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.”