Friday, October 19, 2012

Silver Prices Headed to the Moon?

While there's no doubt we're in the midst of a bull silver market, some comments by silver analyst and bull Israel Freidman on the web site of Ted Butler goes beyond reality (I think), and enters into the realm of fantasy, as he makes the assertion the combination of industrial use and investment value in relationship to silver could push the price of silver beyond gold some day.

Making assertions like that are basically useless, as even if that were to happen, it would take so many years that the idea of someone having made it would have long been forgotten, as will the person making it.

Having said that, the underlying premises for why silver prices will rise are worth looking at, as they are surely part of the silver price picture, and need to be taken into account by silver investors.

It's worth pursuing the matter because a number of commodity experts believe that silver may be the best performing asset class over the next decade.

The major argument for silver prices rising in the view of Freidman, which in general is true, is the growing demand by investors, along with the increased number of industrial uses for silver will end up producing a supply shortage in the not too distant future, which is the impetus behind his belief the price of silver could skyrocket to enormous heights, and potentially surpass gold.

Overall, the problem with that Utopian scenario is once the price of silver were to reach those dizzying price heights, and even before, businesses would seek alternative raw materials or methods to produce products requiring silver as a major component.

That would also be the case for investors, who are now loading up on silver because of it being an effective alternative to gold. Once the prices were to rise too high, the falling demand would bring them closer to reality.

Even so, we should see the ratio between gold and silver improve over what it's been, which means silver prices should rise higher in relationship to gold over the next ten years or so.

As for demand outpacing supply, in the short term that's highly doubtful, and there may even be an abundance of silver in that regard. Over the years though, it could definitely be a possibility that silver supply could come under pressure, and that could move the price of silver up to previously unheard of levels, but not to anywhere near where gold would be, unless the price of gold were to plummet to levels it stood at a little over a decade ago.

The other important factor on the investment side is how long central banks around the world continue to attempt to stimulate their respective economies. If that continues over time, that would result in significant inflation, and in investors moving their money into gold and silver to protect their assets.

This will be especially true as currencies lose their buying power.

At this time investors are still looking to the U.S. dollar as a safe haven, which has helped keep the dollar at levels far above its actual value. That's because other currencies are performing at similar levels, because central bank practices of competing currencies are kept them from being at any significant advantage against the U.S. dollar.

That will change, but that's why some investors continue to be long the U.S. dollar, as they know in this tumultuous economic climate that people and institutions will continue to pour money into the dollar as a perceived safety net. They're wrong, but in the short term that will underpin the dollar.

This will gradually change in regard to silver, and the white metal will continue to rise over time, in spite of those that seem to live to only make money by trying to short the commodity. Over time they'll lose, but those moving in and out of the market, and who know what they're doing, do make a lot of money on the wide prices movements associated with silver, and that will continue even as silver continues to rise in price.

What is good about the boost in industrial usage and demand for silver is it will, over time, place a base under the price of silver as it becomes more predictable as a result.

So the wide movement in prices over the short term may slow in the degree they move, although the relatively small amount of silver in comparison to gold will keep those prices moving much more than its counterpart.

In other words, silver will continue to rise, but the fluctuation in price will continue on unless some unknown hoard of silver is discovered which may change the supply picture over the long term. If not, things will largely remain the same as market factors continue to favor silver and those investing in it.

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