Silver: the bull is back

The industrial and monetary metal has moved back into bull-market territory. But can it last?

Silver has sprung back to life. After sliding for months, it gained 20% in August and has now exceeded $23 an ounce. A rise of a fifth is considered a bull market. Until recently, silver had been grappling with "the worst of two worlds", as Commerzbank's Eugen Weinberg puts it. It is both a monetary and an industrial metal. Industry comprises about 50% of demand, while it also functions as a precious metal, mirroring gold's moves. Concern over global growth had compounded the fading appeal of precious metals as the US looks set to start moving towards tighter monetary policy.

But the latest data from China has pointed to a slight improvement in growth, while Europe is now out of recession. So the global growth outlook has improved somewhat. "Silver was also just oversold," says Frank McGhee of Integrated Brokerage Services. Short-sellers rushed to buy it back once it bounced, providing a further boost.

Can the rally last? The world economy remains lacklustre and Chinese growth has shifted down a gear. However, new uses have been found for silver in recent years, while the expanding solar industry in Asia bodes well for a boost in demand for silver for use in photovoltaic cells, notes Jeff Clark on Goldseek.com.

Global demand in this segment could double in three years (it now accounts for 6% of fabrication demand) and China and Japan alone could then need 11% of global mine supply. And the danger of an inflation surge thanks to recent money printing along with the scope for further financial crises, remains. So this notoriously volatile metal may be worth a look for the long term. There is a London-listed ETF, the ETFS Physical Silver (LSE: PHSP).

Recommended

Platinum has lost its shine – but the green energy revolution could change all that
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum has lost its shine – but the green energy revolution could change all that

Platinum has had a terrible few years – right now, it is at the same price as it was in 2003. But that could soon change. Dominic Frisby puts the case…
7 Oct 2020
The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?
Investment strategy

The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?

Precious metals, stocks and pretty much every other asset has taken a tumble as the US dollar strengthens. Dominic Frisby looks at how long this trend…
23 Sep 2020
CCI: this indicator can help you decide when to buy and sell silver
Sponsored

CCI: this indicator can help you decide when to buy and sell silver

CCI - the “commodity channel index” – is a technical indicator that can help traders spot entry and exit points. Dominic Frisby runs it over the silve…
24 Aug 2020
Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold

Gold and silver continue to soar, but there's still time to get in. And there's another precious metal that looks set to go on a bull run too, says Jo…
7 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021
House prices

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021

Lockdown sent house prices berserk as cooped up home-workers fled for bigger properties in the country. And while they won’t rise quite as much this y…
18 Jan 2021
Prepare for the end of the epic bubble in US stocks
US stockmarkets

Prepare for the end of the epic bubble in US stocks

US stocks are as expensive as they’ve ever been. How can you prepare your portfolio for a bubble bursting?
18 Jan 2021
It's not just the UK – we're seeing pandemic housing booms across the globe
Property

It's not just the UK – we're seeing pandemic housing booms across the globe

Soaring house prices aren’t just a UK thing, they’re a worldwide phenomenon. And it’s no coincidence – the underlying cause is much the same. John Ste…
18 Jan 2021