The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) and ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR), which are backed by physical silver bullion, are slumping. Over the past month, the two silver exchange traded funds are lower by more than 7%, bringing their fourth-quarter losses to north of 12%.
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.
According to the Silver Institute, the largest single component of physical silver demand is industrial applications. About 55% of all silver consumed is for industrial use, including various segments like electronics, medicine, water purification, solar cells and chemical catalysts, among others.
“The longer-term chart doesn’t provide much insight for a 2018 forecast, either. Silver has been flattish for a good three years now, following a very severe bear market that ran from mid-2011 to the end of 2014,” reports ETF Daily News. “As long as silver does not rise above $21 it has not broken out in which case it is trendless or bearish.”
Some commodities market observers believe silver has more upside ahead of it and that the recent pop for the white metal is a sign of a potentially epic rally. That sentiment could be bolstered by the struggling dollar. While the dollar could rise in unison with interest rates, the pace of rate hikes in 2018 is expected to be gradual, as it was this year.
“If silver falls below $16 (and stays below 16 for at least 3 consecutive weeks) it is bearish,” according to ETF Daily News. “Between $16 and $21 silver is neutral. Moreover, $14 is a major price level as it marks the lows of the last 9 years. If silver sets a major double bottom between 14 and 15 in 2018 then (only then) will we become very bullish for the long term.”
Investors can tap silver equities with the Global X Silvers Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) and related ETFs. SIL, the largest silver miner-related ETF, tries to mirror the Solactive Global Silver Miners Total Return Index, which is also comprised of global silver miners.
For more information on the silver market, visit our silver category.