JP Morgan accounted for most of the delivery activity in most months of 2013. During the first half of 2013 JPM was on the issue side of the activity. Both sides of a delivery, issuing (delivering) and stopping (receiving) are reported by the COMEX. The number of deliveries or contracts stopped/issued is represented by the yellow bars in the chart below.
January is a slow month for futures contracts and therefore for delivery notices. Only 224 contracts remained to be settled on first notice day at the beginning of this January.
February is a big month! I am forecasting that at least 7,500 contracts will need to be settled this February, which is significantly less than in February 2013. I am guessing that the number of Feb settlements will be lower than last year because: 1) total open interest and open interest in February contracts is about 10% and 15% lower, respectively than at this time last year 2) more contracts settled in December than the year before which may have satisfied or pulled forward some demand for physical 3) COMEX registered gold inventory is low and the COMEX banks will entice more Feb contract holders to roll over to a future month. Currently, COMEX gold inventory is about 417k ounces in registered and 7,361k ounces in eligible. Also, my forecast is conservative because utilizing historical ratios is risky in volatile situations. But, it's all I've got.
I learned from commentor Mick that the same gold/warrants may be used to settle multiple contracts in a given month because the same firm can stop and then issue the same warrant. So to the extent that stops and issues by the same firm are netted together the same gold can be used to settle multiple contracts. By reviewing the monthly CME delivery notice report for 2013, the average number of contracts that are stopped and issued by the same firm in a typical month is about 15% of the total volume.
If 7,500 contracts need to be settled during February, COMEX will need more registered gold. Let's say about 300k ounces more, at least. The gold is readily available in eligible inventory. But at what price?
Data for JPM notices in the chart above includes both the JPM customer and JPM house accounts. The table below shows data for those accounts individually.