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Gold/Silver Price Ratio Getting Silly Again

Articles & Blogs - Silver Commentary

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Arithmetic is a harsh mistress. Irrespective of how badly the banking cabal wishes to suppress the prices of gold and silver, and irrespective of how much brute force they are able to apply to the market over the short term with their (illegal) manipulations; the inexorable pull of supply and demand will inevitably overwhelm any/all such operations.

This is not the whimsical theory of some ivory-tower economist, but a simple fact of markets which has been demonstrated to us all in totally unequivocal parameters. Thus back in the “bad, old days” of manipulation – when the banksters still had large hoards of bullion to dump onto the market and crush the price – the price of silver was pushed to a 600-year low (in real dollars). What did the extreme manipulation of the silver market in the 1990’s reap for the banksters? A 1,000% increase in the price of silver over the following decade.

The misunderstanding of most novice investors in this sector (and a source of tremendous frustration) is that these short-term episodes of manipulation somehow delay (or even prevent) gold and silver prices from reaching their “maximum” levels. In fact the precise opposite is the truth: each and every manipulation operation translates to even higher long-term prices for gold and silver. It’s all just simple arithmetic.

Perhaps the easiest way to illustrate these dynamics is through comparing the gold market and the silver market. While both of these markets have been subjected to extreme manipulation, it is clear that manipulation of the silver market has been much more severe. There are two related numbers which illustrate this point.

Knowledgeable investors know that the long-term price ratio of gold versus silver (i.e. over roughly 5,000 years) has averaged approximately 15:1. This closely coincides with the ratio of the natural occurrence of these two elements in the Earth’s crust (approximately 17:1). Not only did this price ratio remain relatively constant over several millennia, but the fact that the price ratio so closely mirrors the rate of occurrence of the two metals shows that (in relative terms) our species has demonstrated a roughly equal preference for the two metals throughout recorded history.

These facts establish beyond any possible contradiction that over the medium or long term the price of silver must remain at close to a 15:1 ratio versus the price of gold. There is only one factor which could alter this arithmetic: if our preference toward the two metals changed. Has any such change in preferences occurred? Yes. Silver has become much more popular.

This increased popularity comes in two distinct forms. Modern technology has established silver as the most valuable/versatile of all metals, with more new silver-based patents being created than for any other metal. Along with that there has been an even more stunning/dramatic surge in investor demand for silver – a consequence of silver being perennially and extremely undervalued.

In 2011, the United States sold nearly 40 million Silver Eagle 1-oz coins while only selling approximately 1 million Gold Eagles – a near 40:1 ratio. This ratio is more than double the 5,000-year price ratio, and more than double the relative natural occurrence of silver. In other words, over the long-term this demand profile is totally unsustainable – and must result in (first) the total depletion of silver inventories, and (second) a rise in the price of silver sufficient to stifle silver demand sufficiently for balance to be restored.

However, the demand profile of silver is literally only half the story here – and the supply-side illustrates the futility of bankster manipulation in even more absolute terms. Given that silver is 17 times more plentiful in the Earth’s crust, we would expect the world’s mining industry to be producing about 17 times as much silver as gold each year. In fact actual production numbers are nowhere near this ratio.

To attempt to conceal the ridiculous imbalance between silver mining and gold mining, the banksters report silver mine production in (Imperial) ounces, while reporting gold production in (metric) tonnes. Fortunately anyone able to employ a calculator can overcome this clumsy attempt at deceit.

Converting all mine production to ounces, gold mine production was over 100 million ounces in 2010 while silver mine production was a mere 735 million ounces. Thus we have the miners producing only approximately 7 times as much silver as gold in 2010, while investors are exhibiting a 40:1 preference in buying silver versus gold. Meanwhile the gold/silver price ratio is an utterly insane 55:1 at the present time.

Keep in mind that the preference for silver over gold industrially is just as extreme. While industrial demand for gold has essentially remained flat over recent years, industrial demand for silver has risen by roughly 50% over the past 10 years – and by 18% in 2010 alone. This rabid industrial demand for silver (along with relatively little recycling) has resulted in global stockpiles of silver being decimated, with silver inventories plummeting by 90% between 1990 and 2005 alone.

Conversely, virtually every ounce of gold ever mined is still available today. As a result of decades of yet another gross imbalance in this market, there is less silver in the world today (relative to gold) than at any time in thousands of years. A precise ratio is impossible to construct, however estimates range from a (conservative) 6:1 level to the estimates of the more bullish commentators in the sector, who insist there is more (above-ground) gold in the world today than silver. This means that relative to supply, silver is currently under-priced by a factor of ten (if not more).

At the same time that silver is at its most popular point in history, there is less of it around (relatively) than at any time in history. Anyone with the slightest comprehension of markets understands what must happen: the price of silver must explode to a level which simultaneously dramatically depresses demand, while causing an explosion in silver mining activity. And note that the current parameters discussed here were after the 1,000% price increase over the past decade. Not only has the supply-deficit remained despite that 1,000% price increase, it’s gotten larger. Thus we might (conservatively) estimate that another 1,000% increase in the price of silver might just be enough to restore balance to the market.

What we have observed generally with respect to the gold and silver markets over the past few decades is nothing more than a long-term illustration of the principles of supply and demand, along with the absolute dictates of arithmetic. The extreme manipulation of the precious metals sector during the last decade of the last century has led to massive price increases in the prices of gold and silver in the first decade of this century – despite the banksters redoubling their efforts to suppress these markets.

Silver was suppressed even more extremely during those previous years, and so it nearly doubled the gains of the gold market over the past decade. This is nothing but a reiteration of one of the most obvious common-sense principles of human commerce: if you put something “on sale” you will increase buying and burn through inventories. If you price something at an extreme discount, you simply burn through inventories much, much faster.

The gold/silver price ratio has once again reached an absurd manipulation-extreme. This in turn is conclusive proof of the current, ruthless suppression of silver taking place in this market – as unequivocally demonstrated by the supply/demand parameters previously detailed. What does this mean over the longer term? That $500/oz silver is now a certainty in the future.

Comments (13)Add Comment
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 10, 2012
Some anaylysts have pointed our that the supposed annual silver surplus includes all the coins minted that year as if they are no different than grandma's old scrap silver service. Purposeful disinformation? Looks like it. Additionally, I recently watched a film on the mining and refining of silver and it is one complicated, expensive process; seemingly much more so than with gold. Your comments.

Thanks for the comment Apberusdisvet, as while I mentioned the "supply deficit" in the silver market I didn't explain that remark (as I usually do).

Obviously most of the supply/demand data put forth by the propagandists is EXTREMELY "massaged" (if not 100% fraudulent). For instance we are told that "supply equals demand" EVERY YEAR in the silver market - when such a thing isn't even theoretically possible.

And all of the supposed "growth in inventories" has been via the ridiculously fraudulent device of treating OUT-FLOWS of silver into the bullion-ETF's as IN-FLOWS. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can't INCREASE "inventories" by SELLING silver !!

written by apberusdisvet, January 10, 2012
Jeff: a logical case can be made for the eventual reversal of the GSR, principally because of the destruction via use of many industrial/military silver applications and the declining worldwide reserves. Some anaylysts have pointed our that the supposed annual silver surplus includes all the coins minted that year as if they are no different than grandma's old scrap silver service. Purposeful disinformation? Looks like it. Additionally, I recently watched a film on the mining and refining of silver and it is one complicated, expensive process; seemingly much more so than with gold. Your comments.
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 10, 2012
Great point HonestAbe!

And to reply to that I'll fall back on one of my best rhetorical escapes: he's "the exception that proves the rule". (LOL!)

Here we have someone who is basically DOING what Jimha suggests: buying up LOTS of the dwindling silver inventories - and being very CLEAR about his views on how tight the market is.

However, here's the key distinction: he's NOT buying all of this silver for himself, but rather his CLIENTS. So one the one hand the regulators can't attack him for "cornering the market" like they did with the Hunt Brothers (but WON'T do with JP Morgan's massive short position). On the other hand, the (industrial) silver USERS and other powerful business interests ALSO can't impugn or attack Sprott - for the same reason.

Thus what we see is that it is a MUCH more practical proposition for some entity with "deep pockets" to buy up silver in a COLLECTIVE manner - when it would be VERY difficult to do so PERSONALLY.
written by HonestAbe, January 10, 2012
Jeff, so based on your comments and beliefs that answers the logical question of why no rich dude(s) have cornered the tiny silver market, what is your opinion or belief about Eric Sprott? Here you have a multi billionaire Canadian talking up silver like a cheerleader, plowed lots of money into silver mining stocks, bought lots of physical silver for himself and his funds, and started up numerous silver related ETF's. Does the fact that no one has busted him yet indicate that he is "in on the game" and merely getting as many suckers as possible to become future bag holders of his holdings after chasing prices during recent highs last year? Or even if you do not think he is an insider/point guy that he might have a hidden agenda?
written by jimha, January 09, 2012
Good explanations. I will continue to ride the silver train to the end game if I live long enough. LOL
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 09, 2012
What I can't understand however is why any one of the numerous billionaires do not pick up all the available physical as it would hardly make a dent in some of their portfolios

First you have to ask yourself what their MOTIVE would be in doing so? Altruism? Lol!

If the motive is "profit", there is more to be made playing the paper game and allowing yourself to be bought-off with "cash settlements" month after month (at prices much higher than official spot prices).

Then there is the fact that whoever busted the silver market (or TRIED to) would create some VERY powerful enemies.

Lastly, there is the simple fact that our markets are operated by CRIMINALS. Suppose someone STARTED to make a "run" on silver stocks? The criminals simply CLOSE the silver market until they are able to "restore order" to the market.
written by jimha, January 09, 2012
You make an excellent case for much higher silver prices as many others have. What I can't understand however is why any one of the numerous billionaires do not pick up all the available physical as it would hardly make a dent in some of their portfolios and I know they are restricted by position limits on the longs in the paper market. They could start by cleaning out all the Eagles, Maple Leafs etc. on ebay. Perhaps you can offer an opinion on this.
written by balz, January 09, 2012
HonestAbe and Jeff, I think you are both right. Big damage done to China, India... and else... But IMO that does not change the picture: we have to go back from a very complex system 100% based on trust (fiat money based on debt) to a less complex system 50% based on trust (paper-bills based on a gold standard) to a still lesser complex one 100% based on the metal itself. Then, and only then, will silver be money again.

As long as people will have faith in paper, e.g. the reprensation of the value, the REAL value will not shine as much.

That said, I think a ratio of 10:1 or less could happen. But for that two scenarios:

1) The actual system collapses and people use silver as money;
2) New technologies and silver shortage gets worse.

Guess what: I am silver long... just a bit (I'm poor), but still! smilies/smiley.gif
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 09, 2012
HonestAbe, the Silver Purchase Act was undoubtedly a very important event, but (as I learned from "The Silver Stealers") the damage done to China, Mexico, India, the Philippines and other silver-money economies occurred many years sooner - in the early 1920's, when Britain DUMPED all of the silver it had looted from India at the end of World War I.

China's and India's economies were destroyed shortly after that which (in fact) was the REAL cause of the Great Depression - not the phony nonsense of a U.S. stock market crash which was a CONSEQUENCE of the destruction of those economies.
written by HonestAbe, January 09, 2012
balz, you need to consider the effect that the US Silver Purchase Act of 1934 had on global silver supply and price. By 1938 it was noted that the USA had acquired 40,000 tons (1.2+ billion ounces) of silver in the open market. This forced two countries (China and Mexico) off a silver backed currency and also killed global monetary demand for silver. The Silver Purchase Act of 1946 made the USA the biggest buyer of silver in the world. In the 1960's the USA began unloading the accumulated horde of silver into the market.
written by balz, January 09, 2012
I agree with you up to a point. When GSR began to rise in the 1800s, what had changed in term of the natural ratio? Nothing.

The only thing that had changed was that silver was demonetized by Great Britain and its empire and people were dumping "useless" silver in exchange for gold-backed paper-bills.

This is why I believe that, if not for shortage, the only way we will see this ratio again is if silver becomes money again.

And I believe this can happen.
Jeff Nielson
written by Jeff Nielson, January 09, 2012
Balz, I'm going to have to disagree with you. The fact that we have long-term data available with respect to the price ratio AND the supply ratio; and the fact that they virtually mirror each other is the most powerful empirical evidence we could have of an EQUAL PREFERENCE (in proportional terms).

When there is a fixed supply-ratio AND where there are equal preferences then the price ratio MUST closely mirror the supply ratio (over the long term). Thus the WORST-CASE SCENARIO for silver is an expectation of a reversion to that 15:1 ratio.

However because BOTH the relative supply of silver has declined radically AND there has been a marked increase in our PREFERENCE for silver, the only rational expectation is that the price ratio will go MUCH lower than 15:1 - at least unless/until there were some shift backward in preferences.

written by balz, January 09, 2012
Very good text. I had some thinking myself about the GSR. I did some research and it turns out other metals have ratio that are completely disconnected from gold or silver prices.

My point is this: it is not because Gold to Silver Ratio is 17 that gold should be 17 times more expensive than silver.

The question is not how much there is in the crust, but how it is valuable.

And the only reason the price ratio was close to the natural ratio was because both were money and store of wealth.

Now, silver is only an industrial metal (or mostly) while a lot of people still dream of a gold standard.

To conclude: the only way silver will get to that 17 to 1 ratio (and overshoot it!) will be when silver will be money again. And this will be when the whole system will collapse.

One day you have an industrial metal.
The next day you can buy the world.

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