The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and the ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR) have posted double-digit losses over the past three months, but silver’s recent struggles could give way to higher prices in the months ahead.
“Often viewed by investors as a leveraged play on gold, silver is an attractive longer term portfolio diversifier in our view, with a low correlation to most other major asset classes yet offering protection from currency debasement risk and inflation,” said ETF Securities in a new research note.
However, it is silver’s perceived correlation to gold that has plagued the white metal. The SPDR Gold Share (NYSEArca: GLD) is down 5% over the past 90 days and with Comex gold futures flirting with $1,250 per troy ounce, some market participants are saying $1,200 an ounce could be right around the corner. [Gold Miners ETFs Struggling Again]
Silver remains inexpensive relative to gold as the gold/silver ratio currently resides at its highest levels since 2010.
“For the few years prior the 2008 crisis, the gold/silver ratio hovered around 50. Since 2008, the ratio has reached a peak near85 and low near 32. With a median near 59, as the global economy continues to recover, the 50 area in the gold/silver is an area that is likely to be revisited in our view, with silver price upside the key driver,” said ETF Securities.
While investors have not been shy about dumping gold ETFs when the yellow metal’s price declines, silver demand remains robust. Identifiable investment in silver surged 75% last year, led by India, according to ETF Securities. India, previously the world’s largest gold consumer, imposed an import tariff on gold as a way of lowering its current account deficit, prompting gold consumers there to favor silver. [Gold ETFs Look to India for Help]