today s silver prices
No one knows the machinations of the day-to-day silver price better than Ted Butler.
Ted publishes bi-weekly commentary at www.butlerresearch.com, with a special focus on the silver market, which he's been closely following for over 30 years. Ted is an expert's expert.
So naturally, that's whom I turned to for an in-depth perspective on what's really going on with the silver price. As usual, Ted tells it like it is.
I think you'll be fascinated by Ted's tremendous insights...
Ted Butler on Silver Price Manipulation
Ted, you're widely recognized as the foremost expert on manipulation in the silver futures market. How do you define manipulation, and how are the main players benefiting from that?
Manipulation is another way of saying someone controls and dominates the market by means of an excessively large position. So, just by holding such a large concentrated position, the manipulation is largely explained. In real terms, whenever a single entity or a few entities come to dominate a market, all sorts of alarms should be sounded. This is at the heart of U.S. antitrust law. It is no different under commodity law.
Price manipulation is the most serious market crime possible under commodity law. In fact, there is a simple and effective and time-proven antidote to manipulation that has existed for almost a century, and that solution is speculative position limits. Currently, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission
(CFTC) is attempting to institute position limits in silver, but the big banks are fighting it tooth and nail.
As far as any benefits the manipulators may reap, it varies with each entity. But if you dominate and control a market by means of a large concentrated position, you can put the price wherever you desire at times, and that's exactly what the silver manipulators do regularly. This explains why we have such wicked sell-offs in silver; because the big shorts pull all sorts of dirty market tricks to send the price lower.
However, despite this blip, mounting inflationary pressures, a weakening dollar, and emerging market demand will see silver retest its record highs in 2012. In fact, this time around it could even climb as high as $150 an ounce.
The white metal has already gotten off to a strong start this year, with silver for March delivery surging 5.9% on Tuesday to settle at $29.57 an ounce - the biggest one-day gain in months.
And it's just getting started. So if you don't want to miss the next big bull-run, you might consider the following instructions on how to buy silver.
How to Buy SilverLike gold, silver investments can be made in a variety of forms. Let's take a look at some of the most popular forms.
Physical Silver: Physical silver can be purchased in a variety of sizes and weights, which determines its price. Most typical are 1.0 ounce silver coins, like the Austrian Silver Philharmonic, the American Silver Eagle, and the Canadian Silver Maple.
Their prices vary slightly due to differences in silver purity, with the Silver Maple being the highest at 99.99% pure. You'll pay about a 16% premium over the silver price for coins due to the cost of fabricating them.
Another popular option is the 100-ounce silver bar, which commands a 5% premium over the spot price of silver.
These coins and bars are essentially bought for their silver content and not as collectibles. If you're looking to build a silver stash - either large or small - bullion dealers may be the easiest way for investors to do so. But do your homework first, and check them out before you buy. Also, avoid paying more than the premiums I noted above for either coins or bars.
Some investors wonder if they should buy smaller denominations, like 1/20th, 1/10th, ¼, or ½ ounce (gold) coins. The thinking goes like this: If ever these coins need to be used to transact and make payments, one would want to have smaller "amounts" to carry around. That's a valid rationale. Even so, keep in mind that you'll pay a premium to the actual silver content, since each individual coin has to be fabricated. I believe that, should we ever get to that point, you could just convert a one-ounce coin or bar into a number of smaller coins, and pay the premium, or perhaps receive whatever else is being used for transactions (a new currency?) in return.
A few dealers that have an established reputation are:
With gold holding the leash on its "lapdog" - silver - the performance of the so-called "yellow metal" holds the key to silver prices in the New Year.
Here's why: For several years leading up to the 2008 stock-market panic, it typically took 55 ounces of silver to buy an ounce of gold. Today, a gold ounce will cost you 50 ounces of silver.
The message: There's been a fundamental shift, where precious metals investors see silver as the "more-affordable" true-money option. So, I expect this newer 50:1 ratio to hold, and perhaps to even decline - which portends a relative outperformance for silver versus gold.