Silver spot price swings between gains and losses

NEW YORK (Sept 26)  Silver spot prices today are wobbling between gains and losses in New York. The white metal was 0.25 percent higher at $21.85 an ounce at 14.32 BST, while futures for December delivery were at $21.88 an ounce, down 0.05 percent.

A five-year investigation into alleged manipulation of the silver market by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was closed yesterday, concluding that there was no evidence of wrongdoing. Silver analysts and traders had urged the probe, accusing big banks of using futures and options to hold prices down.

“There is not a viable basis to bring an enforcement action with respect to any firm or its employees related to our investigation of silver markets,” the CFTC said in a statement.

"For me, there's not been a more frustrating nor disappointing non-policy-related matter at the CFTC," said Democrat commissioner Bart Chilton, who had championed the silver inquiry.

The probe, which began in 2008, gathered urgency in 2011 when silver prices collapsed nearly 30 percent in five days after doubling to a record of almost $50 an ounce.

Back in a May 2008 a report by the agency said again that there was no evidence of manipulation in the market between 2005 and 2007.

‘Numerous letters, e-mails and phone calls from silver investors’ had been received by the CFTC over the preceding 20 years alleging that silver futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange had been manipulated downward, according to the report.

Jobless Claims

The US Labour Department today reported a decrease in initial jobless claims by 5,000 to 305,000 in the week ended September 21, pulling the four-week average of initial filings down to 308,000, the lowest level since June 2007.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits is an important indicator of the health of the US’ labour market and economy, which makes it a key driver for precious metals’ prices and the Federal Reserve’s decision when to start scaling back its commodities-friendly bond-buying programme, known as quantitative easing.