Silver has lost its shine of late as fears of another global economic slowdown reduced its appeal as an industrial metal. Silver fell from the record prices it set a couple of months back to hover around $35 per ounce. However, optimists are speculating that silver will bounce back once again and cross the $100 record. There are even experts who fancy silver's price parity with gold!
Both silver and gold prices rallied on Tuesday on the back of speculation that the Federal Reserve may pump more money into the financial system. Silver ended $36.24 in after hours trading while gold made bigger gains to close at $1562.
If the Fed pumps more money into the market the US dollar will lose more value, and set the ball rolling for another commodity boom cycle, which will translate immediately into higher prices for physical silver and gold.
Those investors who lost money in the previous silver boom where the metal crashed through the $50 barrier, may be less enthused to talk about a silver boom lurking in the corner though. What killed silver appetite was fresh fears of another slowdown, and increased credit tightening in emerging markets.
But analysts have pointed out that there are some fundamental factors that could fuel another silver boom. The biggest factor is that silver is far more scarce than gold! And then, silver is being consumed unlike gold. While almost 98 percent of gold ever produced still remains above ground, silver is consumed as an industrial metal and its supplies do not catch up with demand.
It's this lack of silver stockpiles that has become one of the most critical factors in what could jolt prices, lifting silver into an entirely different asset class all together, writes Luke Burgess in Wealth Daily.
Burgess says the chances of silver reaching $100 an ounce cannot be ruled out. So forget $100 silver — $100 is now considered a timid prediction. Some experts are now calling for silver prices to be on par with gold!
It is true that silver is more abundantly available in Earth's crust than gold. According to estimates, silver is at least 17.5 times more abundant than gold. But the difference is that the amount of above-ground gold far exceeds the amount of silver, Burgess says.
The current annual global production of silver is estimated at 700 million ounces. But demand is far outpacing limited supplies. Burgess says that from 1990 to 2000 alone, over two billion ounces of silver disappeared from the market to consumption. According to the Silver Institute, the demand for silver from industry will increase 36 percent by 2015.
The demand for silver from China and other emerging markets will continue to propel the metal. India’s state-owned Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation said last week it would 1,200 tons of Silver in 2011-12. According to UBS, silver imports will soar in India on account of unprecedented consumer demand.