While gold and silver have not consistently benefited from inflationary signals over the past 12 months, it appears that they have become more sensitive to that prospect. We think inflation is becoming prevalent and broad-based and is giving off signs of being entrenched. However, bearish sentiment toward gold and silver has been in place for so long that speculative interest has been slow in returning.
On the other hand, it is possible that surging bitcoin prices have siphoned flight to quality and inflationary buying fuel. According to legendary fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, cryptocurrencies have been the best inflation hedge over the last two years. While both gold and silver have recently seen consistent outflows from ETF instruments, we view that as a lagging indicator for prices. Small investors are a key component of daily flows in and out of ETFs, and they tend to participate near the bottoms and tops of the market.
It is significant that the US infection rate appears to have plateaued at a lower level, that the jobs market continues to improve in the US, and the that US is apparently closer to another stimulus/spending package. We are of a mind that inflation is beginning to garner a foothold. Indications that the Delta wave is coming under control could ramp up energy demand and send prices to even higher levels. This could also pressure the dollar and improve the chances that the world’s two largest gold consumers (China and India) see their demand for gold and silver recover in a more definitive fashion.
The fact that silver has outperformed gold over the past three weeks and that it has managed to rally in the face of stronger dollar action and has largely discounted the ebb and flow of flight to quality sentiment suggest it may be a more direct inflation hedge than gold. It should also be noted that silver ETFs maintain a net positive year-to-date inflow of 1.8%, while gold ETFs have seen an 8.2% contraction. A consistent risk-on mood in the marketplace, even higher energy prices, and signs of economic progress could see nearby gold prices back above $1925 and nearby silver back to $28.00.
Total Known Silver ETF Holdings
Originally Published on October 22, 2021
Charts Source: Bloomberg
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