The prospect of investing in silver in 2014 started off looking dismal. Silver was down by almost 50% since the beginning of 2013. However, the commodity appears to be making a comeback, rising 12.5% in June alone.
Silver prices got a slight bump this week, as traders continue to feed into the momentum of precious metal investments generated by fear of earlier-than-expected interest rate hikes. Silver prices are up about 1.3% on the week to $21.13 as of 12:17 p.m. today (Friday).
After 117 years, the current London Silver Fix is shutting down.
In fact, we know it's going to happen on August 14th for certain.
Free marketeers are excited; for years many have maintained that silver prices are being manipulated.
Ted Butler, for one, publishes commentary with a special focus on the silver market. Ted's likely the most outspoken observer of daily silver futures price machinations anywhere. I did an extensive interview with him on this very topic in 2012.
Now comes confirmation that the London Silver Fix is finally closing shop.
That in itself isn't proof of manipulation, but the circumstances certainly raise some intriguing questions.
There are clues from its history worth studying - and profits to be made from its demise…
Silver prices today (Friday) are still on the rise after ripping through the $20 an ounce level Thursday.
July Comex silver was trading up $0.20, or 0.95%, at $21.10 in morning trading Friday. The silver price hasn't seen today's $21 level since March 17.
Gold, silver, and the FOMC meeting today: Precious metal prices were fairly steady Wednesday morning awaiting the typically market-moving statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today. The spot gold price was last trading down $0.90 at $1,271.50. July silver prices were last quoted up $0.003 at $19.735 an ounce.
Over the last several years, investors have shown a keen interest in shiny assets as the U.S. Federal Reserve liberally printed money and distrust in dollars grew. But that interest has waned as the Fed slows its bond buying.
The silver price today moved solidly higher in morning trading following some positive economic data out of China.
July Comex silver traded up $0.392, or 1.26%, at $19.73, after the preliminary HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for May came in at 49.7. That was up from 48.1 in April, and was the best reading in five months.
It's like Money Morning Global Resources Specialist Peter Krauth has been saying: A low silver price doesn't scare away investors; it draws them in.
As silver prices slumped 36% in 2013, retail investors took advantage of the dips and sent physical silver demand up 13% to an all-time high, according to World Silver Survey 2014.
After rising as much as 16% earlier this year, silver prices are now nearly unchanged year-to-date. They're up just 0.2%, while gold has gained 7.2%.
The silver price isn't the only number that's lagging...
Silver's option activity sits near a decade low. That's highly unusual - and won't last.
Silver prices spiked some 2%, or $0.51, to $20.49 an ounce intraday Thursday before closing the session up $0.37 to $20.14 an ounce.
The gains came as the U.S. stock markets sold off sharply. Stocks sank even after the Labor Department reported U.S. weekly jobless claims dropped to a seven-year low, a sign of ongoing recovery in the labor market and the economy.
But what we care about is the big picture.
Spot silver prices rose $0.07, or 0.4%, to $19.86 an ounce midday Monday as precious metal traders and investors gear up for a busy week ahead.
Market participants remain guarded, with a spate of U.S. economic data flooding in as the week wears on. Capping the busy week will be Friday's closely watched March jobs report.
Meanwhile, Monday caps the end of 2014's first quarter.
Amid frenzied demand to buy and store silver, a Singapore retail supplier of coins and bars opened a new 600-metric-ton vault on Monday.
The sizable Silver Bullion Pte. Ltd. storage facility can hold some $390 million worth of silver (at Friday's prices of $20.33 per ounce). Known as The Safe House, the new facility is located west of Changi International Airport. At present, it keeps some 37 tons of silver, mostly for its retail clients, behind a secure 2.5-ton stainless door.
Silver prices today (Friday) were modestly higher as bargain hunters stepped up to buy the dips. In early trading, spot silver last traded up $0.11 to $20.45.
It's been a volatile and punishing week for silver.
In morning trading Thursday, silver futures for May delivery slumped 2.3% to $20.355 an ounce, on pace for the biggest drop since March 7.
Buoyed in early trading by a flight to safety amid simmering turmoil between Ukraine and Russia, silver prices today are showing signs of life.
In morning trading Friday, the price of silver rose $0.62, or 2.44%, at $21.89 an ounce. While the white metal slipped $0.148 Thursday to finish the session at $21.25 an ounce, the dip came on mild profit taking. Silver had a stellar showing Wednesday, ending up 2.66%, or $0.55, at $21.33.
Even though silver prices today (Friday) are down a relatively flat 0.59%, they're up more than 10% so far in February, and the rally won't end here.
Despite lower silver prices, Vancouver's Pan American Silver Corp. (Nasdaq: PAAS) reported strong earnings yesterday (Thursday) that sent its shares soaring 6.28% over the day - and up to an 8.35% gain through Friday.
At first glance, Pan American's story may appear grim. In 2013, silver prices fell 35.7%, and Pan American shares fell right alongside, for a remarkably similar 35.57% loss across the year.