Home Economy Gold is at record highs but what about silver?

Gold is at record highs but what about silver?


(NewsNation) — Gold prices are at all-time highs but another precious metal, silver, has also seen its value rise recently.

Since the end of February, the spot price of silver is up nearly 13%, going from $22.72 an ounce to $25.65 on Tuesday. Silver is now up more than 7% from the start of the year.

The latest uptick has coincided with soaring gold prices but the two metals are different assets for several reasons.

For one, silver is not as rare as gold, which makes it less expensive.

And unlike gold, which has limited uses beyond jewelry and investing, roughly half of all silver is used in industrial applications, particularly consumer electronics.

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“If it has an on/off button, it’s likely that silver is inside,” The Silver Institute notes.

Why does the price of silver fluctuate?

Because it heavily relies on industrial demand, silver tends to be more closely tied to the economy than gold. In other words, while gold is often seen as a safe haven during economic downturns, silver’s value is more likely to ebb and flow as economies do.

That’s one of the reasons silver is cheaper but also more volatile than gold. On any given day, the volatility in silver prices can be two to three times greater than that of gold, according to Morgan Stanley.

Central banks also approach gold and silver differently. Much of the recent resilience in gold prices is because central banks, particularly China’s, have been on a gold-buying spree. Silver is comparatively less popular as a reserve.

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Both metals have been in demand among everyday Americans. In September, Costco began selling gold bars. Over the quarter, CFO Richard Galanti said members had purchased “over $100 million” of gold. The big-box retailer is also having success with silver, which it now offers.

“(E-commerce) showed strength in several areas, led by sales of gold, and, very recently, silver,” Galanti said on a March earnings call.

Why are silver and gold prices rising?

Anticipated interest rate cuts later this year have contributed to the recent rally. Typically, when yields fall the two precious metals become more appealing to investors compared to alternative investments like bonds which pay interest.

Globally, silver demand is forecasted to reach 1.2 billion ounces this year, which would mark the second-highest level recorded, the Silver Institute said in a January report.

If the economic backdrop turns more favorable later in the year, silver investment stands to benefit.

For now, the current silver price is still well below the record of more than $49 an ounce in April 2011.

Meanwhile, gold prices hit another all-time high Monday, propelled by U.S. interest rate cut expectations and the metal’s appeal as a safe haven asset, CNBC reported.

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