Forget gold. Silver investment demand has soared this year, pushing physically-backed silver exchange traded funds (ETFs) to record highs.

According to MarketWatch, silver investment is growing and demand is higher than ever now as the physically backed ETFs have taken center stage. Global holdings in silver-backed ETFs stand at more than 448,887,000 million ounces.

Although much of the demand has been driven by investment and ETFs, analysts suggest that increasing industrial demand also has a major role in pushing silver prices to 30-year highs.

In the past, silver had been considered almost solely as a precious metal, so relatively little research was devoted to discovering new industrial uses. In the past few decades, silver has been so inexpensive relative to other metals a wide range of new applications were discovered, says Patrick Heller forNumisMaster. [4 ETFs to Play Silver’s Shine.]

This could give the silver uptrend legs for the long term. Globally, a rising middle class is demanding new goods, better infrastructure and they’re moving to the cities. This alone could keep silver prices elevated if emerging markets continue to grow. By signing up for trading alerts, you can be notified of any shift in sentiment. [Commodity ETFs That Are Beating Gold.]

According to the ETF Analyzer, there are six silver ETFs, including these two physically-backed options:

  • iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV)
  • ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR)

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.