The big news this week was the filing of charges and settlements for price manipulation and “spoofing” brought by the CFTC, in conjunction with the DOJ and FBI, against three banks and a half dozen individual traders; mostly involving illegal trading activities in COMEX gold and silver futures. The announcement set off a debate about whether the filing proved the allegations that gold and silver prices were manipulated as many, certainly including me, have maintained.

Put simply, the filings do not prove that silver and gold have been manipulated lower in price over the years. But then again, neither do the filings show that prices have not been manipulated in the manner I contend. What the charges do prove is that spoofing is a corrupt and illegal practice that should not exist in any form and on that basis. My immediate reaction is what the heck took the CFTC this long to act? Regular readers know I have railed against spoofing for many years as being completely devoid of any redeeming or legitimate features while the CFTC stood by. The practice of placing phony orders to influence price should have been outlawed from day one.

That said, I suppose it is good that the agency finally took action, under the kindest interpretation of the cliché of it’s better late than never. Certainly, those banks and traders accused of the practice will likely not do so in the future. And seeing the CFTC actually use the word manipulation in connection with COMEX gold and silver can’t be considered bad. Beyond that, unfortunately, the charges and settlements are troubling in that they only scratch the surface of whether silver and gold prices are manipulated.

Truth be told, if the regulators were out to clean up what ails silver and gold pricing, then they didn’t come close with these filings. If the CFTC was intending that this week’s announcements showed that it was truly cracking down on bad actors in silver and gold, then it failed. I would remind you that many of the violations announced took place while the CFTC was in the midst of its infamous five year silver “investigation”.