In March 2008, silver hit a peak before falling nearly 60%. In 2009, the metal and its related ETF appear to have been focusing on polishing up. Lara Crigger for Hard Assets Investor reports that the metal has earned back 24% in the first quarter alone this year.
Silver is more of a quiet metal, compared to gold, which gets the bulk of the media attention. But silver is useful as a store of value and is used as an industrial and monetary asset. Here is are some of silver’s diverse uses:
- A main ingredient for several industrial applications; demand in industry has risen every year since 2001
- It is the best electrical and thermal conductor, the metal is perfect for high-performance electronics or high-voltage circuits
- The metal is even a natural biocide, which is handy in sterilization and treating wounds
- Silver’s high reflectivity makes it a must for fine-precision optics, and photosensitive silver compounds are the engine behind photographic film
Demand is also expected to take off as the metal is a main component in many green technologies, as well. Things like photovoltic cells for solar energy, water purification plants, and silver-zinc batteries are dependent upon silver. It can be described as a “clean-green” metal.
- iShares COMEX Silver Trust (SLV): up 20.7% year-to-date
For full disclosure, some of Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of SLV.