Silver prices have been pushed below $30 an ounce in the recent sell-off as investors raise cash in the wake of the collapse of commodities broker MF Global. Europe’s debt crisis and fears of deflation have hurt the white metal, but some see a buying opportunity at these price levels.

The latest decisions from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank to refrain from additional monetary stimulus have pushed silver prices lower. Last Wednesday, silver prices slumped 7% in one day, reports Myra P. Saefong at MarketWatch, and futures are currently trading under $30 per ounce. Silver has lost about 11% for the month. [Silver ETFs Tarnished by Economic Outlook, Liquidity]

“In the latter half of the year, panic selling at both the personal level and institutional level brought silver down as investors had increased anxiety over world economic events,”Paul Mladjenovic, author of “Precious Metals Investing for Dummies,” said. [Silver ETFs Give it All Back]

Gold is still moving incrementally between small losses and gains, but the industrial aspect of silver has worked against this metal for now.

“Since silver is also an industrial metal and silver is a smaller market, panic selling has a more pronounced effect and the moves are more violent,” Mladjenovic said in the MarketWatch report. [Commodities Sell-Of Crushes Gold, Oil ETFs]

According to some analysts, if the precious metal can close out the year at around $31 an ounce, it is a good sign. However, if silver closes out 2011 under $31, caution should be taken when investing in silver. The long term trend could be over and support won’t come until prices reach the $20 level, according to James Carrillo, senior portfolio adviser for Swiss America Trading Corporation.

Silver experienced a massive rally in late 2010 and 2011 as some small investors turned to “poor man’s gold” to hedge inflation risks and financial uncertainty unleashed by the Eurozone debt crisis. Supply fears seemed to be one driver of the price spike, but silver has pulled back sharply from $50 an ounce.

Some of the largest ETFs tracking silver include iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR).