Thursday, June 30, 2016

Silver Surges To 21-Month Highs, Gold-Ratio Crashes

I've posted ad nauseum that silver is more volatile than gold.  When precious metals are in a bear market, gold prices drop, while silver prices drop even more.  When precious metals are in a bull market, gold prices rise, while silver prices rise even more.  Traders call silver's higher volatility as having a higher "beta."

I also follow the gold/silver ratio, which is simply the price of spot gold divided by the price of spot silver.  Historically, the ratio is around 15, as that is the approximate ratio of the respective metals in the ground--silver is 15 times more plentiful than gold in the earth's crust (irrespective of above-ground supplies for both).  Hence, the price of gold should be 15 times higher.  Recently, the gold/silver ratio has been hovering as high as 90, which means both gold and silver have been suffering through a brutal bear market, which normally means they are near their secular bottoms.  This should have been viewed as a tail wind, because as the ratio shrinks, that means silver prices are rising faster than gold prices.

Note that the ratio tends to overshoot both high and low.  For example, as the ratio drops toward 15, it most likely will drop below 15 on its way down.  That's extremely bullish for silver.  I calculated a gold price of $6300 and silver of $400 in this 2010 post here.

This is an understandable rationale, as both metals have been under-appreciated, and under-owned, especially by western institutions (they are certainly appreciated by Asian households).

As 2016 has unfolded, especially recently with Brexit, this exact scenario has materialized.  Gold has surged since the December 2015 lows, while silver has performed even better.

In conclusion, and for the math-challenged, if one believes the precious metals sector is in the early innings of a major advance (bull market), one wants to buy gold.  And one should buy even more silver.  Just make sure you have the stomach to ride out the roller coaster, because markets don't go up or down in a straight line.  Be confident you are on the right side of the trade, and continue to accumulate on the price dips.  As long as governments borrow and spend paper currencies they can never repay, you want to hold money that has no liability attached to it.

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