The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR) are still sporting solid year-to-date gains, but March has been unkind to silver and the related exchange traded funds, leaving some commodities market observers to ponder when the white metal will rebound in earnest.

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.

Bolstering the appeal for silver, the precious metal enjoys heavy industrial demand that benefits from an expanding global economy. Over 50% of global demand for silver comes from industries like chemicals, medicine and technological appliances.

If professional investors start moving away from equities, precious metals, including silver, could benefit.

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