position is net-short or neutral is unclear. The bank says the decision was purely the result of it wanting to reduce controversy, though sceptics would obviously note that if it were short the metal, then the fact that silver continues to gravitate towards $30/oz would make for a good time to get off that train.

For what it’s worth, speculation about JPMorgan as a metals market manipulator has been going around for a while. In October a trader sued the bank, claiming it once bragged about market manipulation.

And back in March, there was even a report claiming that the government had opened both criminal and civil investigations into the bank for silver manipulation, though nothing ever came of it.

Click here for more on the campaign against JPMorgan >

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