Silver outperforms all other precious metals in August; Where do metals prices go now?

Silver rallied more than 4.5 percent to give it as a solid lead as the top-performing metal in August. It could be a leading indicator that now’s the time to move into gold and silver mining stocks.

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed “will provide additional policy accommodation” to bolster the US economy on Friday, metals prices sprinted higher in an end-of-the-month surge. Silver rallied more than 4.5 percent to give it as a solid lead as the top-performing metal in August.

Precious Metals Gains, August 2012

Metal Monthly Gain
Gold +4.5%
Silver +12.6%
Platinum +8.5%
Palladium +6.6%

The moves propelled gold to a five-month high while silver’s sitting at a four-month high. Still, leading analysts seem to think the best is yet to come for metals as quantitative easing looks to be more imperative.

“We took the amount of debt owned by major countries that is going to have to roll over in the next three years,” Jim Puplava of the Financial Sense Newshour said recently. “Over 50 percent of US debt is rolling over, 50 percent of Japanese debt, German debt, (etc.), and none of these countries – whether it’s the United States or Europe or Japan – can afford a spike in interest rates. So you know sooner later we’re going to get multiple forms of quantitative easing.”

More quantitative easing means higher inflation and higher precious metals prices as the value of global currencies retreat. That really has me taking a closer look at gold and silver stocks. Many of them have been trending up over the past three months, but they’re still trading below where they were a year ago.

Let’s take a look at a small-cap silver mining stock like Great Panther Silver Ltd. (AMEX:GPL). One year ago, shares stood at $3.19. As of Friday’s close, they were trading at $1.97. If prices return to last year’s levels, that would be a gain of nearly 62 percent.

“When the public comes in here in our tiny gold and silver markets, it will be a bubble, and it will dwarf what the Internet did except it will be real for a long period of time,” Bill Murphy founder and chairman of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) Jim Puplava in that same interview. “And that’s coming. … It’s probably the best risk-reward situation right now as the gold and silver markets have ever seen in terms of the equities.”

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