The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and the ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR), both backed by physical holdings of the white metal, are each up more than 1% this year, but those gains are deceiving.
Over the past 90 days, the two silver ETFs are both down more than 12.5%, shedding previously sturdy performances even as demand is still rising due to increased consumption among emerging markets. Predictably, that means China.
“The demand for silver in China has peaked back in 2013 as it reached 6,270 tonnes. Last year, the demand slightly contracted, but this year, the demand could start rising again according to some analysts. This year, however, the IMF predicts China’s economy will rise by only 6.8% and in 2016 by 6.3%. If China’s economic growth slows down, as the IMF estimates, this could suggest the demand for silver in this country won’t expand,” writes Lior Cohen in a post on Seeking Alpha.
On the supply side, silver miners are finding less deposits and producers are expanding into new projects, which suggests that silver could be in shorter supply ahead. Additionally, there is the money valuation angle. As central banks keep dumping money into the world economy, paper money becomes less valuable and hard assets, like silver, become a better store of wealth. [Silver ETFs Looking Good]
Though silver miners are bringing less supply to market, the Global X Silvers Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) and the PureFunds ISE Junior Silver Small Cap Miners/Explorers ETF (NYSEArca: SILJ) have tumbled this year and are left waiting on industry consolidation as an upside catalyst. [Silver Miners ETFs Search for Support]