Have silver prices finally hit the turning point?

The pop in silver prices on Thursday felt different to me, and I went long silver for the first time in months. Here are four reasons why I think silver prices could be due for a sharp upturn.

Since topping out around $35.50 an ounce late in February, the price of silver has done little except fall. Sentiment in the precious metals market seems to be hovering at multi-year lows with investors shunning the metal for riskier assets. That is until late last week.

The pop in silver prices on Thursday felt different to me, and I went long silver for the first time in months (buying shares in ProShares Ultra Silver ETF – NYSE:AGQ). Why? Here are four reasons why I think silver prices could be due for a sharp upturn:

1) QE3. We thought Operation Twist buried our chance to see further monetary easing out of the Federal Reserve. Don’t give up hope just yet. The metals bounced hard on Thursday after meeting minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee gathering held hints that further quantitative easing is still a potential option if the U.S. economy remains sluggish. Another round of QE would likely ignite a surge in commodities across the board.

2) Too far, too fast. Silver prices have crumbled more than 11 percent in the past three weeks. The drop last Wednesday was extreme with the metal shedding $1 an ounce in a single day of trading. A plunge that large feels like concession selling. And we all know when we see concession selling: right before the start of a recovery.

3) The bull market in precious metals is still intact. While we don’t always like to admit it, silver prices generally follow gold’s lead. Sometimes, it can feel like it’s the other way around since the silver market is so much smaller than the gold market, but we’d be kidding ourselves to say that silver prices aren’t extremely dependent on what the price of gold is doing.

And gold’s been flirting with important psychological levels lately. For one thing: last week’s lows (hit on Wednesday) coincided with a 20 percent drop from last year’s highs (per Forbes). That key technical level seemed to awaken a lot of the sleeping bulls who promptly piled back into the metal. After all, a 20 percent drop is considered the cut-off for the transition from a bull market to a bear market. Had gold continued dropping (and particularly if it would have fallen below $1,500 an ounce), you could have taken it as a sign to sell your metals and head for the hills. Until we get that confirmation, though, I’m leaning to the bullish side for gold (and therefore silver, too).

4) The Grecian plot thickens. The primary reason I think last week’s low in silver prices was a turning point is this: fears that Greece would leave or get booted from the Eurozone were still at a fever pitch. For the past month or so, problems in Greece have been amplifying, and I think that’s a big reason the price of precious metals have fallen.

Investors didn’t want a “safe haven”, they wanted cold, hard, highly-liquid cash. Indeed, some €700 billion reportedly left Greek banks in a single day last week. Last Thursday and Friday marked the first two days gold and silver prices have climbed in the face of the fears of a default in Greece. That could be a sign investors are betting the EU will announce new stimulus or that they’ve accepted the fact that a collapse in Greece is unavoidable. Either way, the rise in precious metals – despite the bad news out of Greece – was enough to turn me bullish on precious metals (at least for now).

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