In March and February, gold prices — whether U.S., Indian or Chinese — were the standout performers, with some even nearly doubling in value as investors stocked up on the hard currency as a haven from a falling U.S. dollar and other global economic turmoil.
But that’s not the case this month. Gold lost value in all the markets we track, a predictable pullback from its runaway performance during most of the first quarter. The precious metal that’s pacing the globe and keeping our sub-index positive is silver, helping the sub-index achieve a 1.2% increase.
Sure, the platinum group metals were predictably positive, too, but silver’s unique position as both an investment and industrial metal allowed it to gain in all the markets we track and its future potential is stronger as safe haven status doesn’t make up such a huge part of its value as with its cousin, gold.
Secondary Mining, Primary Industrial Usage
Silver is mined alongside just about every industrial metal in the world and selling it has been padding the profits of base metal miners during the first quarter. U.S.-based primary silver producer Coeur Mining reported Q1 production of 3.4 million ounces of silver and slightly more than 78,000 ounces of gold. That was in line with expectations, as the company transitions to lower-tonnage, higher-grade, higher-margin underground operations from two ore sources, Guadalupe and Independencia in Mexico.
The electronics uses of silver are pushing miners to bet their future on the metal as its still the world’s best conductor of electrical current and heat. Electronics in automobiles such as Tesla Motors‘ new Model 3 “affordable” electric car will require more silver than any automobile on the road today. And electronics are already invading the comfort of our conveyances more than ever before.
When you add electrical transmission and use in renewables to silver’s demand side equation it’s easy to understand why its global prices could easily keep rising independently of its performance as an investment.
What This Means for Metal Buyers
Continue to expect silver and PGMs to experience strong demand independent of investment potential. Gold could still gain back its losses but its prospects, long-term, are not as strong.
For all Global Precious prices, sign up for MetalMiner membership.