Now the two largest U.S.-listed exchange traded funds backed by physical silver holdings are at a crossroads. Silver and the corresponding ETFs could succumb to pressure being inflicted by bearish traders or a short-covering rally could spook shorts out of the white metal, as has been known to happen with silver.
At the moment, it looks like silver bears have the upper hand. “Open interest the Comex market climbed 3.9 percent to 212,249 futures and options contracts in the week ended Aug. 19, U.S. government data showed Aug. 22. That’s the highest since June 18, 2013. Money managers have boosted their short wagers for four straight weeks, the longest streak since April. Long holdings have declined for six weeks to a two-month low,” reports Debarati Roy for Bloomberg.
Giving investors even more pause about being long silver ETFs is this fact: From late May through late July, silver surged 10%, doubling the returns offered by gains in gold, bonds and stocks. The recent sell-off has erased a significant portion of those gains. [Summer Shine for Silver ETFs]
Another interesting scenario is afoot with silver ETFs. As has been seen during times of stress for gold ETFs, investors continue to stick by silver ETFs even as gold prices decline. The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) is down 2.4% over the past month, but since the start of the third quarter, GLD and SLV have seen inflows of $421.8 million and $150.7 million, respectively. [Faltering Demand Hinders Gold ETFs]
Over the same period, the ProShares UltraShort Silver (NYSEArca: ZSL) has lost $4.8 million in assets. ZSL, a double-leveraged play on the London fixing silver price, has done its job, soaring 13.5% over the past month.