It's a combination of the dollar's tenuous strength and elevated downside speculation that explains why silver prices are down right now.
In theory, we have free markets, where manipulation is illegal and punishable.
We've found that's not often the case in the financial markets.
Unfortunately, this web of "disruptive practices" and "market rigging" is not likely to change any time soon.
Despite a government "crackdown" on illegalities that occasionally makes the headlines.
The problem may be especially manifest in the futures market.
The price of silver this week looks to be headed for trouble, with prices falling below $18 for the first time since 2010. But there is no need to panic.
There are two easily identifiable headwinds containing the price of silver.
The silver futures market provides an explanation for why silver has been languishing in an unfortunate bear slump.
But the current price declines and speculator activity is unsustainable as prices fall to lows on the year.
The silver price this week has been particularly disappointing, trading at its 2014 low for the last six trading days.
But the bad news for silver is tempered by bullish indicators that could spark a rally in the near-term and carry it up to the end of the year.
Last week was punishing for silver prices once again, as the silver futures market sent out bearish signals and the white metal fell below its lowest levels on the year.
But if you've followed the silver futures markets this year you'd realize these current doldrums are only preceding a much more substantial rally.
Silver prices today are trading at their lowest levels on the year, continuing a two-month bear cycle where the white metal has fallen significantly.
Prices are taking recent cues from the U.S. Dollar Index, as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve. Silver futures activity has also been a headwind for more than a month now.
Silver futures activity has been smothering prices, with the white metal trading down seven of the last eight weeks as it nears three-month lows.
And not surprisingly, speculators have taken center stage in this protracted bear session, adding to their short positions for the fifth straight week.
Don't let the August performance of silver ETFs fool you - there's a big buy signal for silver flashing right now.
July, like August, was underwhelming, as silver prices fell dramatically. But in July, portfolio managers dealing in the physical silver shed their holdings.
As of Friday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) reported that silver speculators added further to their short positions, which no doubt kept a lid on the current price of silver.
The silver futures market and speculator activity has been a highly telling indicator for the future of silver price movements. When speculators begin buying up short positions in droves, the price of silver enters a bear session were declines become routine. But when silver speculation hits its peak and prices dive down to new lows, the speculators will begin to liquidate their short contracts and buy long.
Silver prices suffered mightily in August, as this Friday is likely to show the white metal down considerably on the month.
However, some new developments in the futures markets and the move into the fall months provides favorable trading terms for silver.
Silver prices today are beginning to pop, bolstered by safe-haven demand from unsettling news on the Ukrainian-Russian border.
If silver closes up today, it will be the first time in over a month that the white metal has traded up three days in a row.
If you've been watching silver for some time, you know it's been in the doghouse.
After peaking at $49 back in April 2011 the white metal is
down 60%, having languished between $19 and $22 for the past two years.
But a confluence of factors is building that make today's silver prices look downright cheap.</p
Activity in the silver futures market have caused prices to sputter out in August, and the most recent data shows that speculators are cashing in on the white metal's downfall.
And while these positions mount, silver is sure to languish.
Silver is so vital in consumer electronics, solar power, and even healthcare now that it has become one of those "Miracle Materials" that are changing our lives.
And Keith Neumeyer, one of the top CEOs in the silver industry, tells me that he sees good times ahead for the white metal.