by Ted Butler
The current short position in COMEX silver is mostly held by 8 major financial firms. We can only guess who they are because their identities are protected. According to the COT reports, the biggest 4 are short nearly 60 thousand contracts and the next 4 are short nearly 20 thousand contracts. That’s a total of 400 million silver ounces. Annual mining production of silver amounts to less than 800 million ounces. The short position in silver dwarfs any other commodity. Furthermore, it is concentrated in a few hands and thus open to manipulation. Over the years, this shorting strategy has proven to be lucrative as the big shorts would buy back their short positions on price drops. Recently, the Justice Department and the CFTC punished JPMorgan, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Scotia Bank with a deferred criminal prosecution agreement for the practice of spoofing which meant they were often putting in fake sell orders to spark a price drop.