Is a Silver Bull Market Underway?
It is silver's time to shine after the precious metal climbed for seven straight sessions to notch gains not seen in nearly five years, and analysts say its winning streak is far from over.
Silver prices rallied to almost $23 a troy ounce Thursday, after logging collective gains of 17 percent in over the past seven sessions, as a surge in gold prices and a more positive outlook for global industrial production boosted sentiment.
"It's something that you can't really ignore at the moment ... There is plenty of talk about silver being in a bull market now, after the recent gains, it does look like it is in really good stead," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at trading-firm IG Group.
Silver prices, which are closely correlated to gold, have followed steep falls in the yellow metal this year. Silver plunged 40 percent from the highs of at the start of the year to lows of $18.19 in June 28, while gold dropped 29 percent during the same period.
Demand for the precious metals, which are viewed as safe havens, waned as investors grew more confident over a more stable global economy. However, prices have recovered in recent weeks as Fed dialogue suggested tapering plans could be delayed and a flare up of violence in Egypt renewed appetite for the safe haven assets.
Analysts say the better than expected industrial output data from China last week, which stoked optimism for industrial metals, also helped sentiment.
"One of silver's biggest components for use is industrials and we think that that's really what has given silver a decent shovel off," said David Lennox, resources analyst at equity-research firm Fat Prophets, referring to better than expected industrial output in China recently and signs of a recovery in the eurozone.
Lennox said the factors that helped spur silver's rally will continue to push the metal higher this year, and said it could hit highs of $30 to $35 before the end of the year.
Furthermore, silver's dramatic rally over the past week is bound to attract investor attention and help fuel further gains, added.
"There is one good way to get yourself on the radar, and that's to have a good price rally, all the speculators pick up on it and it then become self-feeding," he added.
IG's Shamu forecasts that silver will reach $24-25 an ounce in the short term, and highs of $28 by the end of the year.
"It looks like the trend in the short term for gold and silver is upwards they've broken through some key resistance levels," said Shamu.
Andrew Su, CEO of Compass Global Markets, said he expects silver to hit $25 over the next month on the back of a rally in gold and to surge to around $28 at some point in October, once Fed tapering has begun.
"The fall below $20 was overdone and we are seeing the early stages of a sharp and strong reversal," he said.
Su said the only scenario that could derail silver's rally, in his view, would be if the U.S. economy posted spectacular growth figures and consequently faster than expected tapering.
"This would see gold once again come under pressure and would translate to price pressure of silver," he said, adding that this wasn't his base case.