One week ago, gold market observers were surprised when in the span of four days, gold held in the JPM Comex vault declined by nearly 50%, starting on November 16 when the 668,498 ounces held in the vault below 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza declined precipitously to just 347,899 ounces, a new all time low.
Furthermore, as of the latest Comex activity update, on Friday the Registered gold held by JPM dropped another 2,802 ounces to a record low and virtually negligible 7,975 ounces, essentially equivalent to zero as shown in the chart below, even as JPM's eligible gold has also been seeing a substantial decline in recent months.
But while the decline of JPM gold has long been noted, it was the latest drop in total Comex registered gold which has again raised eyebrows, and which contrary to expectations it would be replenished either from external inflows or by conversion from Eligible both of which have not happened, has instead continued to decline. According to the latest data, total Registered gold dropped by another 11% overnight to just 134,877 ounces, just over 4 tonnes and another all time low...
... and since the gold open interest remains largely unchanged, the physical gold coverage ratio, or the ratio of gold claims to Registered gold, has just hit an all time high of 294 ounces of paper for every ounces of physical.