Even as their gold counterparts rally, the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR) and other silver exchange traded products are scuffling this year.

SLV and SIVR, which are backed by physical silver bullion, have traded slightly lower since the start of the fourth quarter and year-to-date performances for the silver ETFs are well behind competing gold funds.

“While gold yesterday touched 5-week highs against the Dollar at $1356 – heading for its highest quarterly finish since the 2013 gold crash – silver prices managed only a 2.5-week high, dipping today to $16.46 to head for a 2.6% loss from New Year 2018,” reports BullionVault. “With silver easing back in lock-step with gold today, the Gold/Silver ratio – which measures how many ounces of silver you could get for an ounce of gold – held at 81.3, just shy of this month’s peak.”

Looking For Catalysts

Silver could get another boost if gold prices start rebounding in earnest. Indian demand is vital for gold because the country is the second-largest buyer of the yellow metal behind China. India, one of the world’s largest gold consumers, could be set to lower its import tax on bullion, which could be major catalyst for gold prices.

“With industrial use accounting for 55% of annual demand according to Washington-base trade group the Silver Institute, consumption of the metal is more exposed to poor economic growth and sentiment than gold, which now finds only 10% of demand from industrial applications,” according to BullionVault. “Last time the Gold/Silver Ratio held above 80 was in 2016, when the growth rate in world No.2 economy China slowed.”

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