Bucking what had until today been a downtrend, silver exchange traded funds (ETFs) of all varieties have suddenly become upwardly mobile. What gives?

In the last month, silver ETFs have lost anywhere from 8%, in the case of physically-backed funds like iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) to 15%, in the case of Global X Silver Miners (NYSEArca: SIL).

Today, however, silver ETFs are up as much as 4%. It’s a nice turnaround from the drop, which also saw silver ETFs lost nearly 2% of their silver holdings as investors sold them off.

The moves can be attributed in part to the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep the $600 billion bond-buying program in place through June.

Silver ETFs were also delivered an assist by a broader decline in the markets this morning after Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) came back with disappointing fourth-quarter earnings.

Is this the start of a long-term uptrend? It could be. Silver is a bit of a chameleon: it’s a safe-haven metal in times of turmoil, which is part of what we’re seeing today, but in times of economic prosperity, it benefits from being an industrial metal. Industrial applications account for half of silver’s demand.

Analysts say that Asia is the biggest demand driver for silver; China’s demand for the metal has more than doubled in the last 10 years and became a net importer in 2007.