The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the largest physically backed gold-related exchange traded fund, has traded modestly higher this year while the Aberdeen Standard Phys PalladiumShrs ETF (NYSEArca: PALL) is continuing its jaw-dropping ascent.
However, the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) is proving to be a dud among precious metals ETFs to start 2019. SLV, the largest physical silver ETF, entered Wednesday with a year-to-date loss of 0.60%.
“Analysts say silver is getting hit from at least two sides as investors are turned off by its status as both a haven and industrial commodity,” according to Bloomberg. “Optimism over trade talks is boosting equities and curbing demand for shelters from market turmoil. At the same time, caution over the broader economic outlook dims industrial-demand prospects at a time when silver is plentiful.”
Silver’s slack start to 2019 is betraying what were optimistic forecasts for the metal heading into the year after a rough 2018. A more accomodative Federal Reserve would bolster the case for silver. Looking ahead, silver and other precious metals may continue to face an uphill struggle as the Federal Reserve is expected to keep hiking interest rates, which makes non-yielding assets like commodities less attractive.
Another Betrayal for Silver
Making SLV’s slow start to 2019 potentially more concerning is the ETF’s reputation for performing well in January.