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BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases

As expected over the weekend, and as we first noted shortly after electronic…



This article was originally published by Zero Hedge

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases

As expected over the weekend, and as we first noted shortly after electronic markets reopened for trading on Sunday, S&P futures have maintained their overnight gains and have rebounded 0.7% while Nasdaq contracts jumped as much as 1.3% after risk sentiment stabilized following Friday’s carnage and as investors settled in for a few weeks of uncertainty on whether the Omicron variant would derail economic recoveries and the tightening plans of some central banks. Japan led declines in the Asian equity session (which was catching down to Friday’s US losses) after the government shut borders to visitors. The region’s reopening stocks such as restaurants, department stores, train operators and travel shares also suffered some losses.  Oil prices bounced $3 a barrel to recoup some of Friday’s rout, while the safe haven yen, Swiss franc and 10Y Treasury took a breather after its run higher.

Moderna shares jumped as much as 12% in pre-market trading after Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said he suspects the new omicron coronavirus variant may elude current vaccines, and if so, a reformulated shot could be available early in the new year. Which he would obviously say as his company makes money from making vaccines, even if they are not very efficient. Here are some of the other notable premarket movers today:

  • BioNTech (BNTX US) advanced 5% after it said it’s starting with the first steps of developing a new adapted vaccine, according to statement sent by text.
  • Merck & Co. (MRK US) declined 1.6% after it was downgraded to neutral from buy at Citi, which also opens a negative catalyst watch, with “high probability” the drugmaker will abandon development of its HIV treatment.
  • A selection of small biotechs rise again in U.S. premarket trading amid discussion of the companies in StockTwits and after these names outperformed during Friday’s market rout. Palatin Tech (PTN US) +37%, Biofrontera (BFRI US) +22%, 180 Life Sciences (ATNF US) +19%.

Bonds gave back some of their gains, with Treasury futures were down 11 ticks. Like other safe havens, the market had rallied sharply as investors priced in the risk of a slower start to rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, and less tightening by some other central banks.

Needless to say, Omicron is all anyone can talk about: on one hand, authorities have already orchestrated a lot of global panic: Britain called an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the virus, even though the South African doctor who discovered the strain and treated cases said symptoms of Omicron were so far mild. The new variant of concern was found as far afield as Canada and Australia as more countries such as Japan imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

Summarizing the fearmongering dynamic observed, overnight South African health experts – including those who discovered the Omicron variant, said it appears to cause mild symptoms, while the Chinese lapdog organization, WHO, said the variant’s risk is “extremely high”.

Investors are trying to work out if the omicron flareup will a relatively brief scare that markets rebound from, or a bigger blow to the global economic recovery. Much remains unanswered about the new strain: South African scientists suggested it’s presenting with mild symptoms so far, though it appears to be more transmissible, but the World Health Organization warned it could fuel future surges of Covid-19 with severe consequences.

“There is a lot we don’t know about Omicron, but markets have been forced to reassess the global growth outlook until we know more,” said Rodrigo Catril, a market strategist at NAB. “Pfizer expects to know within two weeks if Omicron is resistant to its current vaccine, others suggest it may take several weeks. Until then markets are likely to remain jittery.”

“Despite the irresistible pull of buying-the-dip on tenuous early information on omicron, we are just one negative omicron headline away from going back to where we started,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “Expect plenty of headline-driven whipsaw price action this week.”

The emergence of the omicron strain is also complicating monetary policy. Traders have already pushed back the expected timing of a first 25-basis-point rate hike by the Federal Reserve to July from June. Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic played down economic risks from a new variant, saying he’s open to a quicker paring of asset purchases to curb inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speak before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We know that central banks can quickly switch to dovish if they need to,” Mahjabeen Zaman, Citigroup senior investment specialist, said on Bloomberg Television. “The liquidity playbook that we have in play right now will continue to support the market.”

European stocks rallied their worst drop in more than a year on Friday, with travel and energy stocks leading the advance. The Stoxx 600 rose 0.9% while FTSE 100 futures gain more than 1%, aided by a report that Reliance may bid for BT Group which jumped as much as 9.5% following a report that India’s Reliance Industries may offer to buy U.K. phone company, though it pared the gain after Reliance denied it’s considering a bid.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde put a brave face on the latest virus scare, saying the euro zone was better equipped to face the economic impact of a new wave of COVID-19 infections or the Omicron variant

Japanese shares lead Asian indexes lower after Premier Kishida announces entry ban of all new foreign visitors. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 0.9% at the lowest level since October 2020, led by Galaxy Entertainment and Meituan. The index followed regional peers lower amid worries about the new Covid variant Omicron. Amid the big movers, Galaxy Entertainment was down 5.4% after police arrested Macau’s junket king, while Meituan falls 7.1% after reporting earnings.

In FX, currency markets are stabilizing as the week kicks off yet investors are betting on the possibility of further volatility. The South African rand climbed against the greenback though most emerging-market peers declined along with developing-nation stocks. Turkey’s lira slumped more than 2% after a report at the weekend that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a probe into foreign currency trades.

The Swiss franc, euro and yen retreat while loonie and Aussie top G-10 leaderboard after WTI crude futures rally more than 4%. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered after Friday’s drop, and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; commodity currencies led gains. The euro slipped back below $1.13 and Bunds sold off, yet outperformed Treasuries. The pound was steady against the dollar and rallied against the euro. Australian sovereign bonds pared an opening jump as Treasuries trimmed Friday’s spike amid continuing uncertainty over the fallout from the omicron variant. The Aussie rallied with oil and iron ore. The yen erased an earlier decline as a government announcement on planned border closures starting Tuesday spurred a drop in local equities. The rand strengthens as South African health experts call omicron variant “mild.”

In rates, Treasuries were cheaper by 4bp-7bp across the curve in belly-led losses, reversing a portion of Friday’s sharp safe-haven rally as potential economic impact of omicron coronavirus strain continues to be assessed. The Treasury curve bear- steepened and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped as much as 7 basis points to 1.54%; that unwound some of Friday’s 16 basis-point plunge — the steepest since March 2020.  Focal points include month-end on Tuesday, November jobs report Friday, and Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak Monday afternoon. Treasuries broadly steady since yields gapped higher when Asia session began, leaving 10-year around 1.54%, cheaper by almost 7bp on the day; front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s by ~3bp. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22

In commodities, oil prices bounced after suffering their largest one-day drop since April 2020 on Friday.

“The move all but guarantees the OPEC+ alliance will suspend its scheduled increase for January at its meeting on 2 December,” wrote analyst at ANZ in a note. “Such headwinds are the reason it’s been only gradually raising output in recent months, despite demand rebounding strongly.”

Brent rebounded 3.9% to $75.57 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 4.5% to $71.24. Gold has so far found little in the way of safe haven demand, leaving it stuck at $1,791 an ounce . SGX iron ore rises almost 8% to recoup Friday’s losses. Bitcoin rallied after falling below $54,000 on Friday.

Looking at today’s calendar, we get October pending home sales, and November Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also get a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Powell making remarks at the New York Fed innovation event, Fed’s Hassan moderating a panel and Fed’s Bowman discussing central bank and indigenous economies.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,625.00
  • MXAP down 0.9% to 191.79
  • MXAPJ down 0.4% to 625.06
  • Nikkei down 1.6% to 28,283.92
  • Topix down 1.8% to 1,948.48
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 23,852.24
  • Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,562.70
  • Sensex up 0.4% to 57,307.46
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 7,239.82
  • Kospi down 0.9% to 2,909.32
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 467.47
  • German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31%
  • Euro down 0.3% to $1.1283
  • Brent Futures up 3.8% to $75.49/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,797.11
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.13% to 96.22

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The omicron variant of Covid-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to the U.K. and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains
  • While health experts in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, said it appeared to cause only mild symptoms, the Geneva-based WHO assessed the variant’s risk as “extremely high” and called on member states to test widely. Understanding the new strain will take several days or weeks, the agency said
  • All travelers arriving in the U.K. starting at 4 a.m. on Nov. 30 must take a PCR coronavirus test on or before the second day of their stay and isolate until they receive a negative result. Face coverings will again be mandatory in shops and other indoor settings and on public transport. Booster shots may also be approved for more age groups within days, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid
  • The economic effects of the successive waves of the Covid pandemic have been less and less damaging, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says
  • Italian bonds advance for a third day, as investors shrug off new coronavirus developments over the weekend and stock futures advance, while bunds are little changed ahead of German inflation numbers and a raft of ECB speakers including President Christine Lagarde
  • A European Commission sentiment index fell to 117.5 in November from 118.6 the previous month, data released Monday showed
  • Spanish inflation accelerated to the fastest in nearly three decades in November on rising food prices, underscoring the lingering consequences of supply-chain bottlenecks across Europe. Consumer prices jumped 5.6%
  • Energy prices in Europe surged on Monday after weather forecasts showed colder temperatures for the next two weeks that will lift demand for heating
  • ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel took to the airwaves to reassure her fellow Germans that inflation will slow again, hours before data set to show the fastest pace of price increases since the early 1990s
  • Russia’s ambassador to Washington said more than 50 diplomats and their family members will have to leave the U.S. by mid-2022, in the latest sign of tensions between the former Cold War enemies
  • China sent the biggest sortie of warplanes toward Taiwan in more than seven weeks after a U.S. lawmaker defied a Chinese demand that she abandon a trip to the island

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks traded cautiously and US equity futures rebounded from Friday’s hefty selling (S&P 500 -2.3%) as all focus remained on the Omicron variant after several countries announced restrictions and their first cases of the new variant, although markets took solace from reports that all cases so far from South Africa have been mild. Furthermore, NIH Director Collins was optimistic that current vaccines are likely to protect against the Omicron variant but also noted it was too early to know the answers, while Goldman Sachs doesn’t think the new variant is a sufficient reason to adjust its portfolio citing comments from South Africa’s NICD that the mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and existing vaccines will most likely remain effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. ASX 200 (-0.5%) is subdued after Australia registered its first cases of the Omicron variant which involved two people that arrived in Sydney from southern Africa and with the government reviewing its border reopening plans. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) whipsawed whereby it initially slumped at the open due to the virus fears and currency-related headwinds but then recouped its losses and briefly returned flat as the mood gradually improved, before succumbing to a bout of late selling, and with mixed Retail Sales data adding to the indecision. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) weakened with Meituan the worst performer in Hong Kong after posting a quarterly loss and with casino names pressured by a crackdown in which police detained Suncity Group CEO and others after admitting to accusations including illegal cross border gambling. However, the losses in the mainland were cushioned after firm Industrial Profits data over the weekend and with local press noting expectations for China to adopt a more proactive macro policy next year. Finally, 10yr JGBs shrugged off the pullback seen in T-note and Bund futures, with price action kept afloat amid the cautious mood in stocks and the BoJ’s presence in the market for over JPY 900bln of JGBs mostly concentrated in 3yr-10yr maturities.

Top Asian News

  • Hong Kong Stocks Slide to 13-Month Low on Fresh Virus Woes
  • Li Auto Loss Narrows as EV Maker Rides Out Supply-Chain Snarls
  • Singapore Adds to Its Gold Pile for the First Time in Decades
  • China Growth Stocks Look Like Havens as Markets Confront Omicron

Bourses in Europe are experiencing a mild broad-based rebound (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) following Friday’s hefty COVID-induced losses. Desks over the weekend have been framing Friday’s losses as somewhat overstretched in holiday-thinned liquidity, given how little is known about the Omicron variant itself. The strain will likely remain the market theme as scientists and policymakers factor in this new variant, whilst data from this point forth – including Friday’s US labour market report – will likely be passed off as somewhat stale, and headline risk will likely be abundant. Thus far, symptoms from Omicron are seemingly milder than some of its predecessors, although governments and central banks will likely continue to express caution in this period of uncertainty. Back to price action, the momentum of the rebound has lost steam; US equity futures have also been drifting lower since the European cash open – with the RTY (+0.9%) was the laggard in early European trade vs the ES (+0.8%), NQ (+1.0%) and YM (+0.7%). European cash bourses have also been waning off best levels but remain in positive territory. Sectors are mostly in the green, but the breadth of the market has narrowed since the cash open. Travel & Leisure retains the top spot in what seems to be more a reversal of Friday’s exaggerated underperformance as opposed to a fundamentally driven rebound – with more nations announcing travel restrictions to stem the spread of the variant. Oil & Gas has also trimmed some of Friday’s losses as oil prices see a modest rebound relative to Friday’s slump. On the other end of the spectrum, Healthcare sees mild losses as COVID-related names take a mild breather, although Moderna (+9.1% pre-market) gains ahead of the US open after its Chief Medical Officer suggested a new vaccine for the variant could be ready early next year. Meanwhile, Autos & Parts reside as the current laggard amid several bearish updates, including a Y/Y drop in German car exports – due to the chip shortage and supply bottlenecks – factors which the Daimler Truck CEO suggested will lead to billions of Euros in losses. Furthermore, auto supbt.aplier provider Faurecia (-5.9%) trades at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after slashing guidance – again a function of the chip shortage. In terms of Monday M&A, BT (+4.7%) shares opened higher by almost 10% following source reports in Indian press suggesting Reliance Industries is gearing up for a takeover approach of BT – reports that were subsequently rebuffed.

Top European News

  • U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 67,199 in Oct. Vs. Est. 70,000
  • Johnson Matthey Rises on Report of Battery Talks With Tata
  • Gazprom Reports Record Third-Quarter Profit Amid Gas Surge
  • Omicron’s Spread Fuels Search for Answers as WHO Sounds Warning

In FX, the Buck has bounced from Friday’s pullback lows on a mixture of short covering, consolidation and a somewhat more hopeful prognosis of SA’s new coronavirus strand compared to very early perceptions prompted by reports that the latest mutation would be even worse than the Delta variant. In DXY terms, a base above 96.000 is forming within a 93.366-144 band amidst a rebound in US Treasury yields and re-steepening along the curve following comments from Fed’s Bostic indicating a willingness to back faster QE tapering. Ahead, pending home sales and Dallas Fed business manufacturing along with more Fed rhetoric from Williams and chair Powell on the eve of month end.

  • AUD/CAD/NZD – No surprise to see the high beta and risk sensitive currencies take advantage of the somewhat calmer conditions plus a recovery in crude and other commodities that were decimated by the prospect of depressed demand due to the aforementioned Omicron outbreak. The Aussie is back over 0.7150 vs its US counterpart, the Loonie has pared back losses from sub-1.2750 with assistance from WTI’s recovery to top Usd 72/brl vs a Usd 67.40 trough on November 26 and the Kiwi is hovering above 0.6800 even though RBNZ chief economist Ha has warned that a pause in OCR tightening could occur if the fresh COVID-19 wave proves to be a ‘game-changer’.
  • JPY/EUR – The major laggards as sentiment stabilses, with the Yen midway between 112.99-113.88 parameters and hardly helped by mixed Japanese retail sales data, while the Euro has retreated below 1.1300 where 1.7 bn option expiry interest resides and a key Fib level just under the round number irrespective of strong German state inflation reports and encouraging pan Eurozone sentiment indicators, as more nations batten down the hatches to stem the spread of SA’s virus that has shown up in parts of the bloc.
  • GBP/CHF – Both narrowly divergent vs the Dollar, as Cable retains 1.3300+ status against the backdrop of retreating Gilt and Short Sterling futures even though UK consumer credit, mortgage lending and approvals are rather conflicting, while the Franc pivots 0.9250 and meanders from 1.0426 to 1.0453 against the Euro after the latest weekly update on Swiss bank sight deposits showing no sign of official intervention. However, Usd/Chf may veer towards 1.1 bn option expiries at the 0.9275 strike if risk appetite continues to improve ahead of KoF on Tuesday and monthly reserves data.
  • SCANDI/EM – Although Brent has bounced to the benefit of the Nok, Sek outperformance has ensued in wake of an upgrade to final Swedish Q3 GDP, while the Cnh and Cny are deriving support via a rise in Chinese industrial profits on a y/y basis and the Zar is breathing a sigh of relief on the aforementioned ‘better’ virus updates/assessments from SA on balance. Conversely, the Try is back under pressure post-a deterioration in Turkish economic sentiment vs smaller trade deficit as investors look forward to CPI at the end of the week. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan provides no reprieve for the Lira as he once again defending his unorthodox view that higher interest rates lead to higher inflation.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures consolidate following an overnight rebound – with WTI Jan back on a USD 71/bbl handle and Brent Feb just under USD 75/bbl – albeit still some way off from Friday’s best levels which saw the former’s high above USD 78/bbl and the latter’s best north of USD 81/bbl. The week is packed with risks to the oil complex, including the resumption of Iranian nuclear talks (slated at 13:00GMT/08:00EST today) and the OPEC+ monthly confab. In terms of the former, little is expected in terms of progress unless the US agrees to adhere to Tehran’s demand – which at this point seems unlikely. Tehran continues to seek the removal of US sanctions alongside assurances that the US will not withdraw from the deal. “The assertion that the US must ‘change its approach if it wants progress’ sets a challenging tone”, Citi’s analysts said, and the bank also expects parties to demand full access to Iranian nuclear facilities for verification of compliance. Further, the IAEA Chief met with Iranian officials last week; although concrete progress was sparse, the overall tone of the meeting was one of progress. “We remain of the opinion that additional Iranian supplies are unlikely to reach the market before the second half of 2022 at the earliest,” Citi said. Meanwhile, reports suggested the US and allies have been debating a “Plan B” if talks were to collapse. NBC News – citing European diplomats, former US officials and experts – suggested that options included: 1) a skinny nuclear deal, 2) ramp up sanctions, 3) Launching operations to sabotage Iranian nuclear advances, 4) Military strikes, 5) persuading China to halt Iranian oil imports, albeit Iran and China recently signed a 25yr deal. Over to OPEC+, a rescheduling (in light of the Omicron variant) sees the OPEC and JTC meeting now on the 1st December, followed by the JMMC and OPEC+ on the 2nd. Sources on Friday suggested that members are leaning towards a pause in the planned monthly output, although Russian Deputy PM Novak hit the wires today and suggested there is no need for urgent measures in the oil market. Markets will likely be tested, and expectations massaged with several sources heading into the meeting later this week. Elsewhere, spot gold trades sideways just under the USD 1,800/oz and above a cluster of DMAs, including the 50 (1,790.60/oz), 200 (1,791.30/oz) and 100 (1,792.80/oz) awaiting the next catalyst. Over to base metals, LME copper recoups some of Friday’s lost ground, with traders also citing the underlying demand emanating from the EV revolution.

US Event Calendar

  • 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales YoY, prior -7.2%
  • 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 0.8%, prior -2.3%
  • 10:30am: Nov. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 17.0, prior 14.6

Central Bank speakers:

  • 3pm: Fed’s Williams gives opening remarks at NY Innovation Center
  • 3:05pm: Powell Makes Opening Remarks at New York Fed Innovation Event
  • 3:15pm: Fed’s Hassan moderates panel introducing NY Innovation Center
  • 5:05pm: Fed’s Bowman Discusses Central bank and Indigenous Economies

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Last night Henry in my team put out a Q&A looking at what we know about Omicron (link here) as many risk assets put in their worst performance of the year on Friday after it exploded into view. The main reason for the widespread concern is the incredibly high number of mutations, with 32 on the spike protein specifically, which is the part of the virus that allows it to enter human cells. That’s much more than we’ve seen for previous variants, and raises the prospect it could be a more transmissible version of the virus, although scientists are still assessing this.

South Africa is clearly where it has been discovered (not necessarily originated from) and where it has been spreading most. The fact that’s it’s become the dominant strain there in just two weeks hints at its higher level of contagiousness. However the read through to elsewhere is tough as the country has only fully vaccinated 24% of its population, relative to at least 68% in most of the larger developed countries bar the US which languishes at 58%.

It could still prove less deadly (as virus variants over time mostly are) but if it is more contagious that could offset this and it could still cause similar healthcare issues, especially if vaccines are less protective. On the other hand the South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the unusual symptoms that have now been found to have been caused by Omicron, was on numerous media platforms over the weekend suggesting that the patients she has seen with it were exhausted but generally had mild symptoms. However she also said her patients were from a healthy cohort so we can’t relax too much on this. However as South African cases rise we will get a lot of clues from hospitalisation data even if only 6% of the country is over 65s.

My personal view is that we’ll get a lot of information quite quickly around how bad this variant is. The reports over the weekend that numerous cases of Omicron have already been discovered around the world, suggests it’s probably more widespread than people think already. So we will likely soon learn whether these patients present with more severe illness and we’ll also learn of their vaccination status before any official study is out. The only caveat would be that until elderly patients have been exposed in enough scale we won’t be able to rule out the more negative scenarios.

Before all that the level of restrictions have been significantly ramped up over the weekend in many countries. Henry discusses this in his note but one very significant one is that ALL travellers coming into (or back to) the UK will have to self isolate until they get a negative PCR test. This sort of thing will dramatically reduce travel, especially short business trips. Overnight Japan have effectively banned ALL foreign visitors.

I appreciate its dangerous to be positive on covid at the moment but you only have to look at the UK for signs that boosters are doing a great job. Cases in the elderly population continue to collapse as the roll out progresses well and overall deaths have dropped nearly 20% over the last week to 121 (7-day average) – a tenth of where they were at the peak even though cases have recently been 80-90% of their peak levels. If Europe are just lagging the UK on boosters rather than anything more structural, most countries should be able to control the current wave all things being equal. However Omicron could make things less equal but it would be a huge surprise if vaccines made no impact.

Stocks in Asia are trading cautiously but remember that the US and Europe sold off more aggressively after Asia closed on Friday. So the lack of major damage is insightful. The Nikkei (-0.02%), Shanghai Composite (-0.14%), CSI (-0.22%), KOSPI (-0.47%) and Hang Seng (-0.68%) are only slightly lower.

Treasury yields, oil, and equity futures are all rising in Asia. US treasury yields are up 4-6bps across the curve, Oil is c.+4.5% higher, while the ZAR is +1.31%. Equity futures are trading higher with the S&P 500 (+0.71%) and DAX (+0.84%) futures in the green.

In terms of looking ahead, we may be heading into December this week but there’s still an incredibly eventful period ahead on the market calendar even outside of Omicron. We have payrolls on Friday which could still have a big impact on what the Fed do at their important December 15 FOMC and especially on whether they accelerate the taper. Wednesday (Manufacturing) and Friday (Services) see the latest global PMIs which will as ever be closely watched even if people will suggest that the latest virus surge and now Omicron variant may make it backward looking. Elsewhere in the Euro Area, we’ll get the flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow (France and Italy on the same day with Germany today), and we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell as he testifies (with Mrs Yellen) before congressional committees tomorrow and Wednesday. There’s lots of other Fed speakers this week (ahead of their blackout from this coming weekend) and last week there was a definite shift towards a faster taper bias, even amongst the doves on the committee with Daly being the most important potential convert. Fed speakers this week might though have to balance the emergence of the new variant with the obvious point that without it the Fed is a fair bit behind the curve. Importantly but lurking in the background, Friday is also the US funding deadline before another government shutdown. History would suggest a tense last minute deal but it’s tough to predict.

Recapping last week now and the emergence of the new variant reshaped the whole week even if ahead of this, continued case growth across Europe prompted renewed lockdown measures and travel bans across the continent.

Risk sentiment clearly plummeted on Friday. The S&P 500 fell -2.27%, the biggest drop since October 2020, while the Stoxx 600 fell -3.67%, the biggest one-day decline since the original Covid-induced risk off in March 2020. The S&P 500 was -2.20% lower last week, while the Stoxx 600 was down -4.53% on the week. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -16.1bps, -8.7bps, and -14.5bps, undoing the inflation and policy response-driven selloff from earlier in the week. The drop in 10yr treasury and gilt yields were the biggest one-day declines since the original Covid-driven rally in March 2020, while the drop in bund yields was the largest since April 2020. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields ended the week -7.3bps lower, +0.7bps higher, and -5.4bps lower, respectively.

Measures of inflation compensation declined due to the anticipated hit to global demand, with 10yr breakevens in the US and Germany -6.8bps and -8.8bps lower Friday, along with Brent and WTI futures declining -11.55% and -13.06%, respectively.

Investors pushed back the anticipated timing of rate hikes. As it stands, the first full Fed hike is just about priced for July, and 2 hikes are priced for 2022. This follows a hawkish tone from even the most dovish FOMC members and the November FOMC minutes last week. The prevailing sentiment was the FOMC was preparing to accelerate their asset purchase taper at the December meeting to enable inflation-fighting rate hikes earlier in 2022. Understanding the impact of the new variant will be crucial for interpreting the Fed’s reaction function, though. The impact may not be so obvious; while a new variant would certainly hurt global demand and portend more policy accommodation, it will also likely prompt more virus-avoiding behaviour in the labour market, preventing workers from returning to pre-Covid levels. Whether the Fed decides to accommodate these sidelined workers for longer, or to re-think what constitutes full employment in a Covid world should inform your view on whether they accelerate tapering in December.

It feels like a lifetime ago but last week also saw President Biden nominate Chair Powell to head the Fed for another term, and for Governor Brainard to serve as Vice Chair. The announcement led to a selloff in rates as the more dovish Brainard did not land the head job.

In Germany, the center-left SPD, Greens, and liberal FDP agreed to a full coalition deal. The traffic-light coalition agreed to restore the debt break in 2023, after being suspended during the pandemic, and to raise the minimum wage to €12 per hour. The SPD’s Olaf Scholz will assume the Chancellorship.

The US, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and UK announced releases of strategic petroleum reserves. Oil prices were higher following the announcement, in part because releases were smaller than anticipated but, as mentioned, prices dropped precipitously on Friday on the global demand impact of the new Covid variant.

The ECB released the minutes of the October Governing Council meeting, where officials stressed the need to maintain optionality in their policy setting. They acknowledged growing upside risks to inflation but stressed the importance of not overreacting in setting policy as they see how inflation scenarios might unfold.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 11/29/2021 – 08:01

Author: Tyler Durden


GSP continues to explore past-producing Alwin Mine, as copper price support remains solid

Copper has been one of the biggest winners of the commodities complex since 2020.
Not only is the tawny-colored industrial metal an essential…

GSP continues to explore past-producing Alwin Mine, as copper price support remains solid


Copper has been one of the biggest winners of the commodities complex since 2020.

Not only is the tawny-colored industrial metal an essential part of economic growth, it is also imperative to the global transition towards sustainable energy sources.

Because electric vehicle are copper intensive (in fact tdhey use 4x as much copper as a regular vehicle), demand for copper has risen at an unprecedented pace with no signs of slowing down.

Wind and solar energy systems have the highest copper content of all renewable energy technologies, making the metal even more important in achieving climate goals.

Driven by robust industrial demand, copper prices surged to an all-time high of $4.77/lb in May of 2021. Compared to its trough of $1.94/lb in early 2016, this represents a 150% rally within a span of five years.

Source: Kitco

A report by Goehring & Rozencwajg, which specializes in natural resource investments, points out that recommendations on copper investments have focused primarily on bullish demand trends; the supply side of the equation also must be factored in.

The primary concern lies in the inevitable depletion of existing copper mines — a problem that has been brewing for over a decade.

A dearth of new copper discoveries and capital spending on mine development in recent years means that once an existing mine becomes exhausted, its output may not be replaced in time to meet the growing demand.

Moreover, since 2000, most reserve additions have come from simply lowering the cut-off grade and mining lower-quality ore as prices moved higher (e.g. Chile’s Escondida copper deposit), a practice that may not be feasible for geological reasons in the upcoming cycle, as Goehring & Rozencwajg argues.

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

Although there will be new projects coming online around the globe (DRC, Panama and Mongolia), these will only offset depletion at other existing mines, leading to stagnant overall mine supply growth.

Acuity Knowledge Partners, formerly part of Moody’s Corp., is predicting a widening demand-supply gap that could reach as high as 8.2 million tonnes by 2030.

For this reason, exploration companies holding high-quality copper assets will appeal to investors.

GSP Resource Corp.

One copper junior to recently catch the attention of AOTH, is GSP Resource Corp. (TSXV:GSPR, FRA:0YD). Vancouver-based and British Columbia-focused, the company’s flagship is the Alwin Mine Project located 18 km from the town of Logan Lake. The past-producing mine is southwest of the New Afton and Ajax mines, and less than a kilometer away from the Highland Valley Mine.

GSP was formed in 2018 with the goal of finding copper-gold-silver assets in southwestern BC. Management prefers the area’s three-season climate to the Golden Triangle of northwestern BC, which gets a lot of snow and therefore has a limited exploration window, roughly May to October. The company has an option to acquire a 100% interest in the past-producing Alwin copper mine, located in BC’s Highland Valley copper camp.

Alwin Mine Project

The Alwin Mine Project is 18 km from the town of Logan Lake, southwest of the New Afton and Ajax mines, and less than a kilometer from the Highland Valley copper mine owned and operated by Teck Resource Corp.

Alwin Mine Project location map

Small-scale mining was conducted at the Alwin Mine in the early 1900s, with modern exploration and mining occurring in two periods, from 1967 to 1982 and from 2005 to 2008. In all about 36,000 meters of historical drilling has been completed. 

The first copper occurrence discovered in the Highland Valley was the Ashcroft glory hole, an outcropping copper deposit that saw limited mining during the First World War, then lay dormant until the 1960s when it was explored on a larger scale.

From 1967 to 1970, 6,940m of surface diamond drilling in 81 holes was drilled along the main Alwin mineralized trend, and 5,860m of underground drilling in 119 holes was completed in 1,400m of mine workings.

In 1980, Dekalb Mining Corp. expanded the capacity of the mill to 700 tons per day and resumed mining of the Alwin trend. Total production was 155,000 tonnes grading 1.54% Cu. Mining was suspended in 1981 due to low copper prices. At the conclusion of mining, a trackless development decline was extended to a depth of 270m and 3,935m of drilling was completed in 76 underground holes. Dekalb calculated a resource of 390,000 tonnes grading an average of 2.5% Cu, after factoring for 25% dilution. No cut-off grade was reported.

This historical resource is not National Instrument 43-101-compliant and therefore GSP is not relying on it for accuracy; more drilling needs to be done to bring the resource up to modern reporting standards.

An important aspect of the GSP story, is the fact that previous underground operators were focused on the high-grade copper mineralization — a series of deep and narrow replacement deposits. At a 1.5% cut-off grade with copper being less then a dollar a pound, and getting as low as US$0.56, the mine was never considered from a bulk tonnage, open-pit perspective. Ironic, considering that is precisely what the Highland Valley has become known for, with five large pits developed over the past 60 years including Teck’s Highland Valley open-cast copper-molybdenum operation.

Developed to a depth of 300 meters, the Alwin Mine produced over 233,000 tonnes from five zones between 1916 and 1981. It milled 3,786 tonnes of copper, 2,729 kilograms (87,739 oz) of silver and 42.6 kg (1,369 oz) of gold.

Fast forward to today, when the economics of copper mining are completely different, with copper currently trading at $4.53 a pound compared to a ballpark average 68 cents during the 1960s and early 1980s. The much higher copper price now makes the lower-grade areas of the Alwin Mine project more interesting if they can be developed into an open-pit mine.

GSP management believes there is a low-grade halo of mineralization north and south of an east-west trending structure, that could be bulk-tonnage and open-pittable.

A lot of historical drilling has been done at the Alwin Mine, however most of it was underground with short, tightly-spaced holes targeting the high-grade material. Not much was drilled from surface around the edges of the mine.

GSP decided to investigate what would happen if they stepped back from the east-west trending structure the mine sits on, at first pointing the drill south to north.

Drilling in 2020 from the southern property boundary towards the mine, GSP hit numerous low-grade halo structures that proved to be in excess of the Highland Valley pit’s 0.28% CuEq mining head grade. A side note: the Alwin property is so close to Highland Valley that when you stand on it you can see, hear and feel the mining trucks rolling “next door”.

The best intercept from the 10-hole 2020 drill program returned 62 meters at 0.3% copper equivalent (CuEq), “with some very high grades of silver in the guts of the high-grade zone,” CEO Simon Dyakowski told me.

2021 exploration

GSP has completed its 2021 drill program and all indications point to a porphyry-style copper system similar to the mineralization found at Highland Valley.

Last fall, a three-hole program was designed to further test the bulk grade of the Alwin deposit and surrounding lower-grade rock with the drill holes collared from the north of the historical deposit. Assay results are expected in the first quarter.

According to GSP, most of the alteration and mineralization observed in the upper and lower portions in all deeper drill holes intersecting rock greater than 20 meters from the shell of the Alwin deposit have copper porphyry-style characteristics similar to that seen nearby in the Highland Valley camp.

Together with last summer’s drilling, GSP’s 2021 eight-hole program totaled 2,313 meters, testing the bulk-tonnage copper potential of unmined mineralization within and surrounding the historical Alwin Mine. (4,200 meters and 18 holes in the past two seasons)

Highlights included 3.5% copper, 2.4% gold and 39.6% silver over 6.4m (4.66% CuEq) and 2.71% CuEq over 35.5m.

Bulk tonnage grade highlights were 0.61% CuEq over 164.6m, 0.14% CuEq over 176.7m, and 0.21% CuEq over 229.7m including a higher-grade 0.28% CuEq over 158.5m and 0.48% CuEq over 79.3m.

Among other milestones achieved last year, GSP obtained an important five-year exploration permit, and completed a 3D digital model of the Alwin Mine’s workings and drill data.

The model includes all known underground workings, separated into drift and declines, raises, cement-filled, rock-filled and open stopes and the numerous unmined copper-silver and copper-gold mineralized portions of the 425-meter long by 275m-deep by 150m-wide zone.

The permit allows GSP to carry out exploration activities including drilling, trenching and IP lines, for five years.

Also in 2021, GSP optioned 60% of its its Olivine Mountain Project located southeast of Alwin and about 25 km northwest of the producing Copper Mountain mine, to Full Metal Minerals. Exploration programs will be operated by GSP until the option agreement is completed, including a sampling program that started in September with results pending.

To fund current and upcoming activities, the company closed a $455,000 oversubscribed financing back in August.

“Work at Alwin to date continues to support the reimagining of the Alwin Mine from a high-grade underground operation to a potential shallow, bulk tonnage open-pittable deposit model,” Dyakowski stated in the Jan. 19 news release.

2021 drilling plan

So far GSP’s plan is working. Mineralization has been identified in deep (>300m) holes more than 20 meters from the mine, which appears to verify GSP’s geological model of a low-grade halo of mineralization north and south of the east-west trending structure.

“We’re starting to be able to envision a sizeable amount of material as bulk tonnage,” says Dyakowski.

But the really exciting part of the project concerns the type of mineralization GSP could be looking at.

During 2021 drilling a new mineralized zone was discovered from hole AM21-02, shown as a dotted red circle on the above map. Previous drilling didn’t go very deep, but hole 2 of the 2021 program was completed to a depth of 367m. Near the end of the hole, the rock was found to be increasing in alteration. From 338m to 351m, the exploration team intersected what GSP describes as “an intensely mesothermal to epithermal clay style altered shear hosting dilational quartz vein fragments hosting coarse-grained pyrite and chalcopyrite.”

In plain English? This is evidence of a porphyry. Dyakowski explains:

“We punched through a lot of pyrite right in the area of a geophysical anomaly so we think that might be the top of an unknown porphyry. That’s something we’re going to save for next spring when we have a whole season of deeper drilling, but one of the main theories on Alwin is it is a skarn replacement system that’s associated with a larger porphyry.”

A porphyry deposit is formed when a block of molten-rock magma cools. The cooling leads to a separation of dissolved metals into distinct zones, resulting in rich deposits of copper, molybdenum, gold, tin, zinc and lead.

Porphyry deposits are usually low-grade but large and bulk-mineable, economics of scale come into play making them attractive targets for mineral explorers. Porphyry orebodies typically contain between 0.4 and 1% copper, with smaller amounts of other metals such as gold, molybdenum and silver.

In Canada, British Columbia enjoys the lion’s share of porphyry copper/ gold mineralization. These deposits contain the largest resources of copper, significant molybdenum and 50% of the gold in the province. Examples include big copper-gold and copper-molybdenum porphyries, such as Red Chris and Highland Valley.  

GSP believes the mineralization it is encountering is part of the Highland Valley hydrothermal system associated with the Highland Valley copper mine, which has been operating for 50-plus years. Owner Teck Resources is planning an expansion that would extend the mine life to 2040.

A word of caution. GSP doesn’t yet know whether, a/ If what was found in hole 2 means it has hit a porphyry. More drilling is required to bolster this case. And b/ If it is indeed a porphyry system, is it a porphyry unique to the Alwin mine, or is it an extension of Teck Resources’ next-door Highland Valley copper-moly porphyry? An interesting fact to note here is Teck Resources has a copper-moly porphyry, GSP has been assaying a lot of gold and silver, the highest grades drilled yet to date in the Valley.

We do know that Teck is planning on expanding its mine and that there is a network of roads and drill pads to the west of the pit edge, as shown on the map below.

Teck’s Highland Valley property in relation to Alwin

We learned from a local media source that the company is planning on extending the mine life to 2040 from its original closure date of 2027. The company is looking to expand the footprint by 800 hectares and would build out the Highmont pits and waste rock dumps. Teck has reportedly applied for permits needed to expand the more than 50-year-old operation. If approved, there would be a projected 25% increase in production, with construction starting in the first quarter of 2023.

How does the expansion affect GSP? Well again, it depends on whether the potential porphyry is its own, or an extension of Highland Valley’s. If GSP ends up discovering a new porphyry next to Highland Valley’s deposit, it may open up the possibility of a partnership with Teck, which could use ore from the Alwin mine as mill feed for its own operation, maybe even expanding it beyond 2040.

Dyakowski says he’s confident “we’ve got more than enough space to develop our own open-pit deposit and potentially look at a block cave just on our ground, but it does beg the question what is just over the line to the south and to the east, given that they are planning to mine there.”

GSP has other options besides partnering with the Canadian mining major. Only 45 minutes drive away on a paved highway is Nicola Mining’s fully permitted mill which is open to contract milling. Another potential partner is New Gold, which operates the New Afton Mine to the northeast. Gold Mountain Mining, focused on re-opening the Elk Mine about 57 km from Merritt, has been trucking their ore to New Afton for processing, suggesting that GSP could do the same with its ore from Alwin. 

“Alwin couldn’t be in a better location from a development perspective,” says Dyakowski, “it’s very much a brownfields development in all directions.”

2022 plans

This year at the Alwin Mine Project, GSP will focus on incorporating new drilling data into the geological model, and updated the Alwin Mine 3D model. Management is planning a substantial infill drill program to support a future resource estimate, as well as seeking additional exploration targets.

At Olivine Mountain, there will be a partner-funded project review and sampling program, including at Hop, a copper-gold porphyry target.

In its shareholder update, the company says it is continually evaluating new opportunities to add value, through acquiring and developing projects with a southwestern BC focus.


At AOTH we are very encouraged by what we are seeing from GSP at its Alwin Mine Project.

Alwin has always been thought of as a high-grade underground mine and for good reason. During it last phase of production, 1916 to 1981, copper was a fraction of the >$4.00 per pound it is worth today, making any low-grade material surrounding the mine un-economic. Times have changed and the low-grade halo that appears to be north and south of the mine might, at +$4 copper, be a stand alone bulk-mined open-pit.

Clearly that is GSP’s intention and the company, imo, appears to be well on its way to proving the model. Between 2020 and 2021 drilling, they have come up with what we consider to be a significant amount of mineralization.

The last three holes drilled in the fall are vectoring north-south toward the mine, rather than the previous south-north drilling. GSP describes most of the alteration and mineralization observed in the upper and lower portions of these holes as having “copper porphyry-style characteristics similar to that seen nearby in the Highland Valley camp.”

We are eager to see the assays — they are expected to be available in Q1 — and what GSP is planning next at Alwin, once they have boots back on the ground in the spring.

GSP Resource Corp.
Cdn$0.18, 2022.01.20
Shares Outstanding 20.2m
Market cap Cdn$3.6m
GSPR website  

Richard (Rick) Mills
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Dolly Varden has 21 drill holes left to report, as gold, silver and copper prices bounce

Predominantly a silver explorer, Dolly Varden Silver’s (TSXV:DV, OTC:DOLLF) flagship project is located in the southern part of British Columbia’s…

Dolly Varden has 21 drill holes left to report, as gold, silver and copper prices bounce


Predominantly a silver explorer, Dolly Varden Silver’s (TSXV:DV, OTC:DOLLF) flagship project is located in the southern part of British Columbia’s Golden Triangle, an area well-known for its base and precious metals deposits.

The property hosts four historically active mines — Dolly Varden, Torbrit, North Star and Wolf — all have parts that remain unexplored to this day. More than 20 million ounces of high-grade silver have been produced from these deposits between 1919 and 1959.

Dolly Varden’s project lies to the west of Hecla Mining’s Kinskuch Project. It also borders Fury Gold Mines’ Homestake Ridge, which it acquired late last year to consolidate what it considers to be an emerging silver-gold district.

The consolidated project, named Kitsault Valley, is now among the largest, high-grade, undeveloped precious metal assets in Western Canada, with a combined mineral resource base of 34.7Moz silver and 166,000 oz gold in the indicated category.

Regional exploration and reconnaissance drilling also led to the identification of a large new porphyry copper-gold system that may be related to others in the Golden Triangle such as KSM, Treaty Creek, Saddle, Red Chris and Snowfield.

In December DV announced encouraging results from last year’s regional exploration and reconnaissance drilling on its 100% owned Dolly Varden project, which is host to two past-producing silver mines (Dolly Varden and Torbrit) and two other historically active mines (North Star and Wolf).

Encompassing 10 holes testing five regional exploration targets, the drill results demonstrated “excellent exploration and resource expansion potential on the property,” DV stated in the Dec. 10, 2021 news release.

Results are pending for the 21 holes drilled near Dolly Varden’s existing resource.

Dolly Varden Project

The Dolly Varden silver project comprises 8,800 hectares (88 sq km) in the Stewart Complex of northwestern BC, which is known to host base and precious metals deposits.

Dolly Varden project map

Mining activity dates back to 1910, when the original Dolly Varden Mine was discovered by Scandinavian prospectors.

In its early days, it was among the richest silver mines in the British Empire. The other deposit in the area to see production later was Torbrit, which, at one time, was the third-largest silver producer in Canada.

Historical records show these two deposits together have produced more than 20 million ounces of high-grade silver between 1919-1959, with assays as high as 2,200 oz (over 72 kg) per tonne.

Production subsequently ceased due to low silver prices, and the assembled property was eventually acquired by DV with a view to re-awakening the historical silver mine.

An updated NI 43-101 resource estimate completed by the company in 2019 revealed 32.9Moz silver in indicated resources and 11.477Moz inferred, for a total of 44Moz Ag, all adjacent to the historical deposits.

Dolly Varden project map

Drilling and underground work that went into the resource estimation confirmed that the mineralization occurs as two styles.

The first is VMS (volcanogenic massive sulfides) similar to that mined at Eskay Creek to the north. Once the highest-grade gold mine in the world, Eskay Creek produced 3.3Moz gold and 160Moz silver at average grades of 45/g/t Au and 2,224 g/t Ag respectively between 1994 and 2008.

The second is cross-cutting epithermal mineralization similar to that being developed at Pretium’s Valley of the Kings deposit (Brucejack Mine).

The southern part of the Golden Triangle is the least explored of all. Only 3% of Dolly Varden’s property has been explored in detail up until now, leaving plenty of potential discovery upside.

According to DV, both the Eskay Creek and Valley of the Kings deposits are located on the same structural trend to the north of the company’s ground. So, it is possible that Dolly Varden represents the southern end of a large silver district that extends northward.

To prove this, the company completed 40 drill holes (11,397m) in 2020, 19 of which were in the Torbrit area. The rest were reconnaissance and exploration drill holes, testing multiple areas on the property.

Highlights included 310 g/t over 6m, a stand-out 304 g/t over 45.82m, and 306 g/t over 5.10m. Higher-grade core within those intercepts featured 648 g/t over 6.06m, 1,595 g/t over 1.06m, and 1,290 g/t over 0.6m.

2021 drill results

Last summer, the company kicked off a surface diamond drill program on the Dolly Varden property. A total of 31 drill holes (10,506m) were completed during the 2021 field season.

This drill program was part of an aggressive two-year campaign to infill and expand the high-grade silver resource at the Torbrit deposit, and to test multiple highly prospective targets throughout the property.

The drill results encompassed 10 holes that tested five regional exploration targets on the property, including the Wolf Vein extension and Western Gold-Copper belt.

Drill hole location map

The highlight was drill hole DV21-273, which tested the southwest projection of the Wolf Vein, 94m down plunge from the current mineral resource at the Wolf deposit.

This hole intersected 1,532 g/t Ag, 0.44 g/t Au, 2.11 % Pb and 1.07% Zn over 1.22m, within a brecciated sulfide-rich quartz vein hosted within a broader pyrite stockwork breccia zone of 17.50m averaging 214 g/t Ag and 0.47% Pb.

The current resource estimate for Wolf is 3.83 million ounces of silver at 296 g/t in the indicated category. The deposit is located approximately 2 km northwest of the Torbrit deposit, which hosts most of Dolly Varden’s resources at 25 million ounces of silver indicated and 10.5 million ounces inferred.

Wolf Vein DV21-273 section, looking northeast

Hole DV21-273 is also significant as it tested the prospective Hazelton volcanic rock that underlies the sedimentary units of the Upper Hazelton for the Wolf Vein extension.

Discovering that the strong potassic alteration associated with silver mineralization within the volcanogenic Torbrit deposit continues beneath the sediment suggests that the mineralizing system continues to the west of the 4.5 km long surface anomaly.

According to DV, this opens up the exploration potential of the entire bottom of the Kitsault Valley north of Wolf towards the property boundary and onto the Homestake Ridge property, which the company recently acquired from Fury Gold Mines.

Dolly Varden and adjacent properties, including Homestake Ridge to the north.

Wolf is the northernmost deposit found at the Dolly Varden project. Modeling of the epithermal vein style deposit indicates a stepped vein system, offset by steep faults. The hanging wall has a strong barium signature and the veins contain barite and quartz. There are underground drifts at Wolf, but no historical production was reported.

Drilling at other silver prospects also returned promising results. At the Syndicate target, a near-surface vein in hole DV21-270 returned 126 g/t Ag and 1.31 g/t Au over 1.10m.

Hole DV21-272 was drilled to test the potassic alteration zone at Silver Horde, located approximately 900m north of Wolf. The structure returned 9.0m averaging 126.7 g/t Ag within the volcanic host.

In other exploration drilling, DV’s technical team is encouraged by long intervals of stockwork quartz with strongly anomalous gold (>100 ppb) over wide intervals (up to 303m) along with silver and copper at the Western Gold Belt area.

Hosted within early Jurassic volcanic rocks, this style of stockwork and alteration is analogous to numerous gold-copper deposits and mines found throughout BC’s Golden Triangle. These include KSM, Treaty Creek, Saddle, Red Chris and Snowfield.

Such a finding could be a game changer for DV, given it was previously positioned as a pure silver-focused explorer sitting on a high-grade, potentially bulk-mineable resource.

The Western Gold Belt is located on the west side of the Kitsault Valley and trends from near the Dolly Varden Mine northward for several kilometers towards Homestake Ridge.

According to DV chief executive Shawn Khunkhun, the strong porphyry-related gold-copper-silver indicators is perhaps the most significant exploration breakthrough on the property in years.

Therefore, the next phase of exploration drilling will prioritize connecting the historical mines and current deposits of the Dolly Varden trend with the deposits at Homestake 5.4 km to the northwest along the Kitsault Valley trend.

Of course, the high-grade silver intercept at Wolf is also significant, as it confirmed Dolly Varden’s resource expansion potential. Assays are pending for the 21 holes completed at the high-grade Torbrit and Kitsol Silver deposits.

The three metals Dolly Varden is exploring for, have all been posting gains of late. Gold and silver both rallied this week, as investors parked money in safe-haven metals on fears of inflation and geopolitical tensions, ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting Jan. 25-26. Gold gained $30, Wednesday, and silver climbed 3%. Copper rose for a third session on Friday, breaking above 10,000 a ton as investors fled a sliding stock market and sought protection against rising inflation, Reuters said.

Gold market update

As Kitco News noted, gold’s move up coincided with the Biden administration’s announcing $200 million in military aid to Ukraine, citing fears of a Russian invasion.

“And this follows on with reports over the weekend that the UK was providing military assistance to Ukraine. It’s just like a perfect mix here for gold prices in the very short term,” DailyFX senior strategist Christopher Vecchio told the precious news outlet.

Higher inflation numbers are adding to risk-off sentiment in the market, which is already pricing in rate hikes and the possibility of central banks making a mistake while tightening.

OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam believes that traders are inflation-hedging because they don’t think central banks are doing enough to bring prices down.

The US Federal Reserve, whose job is to keep unemployment in check and inflation (the Federal Funds Rate) in the “Goldilocks” zone of 2%, is telegraphing three interest rate increases of 0.25% each (1% at the high end of the range) this year.

The US Labor Department said that its Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 0.2% from November to December, bringing producer prices to a record-high 9.7%, the biggest calendar-year increase since data was first calculated in 2010.

The same report said US consumer prices increased solidly in December, led by gains in rental accommodation and used cars, culminating in the largest annual inflation rise in 40 years. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) surged 7% in the 12 months through December, which is the biggest year on year increase since 1982.

US inflation rate (CPI)

As we have argued, the Fed (and the Treasury) is between a rock and a hard place, the Fed can’t raise rates enough to combat high inflation because doing so will wreck the economy, and imo, the Treasury will soon struggle to find enough buyers for US government bonds because the real yields are so low, currently in all cases negative.

This practically guarantees the continuation of Fed bond buying (QE) despite the much-ballyhooed taper. As for raising rates, we proved that the Fed can’t do it, at least not at the levels required to beat current inflation, which even if covid-related supply chain issues get solved, leaves another 3-4% to deal with. (higher prices will, imo, stay with us for a long time due to persistent food inflation, wage/ salary increases due to a shortage of workers, a ragged energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables that has led to high natural gas prices, and climate change which has a negative effect on crops)

Then there is the debt problem. We’ve written extensively about the dangers of the mounting US debt load. Gold correlates strongly to rising debt to GDP ratios. The US’s debt to GDP currently sits at 127.3%.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) — both reliable sources — project a deficit of $1.3T in 2022, and every year until 2031. This severely constrains the Fed’s policy options.

Each interest rate rise means the federal government must spend more on interest, reflected in the annual budget deficit, which keeps getting added to the national debt, which is almost $30 trillion. We are talking about interest costs nearing a trillion dollars per year, when the deficit is accounted for. 

Furthermore, the incentive for buying a US Treasury bill or bond is gone, the buyer’s purchasing power eroded by inflation.

The current Federal Funds Rate is .08%, but CPI inflation is 7%, giving a real (after inflation) Effective Federal Funds Rate (EFFR) of -6.94%. This is the most negative EFFR since 1954. The 10-year yield, which pays better interest, is -5.3% in real terms.

Negative real interest rates, as most gold investors are aware, are a strong buy signal for bullion.

The fact is nobody is going to want to buy US debt at 7% inflation. The Fed will continue to print money, buy bonds and keep interest rates below 1% for as long as it can — probably hoping that inflation will magically melt away — all of which is extremely positive for gold.

Silver market  update

The Silver Institute predicted that global silver demand will rise to 1.029 billion ounces in 2021, up 15% from 2020 and exceeding a billion ounces for the first time since 2015.

In a November report, SI said every area of silver demand was forecast to rise in 2021, including a record amount of industrial demand despite ongoing supply issues.

“The recovery in silver industrial demand from the pandemic will see this segment achieve a new high of 524 million ounces (Moz). In terms of some of the key segments, we estimate that photovoltaic demand will rise by 13% to over 110Moz, a new high and highlighting silver’s key role in the green economy,” states a press release that accompanied the Silver Institute’s Interim Silver Market Review webcast.

Demand for silver used in brazing and solder is expected to improve by 10%, aided by a recovery in housing and construction.

Silver bars and coins will continue to hold investors’ interest, with the Silver Institute predicting that physical investment in 2021 will increase by 32% to 64Moz, pushing the year-on-year total to a six-year high of 263Moz. US bar and coin demand is expected to surpass 100Moz for the first time since 2015, while in India, physical investment in silver is expected to recover from last year’s collapse, and surge three-fold.

A major source of silver investment demand, exchange traded products, are forecast to see total holdings rise by 150Moz. Last January to November, silver ETP holdings increased by 83Moz, bringing the global total to 1.15Boz, within a whisker of 2020’s record-high 1.21Boz.

The supply picture for silver is especially interesting.

According to SI, “In 2021 mined silver production is expected to rise by 6% year-on-year to 829 Moz. This recovery is largely the result of most mines being able to operate at full production rates throughout the year following enforced stoppages in 2020 due to the pandemic.”

“Overall, the silver market is expected to record a physical deficit in 2021, albeit modestly. At 7Moz, this will mark the first deficit since 2015.”

Silver demand is only likely to strengthen, given its use in solder, solar panels, 5G, EVs, and printed and flexible electronics — not to mention steady investment demand in the form of physical silver (bars & coins) and silver-backed ETFs.

Remember, less than 30% of silver production comes from primary silver mines, with over half sourced from lead-zinc operations, and copper mines, meaning that silver’s fortunes are tied to other industrial metals.

The prices of zinc, lead and copper have all done quite well, rising a respective 37%, 16% and 24% from a year ago.

Source: Kitco

Copper market update

Copper is coming off a historic year during which prices broke records on not just one, but two, separate occasions, hitting $4.76/lb in mid-October after peaking in May.

Source: Kitco

During the first half of 2021, copper rallied off the back of a sharp recovery in economic activity across the world, led by top consumer China. Also pushing prices higher was the belief that pandemic-related stimulus, plus the global push for decarbonization, will further lift demand for the industrial metal.

That saw copper prices break the $10,000/t level towards the end of April, the first time that has happened in a decade, and eventually surged to a new high the week after.

Then in the second half, copper received yet another boost amid an energy crisis that affected several major producers and threatened global supply. In October, a surge in metal orders from warehouses in Europe saw LME inventories plunge by as much as 89%, to their lowest in 47 years.

All these events factored into copper’s record-breaking year, though many believe that the red metal is just getting started. Click to read AOTHs in-depth copper market analysis;

In two decades, copper producers must, at the minimum, double the current production of 20Mt to have a chance of coming close to meeting demand. This equates to one new Escondida mine (1Mt annual production) every year for the next 20 years!

While such a feat is difficult to achieve, finding the right investments in projects leading to copper discoveries would help to close the supply gap. According to CRU, the copper industry needs to spend upwards of $100 billion to erase what it estimates to be a 4.7Mt deficit by 2030.

We aren’t the only ones feeling bullish on copper. Goldman Sachs is reportedly forecasting copper will, on average, reach $5.39 in 2022 and $5.44 in 2023. The investment bank said it expects “extreme deficits” coming as soon as mid-decade, due to a lack of new development commitments, combined with accelerating growth in green demand.

“To solve the long-term supply gap copper faces, we would need to see close to 40 new average-sized copper mine projects being approved,” LiveWire quoted Goldman saying. “And as we all know, bringing forward a new mine of any description is getting harder to achieve in a timely fashion.” Indeed in some jurisdictions, getting from discovery to resource definition to commercial production, can take upwards of 20 years.


Snow may have blanketed the Golden Triangle of northwestern British Columbia, putting a temporary halt on all mineral exploration activities, but there is still plenty of news to come out of Dolly Varden’s namesake project. Assays are pending for the 21 holes completed at the high-grade Torbrit and Kitsol Silver deposits.

In the spring, when DV returns to the property with boots on the ground, we expect to see continued investigation of the Dolly Varden project targets, including the Wolf Vein extension and Western Gold-Copper belt.

Also likely to be a priority is the connection between the historical mines/ current deposits of the Dolly Varden trend, and the deposits at Homestake Ridge 5.4 km to the northwest along the Kitsault Valley trend.

Readers stay tuned; this is a company we’ll be watching closely.

Dolly Varden Silver Corp.
Cdn$0.75, 2022.12.21
Shares Outstanding 130.6m
Market cap Cdn$98.1m
DV website

Richard (Rick) Mills
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Author: Gail Mills

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Oil Traders Will “Break The Fed” And “Make Jerome Powell Cry Uncle”

Oil Traders Will "Break The Fed" And "Make Jerome Powell Cry Uncle"

Submitted by QTR’s Fringe Finance

This is Part 2 of an interview with…

Oil Traders Will “Break The Fed” And “Make Jerome Powell Cry Uncle”

Submitted by QTR’s Fringe Finance

This is Part 2 of an interview with Harris Kupperman, founder of Praetorian Capital, a hedge fund focused on using macro trends to guide stock selection. Mr. Kupperman is also the chief adventurer at Adventures in Capitalism, a website that details his investments and travels.

Part 1 of this interview will be found here.

Harris is one of my favorite Twitter follows and I find his opinions – especially on macro and commodities – to be extremely resourceful. I’m certain my readers will find the same. I was excited to get the chance to ask him about anything I wanted, which I did last week.

Q; What one sector of the equities market would you dive into now if you had to pick only one – and why?

It’s not an equity, but if there was one asset to focus on, it would be long-dated OTM oil futures options. They’re the purest way to get long inflation and they’re mispriced compared to the potential upside. All sorts of right-tail assets seem mispriced, but the IV on oil futures options seem particularly mispriced as it is so cheap compared to the parabolic upside potential.

In terms of equities themselves, I think offshore oil services are about to really inflect.

With Brent at $86, demand for offshore production will come back in a major way. Especially because many Western governments are making it so painful to explore and produce oil domestically. As a result, the incremental supply will come from places that need the oil revenue—much of this will be offshore.

Meanwhile, much of this offshore equipment trades at tiny fractions of replacement cost. At the top of the cycle, these companies often trade for a few times replacement cost. I think we’re about to a surprising move in the price of oil, and these equities are the fulcrum security in the oil sector—but since most have restructured in bankruptcy, they have clean balance sheets and minimal risk if I’m wrong and the sector doesn’t inflect.

Oil is about to surprise people—offshore hasn’t moved yet. That’s where I’d be focusing my time, but buying the 2025, $100 strike oil call just seems like a more elegant way to play this with a lot less operational risk and a whole lot greater upside potential.  

What’s your broader view on markets in 2022? Will they stabilize? Full on crash? Rotation from growth to value?

I think the market will have a lot of volatility, but sort of go nowhere. Instead, I expect a huge sector rotation from Ponzi and high-multiple growth to industrials and commodities.

A lot of these “old economy” businesses trade at low single-digit multiples on cash flow and fractions of replacement cost. They’ve been ignored for years, they’ve cut costs, consolidated and not invested much in capacity. We’re at the part of the cycle where they finally earn huge returns. That’s where you want to be.

Meanwhile, as the Fed raises rates and tightens liquidity, the high-multiple stuff will get bludgeoned. It’s amazing how many multi-billion market cap stocks are down 75% from the highs last year, yet they still seem ludicrously expensive. This will eventually get corrected and corrected with a lot more pain.

What fiat currencies do you prefer to own, assuming you have to own one? And why?

I think crypto has had its bubble. It now needs to consolidate. There’s far too much speculative interest for me. I sold out of my Bitcoin last spring for a 6x from where I bought it in 2020.

Longer term, I’m quite partial to Monero and own a few. It’s what everyone thinks Bitcoin is, while Bitcoin is actually something VERY different. The privacy aspect, along with negligible transaction costs will make Monero viable. It’s out of consensus, but adoption continues to accelerate. During the coming wash-out in risk assets, I intend to pick up some more Monero.

Is the Fed still firmly in control of the bond market. Is there any chance “bond vigilantes” take over at some point?

Oil traders are the new bond vigilantes. They’ll be the ones that break the Fed and force JPOW to cry uncle. The Fed hasn’t lost control yet, but when oil breaks $100, they’ll go into panic mode.

I worry that they’ll eventually crush everything with a CUSIP while trying to stop oil from going parabolic. Naturally, they’ll fail at this because they have little to do with the price of oil, but that won’t stop them from trying.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your investing career that you want to pass on and think is important in 2022?

Leverage is dangerous. We’re entering a much more volatile period. I think the overall market will continue going much higher because they’ll keep stimulating, but there will be periods where they panic and stop stimulating.

Equities can literally trade at any price. Make sure that on these sharp and steep pullbacks, you aren’t the one forced to sell at the lows. Instead, you want to be the one who buys when others get margin calls. Play with less leverage, keep extra liquidity and expect that there will be huge opportunities coming up.

What’s your outlook on how the world thinks about Covid in the coming year?

Covid is a bad cold that has evolved into a mental disorder. You really need to separate the two. Left alone, Covid the virus will evolve to be less dangerous to humans. Unfortunately, governments like to tinker and convince voters that they’re doing something useful. Vaccinating a huge percentage of the population, with multiple boosters, is likely to change how the virus would naturally evolve. We’re already seeing this with Omicron.

The triple vax’d are more susceptible than the double vax’d, and the unvax’d are almost immune to it. This is an adjusted evolutionary path and governments should be terrified of the data. This is a warning that is getting ignored. Most scientists have always known that vaccinating against a coronavirus is a mistake—it’s the reason that they don’t vaccinate livestock against coronaviruses.

They’ve already tried that and know it doesn’t work, with the added risk that the virus can evolve to be more dangerous. What we should have done is gone for herd immunity, protected the at-risk, and gotten on with life.

Unfortunately, Covid has evolved into this mental disorder where people walk around with cloth diapers on their faces and scrub their hands with alcohol all day. There’s this whole neurosis to it, with people lecturing others on if they’re going through the motions correctly.

Governments have been quick to realize that a large portion of the population is mentally unstable and easily manipulated. They’ve prayed upon this to gain power and tell these people that their mental disorder is now normal.

Eventually, most people will get bored of role-playing “pandemic,” and they’ll push back against government-created inconveniences. We’ll return to sanity, while a lunatic fringe will continue with their new neuroses. I finally believe we’re now past peak-stupid, but I’ve thought that a few times and then governments have once again tried to flex their powers and scare people into acting insane.

Fortunately, people are starting to wake up to all of this. In another few quarters, Covid, the mental disorder, will hopefully mostly be over with—though we’ll have the residual question about long-term health risks from these experimental mRNA vaccines—which is still quite a wild-card.

You have to remember that governments are just a collection of politicians trying to guess which way the mob is trending. As the mob adjusts, the smarter politicians will follow the voters and hopefully this thing ends. Here in Florida, no one has worn a mask in 18-months, yet you have these tourists with 2 masks on at the beach.

It’s quite hilarious. But then after a few days in Florida, they attune culturally and no longer fear germs as much. This process will happen everywhere as people realize that this is all just a bad cold. They’ll see others going on with their lives without dying. People will adjust and the more astute politicians will try to stay in front of this trend. Until then, we just have to wait it out and watch this crazy psychological experiment unfold…

Part 1 of this interview can be found here

Now read:

  1. Capitalism And Common Sense Will End Vaccine Mandates In 2022

  2. Oil Is Now “Out Of OPEC’s Hands” And Is “Going Higher”

  3. Short The Whole F*cking Vaccine Thing

ZeroHedge readers always get 20% off a subscription to my blog using this link: GET 20% OFF FOR LIFE


All content is Harris Kupperman’s opinion. I own physical silver, GLD, GDX, GDXJ, PAAS, PSLV and a number of other metals/miners/gold/silver equities as well as numerous companies with exposure to oil and uranium. Readers should assume Harris also has positions in all trends/equities/etc. mentioned in this interview – as do I. We will likely stand to benefit if prices of commodities rise and/or our prognostications come true. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. It is only a look into personal opinions and personal portfolios. Positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I get shit wrong a lot. I’m not a financial advisor, I hold no licenses or registrations and am not qualified to give advice on anything, let alone finance or medicine. Talk to your doctor, talk to your financial advisor or your therapist. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 13:30

Author: Tyler Durden

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