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Win With Silver

Articles & Blogs - Silver Commentary

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With the Olympics just days away, and with precious metals sitting at very attractive prices (following this utterly absurd move lower), this is the perfect time to point out that when “going for gold” one can often be better off taking home silver.


As with many of the greatest, long-term investment opportunities, the reasons for investing in silver are numerous and obvious – and will (like all things) become much more obvious, in hindsight. The simplest place to start is with the patterns in price movement, and the reasons for those patterns.


A Tiny Market:


The gold sector is small, both in historical terms, and especially by our modern standards. The market-cap of every gold miner on the planet doesn't come close to equaling the market cap of the world's largest oil producer. Part of the reason this sector is so small (relatively) is a function of its status as a “precious” substance. You can't have a huge market for a commodity which exists in such relatively limited supply.


The other reason the gold sector is (artificially) small? The price-suppression by the anti-gold cabal of Western bankers. If gold were properly priced today, that is, at a price which maintains historical parallels to other prices, then the gold sector would instantly become several times bigger.


If the gold sector is “small”, then the silver sector is microscopic. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this would be to simply observe there are no “large-cap” silver miners, and only a handful of true “mid-cap” corporations. It is largely because of the disparity in size with precious metals markets that a very predictable, long-term pattern has emerged.


Because the gold market is small, in any significant rally “the trade gets crowded” (as those with more trading experience than myself like to say) very quickly, so whether you are a “value investor” or a short-term trader, it doesn't take long for gold to look “expensive”. This is when these same traders/investors invariably look to the next-best-thing: silver.


As “the ugly duckling”, silver always begins any major precious metals rally from a position of being significantly undervalued versus gold (by any historical standard). Thus, as the gold trade gets “crowded”, that “crowd” starts moving into the silver market. Then, because of the tiny size of this sector, silver immediately starts to outperform gold, since it takes a much smaller amount of investor dollars to power it higher.


This, in turn, brings in all the “momentum players”. Not only can they see the pattern on the current charts like anyone else, but unless they are totally ignorant about this sector, they will know about this repetitive, historical pattern. Thus, while the silver rally depends on the gold rally to drive it, silver will almost always make bigger, stronger moves during these “gold rallies”.


The Most Versatile Metal


Among the most bizarre arguments of precious metals bears, the bears argue that silver is not a “precious metal” because it is primarily an “industrial metal”. In other words, because silver is highly in demand for numerous industrial applications (due to a multitude of superior/unique properties), this makes silver “less precious”. Thus, presumably, if silver had absolutely no useful properties or applications the bears would then claim this makes silver “more precious”.


Silver does not depend on the recognition of gold bears for its status as a “precious metal”. It is beautiful, durable, and (relative to most other metals) rare. As those who read a recent, previous commentary know: silver is good money. It is a “precious metal” in every sense of the term. For rational individuals, the fact that this precious metal is highly in demand for its superior industrial properties makes silver more valuable, not less so.


While silver's use in photography is largely disappearing due to the switch to new, photographic technology, many other new applications more than make up for the decline in this one source of demand. Silver has superior conductivity, and superior reflective properties (making it the best material for all mirrors). It is a needed component in the newest, high-tech batteries. However, perhaps most importantly, silver's status as the best anti-bacterial agent available to industry have already resulted in several, huge new applications – with a virtually infinite number of new, anti-bacterial applications on the way.


Silver is now an ingredient in all the best sportswear, because silver inhibits the growth of bacteria, and it is bacteria which causes odor when we perspire. In just a few, short years demand for silver just in polyester sportswear has risen to 1,200 tons per year. However, with this silver being used to make 50 million tons of polyester sportswear each year, this illustrates how such uses require only trace amounts of silver. This additional fact is of critical importance.


Demand Unaffected by Price


As I just mentioned, silver is used in mere trace amounts as an anti-bacterial agent, and in most of its industrial applications. This has two, enormous consequences for the silver market, both now and in the future. First, being used in such small quantities, this silver is essentially “consumed”, since it is not economically feasible to recycle/recover any of this silver. Thus, unlike gold, every year the amount of available silver in the world declines.


The second consequence is that any “good” consumed in small amounts (per application) is “inelastic” with respect to price. What that economic jargon means is that even large increases in price will have virtually no effect on demand. For example, with silver constituting only 1/40,000th part in the production of polyester sportswear (by weight) even if the price of silver were to increase 1,000% over-night, it would have little impact on the demand for silver in this application. Indeed, demand for silver is arguably more inelastic than perhaps any other substance on the planet (including oil).


The combination of rapidly rising demand and extreme inelasticity with respect to price is a bullish combination superior to that of any other commodity. If this was not already enough to lure in new investors, then certainly the consequences of decades of price-fixing should do it.


Inventories Gone


It is an elementary aspect of supply/demand analysis that any/every good which is under-priced will be over-consumed. Therefore, even without the abundance of evidence that the silver market has been ruthlessly manipulated, we could deduce the same conclusion – simply by looking at silver inventories (see “History of Silver, Part III: Inventories Gone”). From 1990 to 2005, total inventories of silver plummeted by 90%. The fact that total, global inventories could completely collapse in just 15 years gives us some indication of how grossly-undervalued silver was (is).


Then, in 2005, something remarkable occurred – according to the CPM Group, one of two quasi-official sources for information on the gold and silver markets. Silver inventories suddenly reversed themselves and started rising, despite the fact that demand remained strong and supply-growth remained relatively fixed at roughly 2% per year.


How did this totally contradictory set of events occur? Let's start with the silver “bullion-ETF's” which were just beginning to get popular in 2005. By remarkable “coincidence”, the supposed “rise” in silver inventories has been matched virtually ounce-for-ounce with the growth in the holdings of “bullion-ETF's” like SLV. Or is it a coincidence?


In fact, the CPM Group tells us that every ounce of silver “held” by so-called bullion-ETF's is part of current, silver inventories: the silver currently for sale in global markets. Oblivious to this fact, investors continue to pour their money into SLV – despite the fact that every bar supposedly “held” by SLV can be bought by anyone.


Two-thirds of total, official “inventories” of silver supposedly belong to the unit-holders of “bullion-ETF's”. With industrial and investment demand still rising, and with new supplies totally inadequate to meet demand, the sham involving silver inventories cannot continue. Some one will end up holding/owning the silver supposedly held by SLV, and someone will end up holding nothing but paper IOU's. Given that you cannot manufacture polyester sportswear with paper IOU's, guess who the big losers will be when this scam is finally exposed?


Putting all these pieces together, we have a very tiny market – where any/every rally in the gold market launches silver on another, big bull-run. This same metal is the most-versatile of all metals, with new silver patents exceeding those for any other metal, leading to new industrial uses every year, and ever-increasing demand. Meanwhile that industrial demand is amplified by the biggest surge in investor demand for silver in several decades.


Because the demand for silver is almost totally unaffected by price, unlike virtually every other commodity on the planet, there is no price ceiling for silver, at which point demand would sag. For instance, with oil, a mere doubling of the price in 2008 was enough to severely reduce demand – despite its near-infinite uses/needs. This is because oil demand is much more sensitive to price than silver.


Decades of price-suppression by the anti-gold bankers' cabal have resulted in the extreme over-consumption of silver – wiping out global inventories. To hide the collapse of inventories, all of the silver supposedly owned by the unit-holders of “bullion-ETF's” has been added to official inventories – and ultimately only one entity will end up owning that silver – while two-thirds of the “holders” of that silver will end up with nothing but the paper-promises of bankers.


Meanwhile, the trace-uses of silver result in vast quantities of silver being “consumed” every year, permanently reducing the amount of available silver in the world – unlike gold, where all quantities ever mined are available or recoverable.


Thus, we are headed for nothing less than a total crisis in the silver market, when the real inventories of silver are exhausted, and people find out that two-thirds of current “inventories” are claimed by (at least) two “owners”. When that crisis occurs, the price of silver will rocket higher – and (unlike any/every other commodity) silver's price-inelasticity means that it can increase to many multiples of its current price, while having virtually no affect on industrial demand.


The thousands of Olympians about to converge upon Vancouver make no secret about their strong preference for “gold” over “silver”. However, for the world's other group of individuals questing for gold and silver, there is nothing “second best” about holding silver.

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Comments (3)Add Comment
GINGER60
...
written by GINGER60, January 27, 2010
Can't disagree, wouldn't touch SLV with a ten foot pole, been buying CEF.A
everytime it dips below 7% premium. unfortunately thats not often
JsJ
...
written by JsJ, January 26, 2010
LOL, love it!
Brian Boutilier
...
written by brian boutilier, January 26, 2010
Agree Jeff. Fundamentals are very strong, and right now the big banks have beat down silver spot again. A good entry point. Good timing on the article.

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