Precious metals are among this year’s top performing commodities with the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR) being leaders of that charge. As a result, holdings of the white metal at silver ETFs are swelling.
Silver and other precious metals enjoyed safe-haven demand as the equities market plunged into a correction. The metal also maintained its momentum as the Federal Reserve lowered its interest rate outlook to only two hikes this year from a previously expected four rate hikes. Additionally, with the dovish Fed stance, the U.S. dollar weakened, which made USD-denominated silver cheaper for foreign buyers and a better store of value for U.S. investors.
“Silver was essentially forgotten by much of the investment community for a long time, thereby creating a great value opportunity,” said Gregor Gregersen, chief executive officer and founder of Singapore-based Silver Bullion Pte,” reports Bloomberg.
Looking ahead, the quickly expanding photovoltaic panel or solar industry could continue to drive silver demand. Installations and investment in solar panels, which incorporate silver for its electrical conductivity, are at record levels, reports Henry Sanderson for the Financial Times.
According to Thompson Reuters GFMS, the solar industry’s silver demand increased 23% last year, the second consecutive year of increases.
“With precious metals prices soaring this week, month, and year on the back of flailing Fed credibility, it is not entirely surprising that assets in exchange-traded funds backed by silver have swelled as investors seek a haven from global economic and political risk,” according to ZeroHedge.[related_stories]
Both SLV and SIVR are bullion-backed silver ETFs – the funds’ shares represent a physical holding in silver bars stored in London, U.K. bank vaults. Potential investors should be aware that physically backed ETFs are taxed as collectibles at a rate of 28% instead of long-term equity rate of 15%.
Silver bullion prices are affected by a weakening U.S., and the global silver ETFs also enjoy the positive forex effects of a depreciating greenback – a strengthening foreign currency means that returns are augmented when converted to a weaker U.S. dollar.
For more information on the silver market, visit our silver category.
iShares Silver Trust