Submitted by Jan Nieuwenhuijs of Voima Gold
Three elements cause physical delivery on the COMEX to have reached record highs this year: strong demand for futures in New York, a persisting spread between the price of futures in New York versus spot gold in London, and arbitrage.
Physical delivery on the largest gold futures exchange in the world, the COMEX in New York, has reached all time highs this year. In June more than 170 tonnes were physically delivered (5.5 million ounces). Usually, delivery is “neglectable.” What has changed?
An important change in the global gold market occurred on March 23, 2020. On that day the price of gold futures in New York started drifting higher than the price for spot gold in London. Ever since, the spread has persisted, though it continuously widens and narrows. The reason for this disturbance in the market can be read in my previous article “What Caused the New York vs. London Gold Price Spread and Why it Persists.”
To understand the shift in deliveries, first let's have a look at how the global gold market operated before March 23, when things still ran smoothly.
The Global Gold Market Before March 23, 2020
The world’s most dominant gold spot market is the London Bullion Market, where mostly “loco London” gold is traded. Meaning the metal is physically settled within the environs of the M25 London Orbital Motorway. The most dominant gold futures market is located in New York, where metal can be physically delivered within a 150-mile radius of the City of New York....