Despite recent weakness, gold has been one of the best performing commodities this year. Under normal circumstances, silver would be performing even better. Call 2014 an anomaly then.
While gold is up 8 percent for the year, silver has been flat. Half of the white metal’s demand comes from investment vehicles. The other half comes from industrial uses. As the economy improves, that should drive up industrial consumption of silver. At the same time, the Fed’s ongoing quantitative easing programs mean we should continue to see investment demand for silver. Shouldn’t gold and silver prices be headed higher?
Peter Schiff, the president of Euro Pacific Capital, thinks so. He told CNBC that he believes gold could reach $5000 per ounce.
“I’ve been buying gold for over 1213 years. I’ve been recommending it for my clients. Not once have I bought gold because of geopolitical risks. I’ve never even considered that. The people who say that are the people who don’t buy any gold. I’ve been buying gold for the last decade, and it’s because central banks are creating too much money. There’s too much inflation. Interest rates are too low. And so I want to store my purchasing power in something central banks can’t print. I think we’re headed much much higher because they’re not going to stop those presses. I don’t know the time period. They’re just going to trend higher. I’ve said $5000, they’ll go higher than that.”
If that were to happen, the increase in investment demand for silver could drive prices up rapidly. Silver has been showing signs of strength in the stock market, too.
“Silver saw the largest inflows [amongst commodity ETFs] during the quarter,” says the Wall Street Journal (per BullionVault), “as investors looked to the metal as a leveraged play on improved sentiment towards gold.”
Not everyone is bullish on silver, though. Natixis analysts are calling for a base case of silver at $18.60 an ounce this year, and $15 an ounce next year (per Mineweb). They could even see the white metal falling as low as $10 an ounce in 2015.
“At 19,700 tonnes, the amount of silver held in physically-backed ETPs (exchange traded products) is equivalent to almost 80% of 2012’s mined output. If last year’s mass exit from gold ETPs was followed this year by sales from silver ETPs, this could rapidly turn into a substantial new source of supply just as happened with gold last year. Under these scenarios we could see silver prices fall to an average of $15/oz in 2014 and $10/oz in 2015.”
The only solace I get out of such bearishness is it can’t get much worse. The contrarian in me wants to buy more silver when the bears take control.
I don’t think we’re out of the woods for silver prices yet, though, so I’ll bide my time. Inflation will begin to rear it’s ugly head soon. That’s why I’ll start buying more silver. For now, my favorite investment for 2014 remains bitcoin. Check out my bitcoin price prediction page on crypt.la to learn why.