It’s also obvious from yesterday’s price action in silver in early Far East trading on their Monday morning, that JPMorgan et al were still able to coax more of the technical funds onto the short side, because if they weren’t able to do that, prices wouldn’t have declined the way they did.We’re certainly within spitting distance of the bottom—and I would guess that virtually all the damage will be done by the end of the week. A reader asked me on the weekend if it was a good idea to buy at the moment—and I told her that it might be wise. I’ll certainly be buying more physical silver this week—and probably today, although this U.S. dollar is making life difficult here in Canada, as it is in every country on Planet Earth right now.And as I type this paragraph, the London open is about thirty minutes away. Gold attempted a rally in mid-morning in Far East trading, but got sold down almost immediately—and the gold price is currently at a new low for this move down. Ditto for silver. Platinum and palladium also set new lows for this move down.Net gold volume is already huge at a bit over 25,000 contracts, with most of it in the current front month, so it’s certainly of the HFT variety. Silver’s net volume is around 4,400 contracts. The short squeeze in the dollar continues, as the dollar index is currently up another 45 basis points. If you didn’t read the story in the Critical Reads section headlined “The Global Dollar Funding Shortage is Back With a Vengeance and “This Time It’s Different”“—along with Jim Rickards’ comments on it—it might be a good idea to do so when you can find the time.Despite the huge rally in the dollar index, precious metal prices certainly want to rise, but are just as obviously not being allowed to. When will this all end, you ask? Beats me, but there is a limit to how low precious metal prices can go regardless of what the dollar does, so we just have to wait it out.And as I hit the send button on today’s epistle at 5:20 a.m. EDT, I see that all four precious metals are still under selling pressure by JPMorgan et al. The low ticks were printed just before 9 a.m. GMT in London this morning—and prices are a bit off these lows at the moment. Gold is currently down 9 bucks, silver is only down a dime—and platinum and palladium are down 15 and 12 dollars respectively. Net gold volume is north of 43,000 contracts, with virtually all of it in the current front month—and silver’s net volume is around 7,500 contracts. The dollar index has now blasted through the 98.00 mark—and is up 75 basis points at the moment. A panic short covering rally appears to be underway, although the dollar index is now back in hugely overbought territory once again.Here’s the 3-year U.S. Dollar Index chart courtesy of stockcharts.com, so you can see the insanity for yourself. Don’t forget to add about 75 basis points to what you see here.Eight investing and junior exploration experts talk about their experiences in previous bear markets—and what you need to do now to prepare your portfolio for maximum gains when the market turns bull. Including one MUST-OWN stock pick from Louis James.Guests include Pierre Lassonde, co-founder and chairman, Franco-Nevada, Bob Quartermain, president, CEO, and director, Pretium Resources, Doug Casey, Rick Rule, founder and chairman, Sprott Global Resource Investments, Ron Netolitzky, chairman and director, Aben Resources, Frank Holmes, CEO and CIO, U.S. Global Investors—plus Jeff Clark and Louis James.That’s all I have for today, which is more than enough. Today is the cut-off for Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report—and I’ll be more than interested in how the precious metals are being dealt with by the powers-that-be when I roll out of bed later this morning. And I don’t doubt that “King Dollar” will be up some more as well.See you tomorrow. We’re certainly within spitting distance of the bottomThe gold price had a positive price bias during the Far East trading session—and that lasted until the price got to the $1,175 spot price mark—and then it traded sideways until the 8:20 a.m. EST COMEX open—and that was that. There was a bit of a bump at the London p.m. gold fix—and the low tick came at 4:15 p.m. in electronic trading.The high and low ticks, such as they were, were reported by the CME Group as $1,174.40 and $1,164.80 in the April contract.Gold closed yesterday at $1,166.90 spot, down $1.80 from Friday’s close. Net volume was pretty light at only 99,000 contracts.I wasn’t at all surprised to see silver get hammered in Far East trading on their Monday morning, with the low coming shortly after 11 a.m. Hong Kong time. The subsequent rally made it back to unchanged shortly after London opened—and then traded pretty flat until around 11 a.m. GMT. Then the price got rolled over, with silver setting a double bottom for the day moments before the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.The high and lows were recorded as $15.96 and $15.705 in the May contract.Silver finished the Monday session in New York at $15.73 spot, down 19.5 cents from Friday’s close. Net volume was also pretty light at just over 20,000 contracts.The platinum price got hit for seven bucks in early morning trading in Hong Kong on their Monday morning—and then it traded more or less flat until the COMEX opened. From there the price developed a negative bias that lasted for the remainder of the COMEX and electronic sessions. The metal was closed down another 12 bucks.The palladium price chopped quietly higher until about 10:20 a.m. EST—and then got sold down into the close. The metal finished up a dollar.The dollar index closed late on Friday afternoon at 97.72—and stayed around that mark until about 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time. It rolled over from that point, hitting its 97.31 low tick shortly after 10 a.m. GMT, before rallying back to unchanged by noon in New York. It shed a few basis points going into the close, finishing the Monday session at 97.66—down 6 basis points on the day.The gold stocks opened in positive territory, but didn’t stay there for long—and were more or less done to the downside shortly before the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close. They chopped sideways from there—and the HUI got clocked for another 3.74 percent.It was more or less the same price pattern for the silver equities, except they hit their low tick at 3 p.m. EST—and managed to finish off that low by a bit. Not that it mattered, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index got hammered by another 4.45 percent.The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 41 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday. It was another case of JPMorgan screwing over its own clients once again, as 41 contracts were issued from JPMorgan’s client account—and 27 of those were stopped by JPMorgan out of its in-house [proprietary] trading account. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.The CME Preliminary Report for the Monday trading session showed that gold open interest for March fell by 31 contracts, leaving 117 contracts left. In silver, o.i. fell by 17 contracts, leaving 934 still open, minus the 41 mentioned above.There was another decent sized withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 105,583 troy ounces—and as of 6:06 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.There was a decent sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday, as they sold 6,000 troy ounces of gold eagles—1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and another 482,500 silver eagles.And still no 2014 annual report from the Royal Canadian Mint.There was a decent amount of gold movement at the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday. Brink’s, Inc. received 2,000 troy ounces—and Canada’s Scotiabank shipped out 125,067 troy ounces. The link to that activity is here.In silver, nothing was reported received, but 550,818 troy ounces were shipped out the door. The link to that action is here.Despite my best editing efforts, I still have a whole lot of stories today, so I’ll let you pick and choose.I’d call the explanation most widely given for Friday’s price smash, a reaction to the monthly employment report, comical—except there is nothing funny about price manipulation. I say that because there is no economic report that I can think of that should have less bearing on the price of gold and silver than this report. Yes, I know the employment report impacts many markets, including currencies, and that in turn can be said to effect gold and silver. But that’s absurd when you realize the main movers of the gold and silver prices, certainly on Friday, were the technical funds on the COMEX and they rely exclusively on mechanical price signals and not on published economic data for trading decisions. What the reaction to the employment report does do is provide a cover story and explanation for those who refuse to acknowledge that gold and silver prices are set by positioning on the COMEX. The good news is that the changes in positioning indicated in the new COT report and extrapolating for the prospective changes since the Tuesday cutoff are now flashing bullish signals. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 07 March 2015Whatever positive price action that developed in any of the precious metals on Monday, certainly wasn’t allowed to get past the New York trading session without them being closed down on the day after posting earlier and decent gains. Palladium was the only exception, as it closed up a buck, but well of its high tick. “Da boyz” are still there.Despite the dollar index and the engineered price declines, it’s obvious that precious metals are attempting to rise, but aren’t being allowed to.Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals as of the close of Monday’s trading session. Before continuing with the photos of my Arizona trip, I thought that it time that I feature these osprey pictures that reader Mark O’Brien sent my way back on February 24. I met Mark at the Casey Conference in San Antonio last September—and I’ve been more than happy to post some of his work in this column before—and these four shots of ospreys on their nest I thought well worth sharing. He was obviously working from an elevated blind when he took them.