There have been lots of things happening in the silver market lately all of which reinforce my bull case for being long. Long time readers know I have been pounding the table of silver for the better part of 2 years now. The one aspect of the market that I have concentrated on is the supply/demand side of the equation. It stands to reason that with some 2 billion souls entering the middle class they will all want cell phones and other modern toys. All of these toys involve silver to some extent in their production.
The supply of silver is not unlimited and very few miners solely look for the shiny metal, it is typically a byproduct of copper and gold mines. Silver is also not recycled the way many other metals are which means it is used once and never again and that is unlike many other metals that are usually recycled. I believe that the reason people believed silver had an unlimited supply is because it was so cheap, but now we find out, I have known for awhile, that the prices were manipulated by 2 big banks, HSBC and JPM. This is not conspiracy talk anymore as 2 lawsuits have been filed and Bart Chilton has admitted the manipulation.
Moving forward I believe we will continue to see higher prices as the shorts cover in the silver market. I also think that COMEX does not have enough supply to meet physical demand for the metal if investors want to take possession, which they will eventually. That means there may not be enough silver at any price to meet demand. It sounds unbelievable, but it could happen. I would not bet the farm on the COMEX thing being the driver, but I would bet the farm on Asia and India driving demand well into the future.
The other very obvious factor in the recent rise in silver prices is the dollar. In the US we have to ask if silver is really climbing or is the dollar just tanking so hard making it more expensive to us. Frankly, it is both things happening at once which should worry my fellow dollar bulls out there. I think the dollar will break its all-time low in the near future thanks to Mr. Bernanke. You cannot print as much money as you want without repercussions and the repercussions of massive printing are the dollar losing much of its value. Out of everything happening out there right now the dollar’s slide is what scares me the most and it should scare you too.
Silver is the barometer of inflation, in my book at least, and the rise in price is signaling trouble ahead. Everyone believes the dollar will always be there in its current form and nothing like Zimbabwe or Argentina can happen in the good ole US of A, but bad things can and do happen here all the time and with an obscene monetary policy that Brazil, Russia, China and now Germany are criticizing bad things are sure to happen here. I would be a buyer of silver not just to profit from it, but to hedge my wealth with it. That means owning it physically, not in a brokerage account or in storage somewhere, but where I can see it. If the dollar breaks its all-time low things may get ugly and as we buy up our locally produced products we will see what the inflationary pressure is like when we are forced to buy, suddenly, very expensive Chinese goods.
Doom and gloom you are thinking, maybe, but I prefer to say this is a realistic situation now. I know I would rather be prepared instead of just hoping things will work out. In my experience hope is a wonderful thing, but hope isn’t reality. Reality is that thing outside your window and our reality may just turn into a nightmare and suddenly moving from the city to the country, farmland specifically, with a shot gun and you silver and gold hoard may suddenly make sense. After all, this is the advice some hedge fund managers gave their wealthier clients in recent years.
Buy silver on any dip and I am sure that in 5 years, or much sooner, you will be extremely happy. As for equities, well, if you think these gains are real you are delusional. Ben is simply propping up prices to make people think they are wealthy, but if the dollar keeps falling at some point the rise in equity prices will not offset the loss of purchasing power of your dollars, just ask any Zimbabwean about that. They had the best performing market over the last 10 years, but would you be holding their currency? I think not. Silver, gold or other commodities are your hedge, not stocks and not TIPS.