A difference of opinion is emerging in the markets over whether silver can extend its recent strong gains. The price of the metal rose more than 6% on Friday and another 4% early Monday to top $21 per ounce for the first time since 2014 as investors sought havens in the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote on June 23. It ended the day up 2.9%, and is up 19% since before the referendum.
Gold, which has risen nearly 8% post-Brexit, and silver are the best performing assets in the first half of the year, rising 26% and 38% respectively. Platinum prices are also rallying.
Silver has, however, already given back half of the 8.6% of gains it made in the last two trading days.
So is there a silver lining for the precious metal? Yes, according to the ‘Macro Man’ blog. It reckons uncertainty in Europe caused by the Brexit vote will continue. Add into the mix fears over Italian banks, and investors will continue to flock to silver and other precious metals.
“There is a growing demand for assets such as precious metals and linked instruments,” it writes. “With real interest rates tumbling and political uncertainty high, this is perhaps a perfect storm for this complex.”
It says Standard Life’s decision to gate its £2.9 billion UK commercial property fund is “another sign of real economic damage being inflicted by the Brexit fiasco”, adding that the EU is standing “with a loaded pistol cocked and firmly aimed at Italian banks.”
Therefore, silver’s recent explosion to the upside will continue.
“Although it’s rarely a good idea to buy these instruments right after an explosive upside move, that resistances are being breached with relative ease is a strong signal that the trend is real,” says Macro Man.
“Given the trends that appear most likely in both the political and monetary spheres, it looks as if anarchy in the UK and elsewhere could be the best possible outcome for the metals.”
But others aren’t convinced.
Julian Jessop from Capital Economics, which had a price target of $21 per ounce for the metal for the whole of this year, thinks the surge in silver is based on two shaky foundations.
“First, the price of silver often behaves like a more volatile version of the price of gold, which has continued to grind higher after the UK vote to leave the EU (‘Brexit’). This is no longer mainly about safe-haven demand (indeed, equity markets have rebounded). Instead, it reflects the further lowering of expectations for interest rates, particularly in the US. This support could therefore crumble if stronger US economic data help to bring Fed rate hikes back on to the agenda.”
Second, silver has benefited from its use in manufacturing. At least half the demand for silver comes from industrial uses, compared to less than a tenth for gold.
However, the gold/silver ratio is already back down to around 66.
Source: Capital Economics
The upshot, says Capital, is that, unless gold continues to climb, further large gains for silver will require sentiment towards industrial metals to improve sharply too. This looks unlikely, especially given signs that China’s economy is still struggling to rebound.
“To be clear, we remain positive on the medium-term outlooks for most industrial and precious metals, including gold,” Jessop adds. “But we would not be surprised to see a sharp correction in the price of silver in particular in the coming weeks.”
“In the commodity space all the focus is on silver,” adds Chris Weston, chief market strategist at UK spread better IG, “but I would urge not to chase this move from here and buy into weakness. However, put iron ore futures on the radar with the price up in 13 of the last 14 days.”
Courtesy: Oliver Morrison
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