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Precious Metals Buying Guide
The Coming Silver Squeeze
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History Suggests Price Objective of At Least $140
By Stefan Gleason and Seth Van Brocklin
Investor Question: Can you recommend a highly liquid investment that offers privacy, portability, is essential in a variety of applications, will protect me from ongoing dollar devaluation, and offers the potential for spectacular returns?
Short answer: Silver
Now for the longer answer. The supply and demand picture for silver is, in our view, extraordinarily bullish. Meanwhile, a growing global scramble for hard assets to protect against currency debasement only adds to the bull case. The silver price – still well below its all-time nominal high from 1980 – seems destined to rise dramatically.
Historical precedent coupled with current silver fundamentals point to the likelihood of an explosive super spike in the silver price and a high price plateau beyond that. The last super spike in silver began in 1979, after silver rose steadily from a starting price below $2.00 per ounce. After a decade of gains, silver traded at around $5.50 per ounce. Just 12 months later, in January 1980, silver recorded a blow-off top at $49.45 – an incredible 800% upsurge over the course of a single year!
Of course, circumstances were different then. The Hunt brothers attempted to corner the market. (There was no true shortage, and their silver squeeze was easily thwarted by regulators who abruptly changed the rules on the paper trading market.) Double-digit inflation was raging, but the Federal Reserve actually responded by raising rates dramatically. And the market collapsed as spectacularly as it had risen.
Silver's Fundamental Picture Looks Far More Bullish Than 1979
The fundamentals today auguring for far higher silver prices are far more compelling and more sustainable than they were in the 1970s. A corner may well be developing in the silver market, but it's the whole world doing the cornering this time! Some key points to consider:
Solar panel production is skyrocketing worldwide,
and silver is an integral component.
More than 800 million ounces are consumed each year, most of which come from new mine supply. Unlike other metals, silver is consumed in very small increments, making recycling very difficult. In other words, once silver is used, it is usually gone forever.
At the same time, silver is generally an incidental cost in the products that use it – such that a dramatic increase in the price will not necessarily cause substitution. A hint of shortages could cause industry users suddenly to hoard the metal and drain remaining available inventories.
Silver-Dependent Industries Begin to Hoard as a Dramatic Silver Squeeze Forms
With investors and industry fighting to get their hands on a metal that is now in a structural supply deficit, silver analyst David Morgan projects that a "demand squeeze" on silver will lead to an explosive move in prices, the magnitude of which will "make the tech bubble look like a warm-up."
Forward-thinking silver-dependent manufacturers are moving with deliberate speed to secure direct access to mine production so the expected squeeze does not suddenly leave them high and dry. One silver minting insider, Reed Larsen, told us that "At the first whiff of shortages, industrial giants worldwide, who have billions of dollars invested in infrastructure, will lock up the future supplies they need at any cost. It could eventually be difficult to get the metal at any price, which is why we have already started locking up all the silver in the ground we need to serve our rapidly growing pool of bullion investors."
Silver Price Suppression Schemes Will Eventually Unravel
Silver prices have so far been contained below their 1980 highs due largely to central bank and government dishoarding over several decades – combined with financial shenanigans. Big-name financial institutions – in fact, some of the biggest names of all – have, with the blessing and encouragement of government, created a paper trading market for silver based on promises that are literally undeliverable.
According to silver expert Jeffrey Christian of the CPM Group, the
derivativesDerivativesA financial instrument derived from a cash market commodity, futures contract, or other financial instrument. Derivatives can be traded through futures or Over-the-Counter. For example, futures contracts are derivatives of physical commodities, options on futures are derivatives of futures contracts. trading market for silver is fully 100 times bigger than the physical market to which it is supposedly tied! This kind of
leverageLeverage The use of a small initial investment, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return in relation to one's investment, to control a much larger investment, or to reduce one's own liability for any loss. in any market is generally considered reckless – a situation that could lead to a run on physical silver if just a few more buyers stand for delivery than normal.
Banks and related players are selling contracts for silver they don’t own and never intend to acquire. It has the effect of soaking up demand that would otherwise go into the real, physical market.
The silver market is dominated by a concentrated short position. What’s unique about the short position in silver is that no other commodity market is being sold down by a total of just four traders to such an extent. This concentration makes manipulation quite possible.
The institutional big boys who are influencing the silver market with gigantic short positions can continue getting away with it only so long as they are never forced to
deleverageDeleverage An attempt to decrease financial leverage. If leverage does not further growth as planned, the risk can become too much for the company to bear. In these situations, all the institution can do is delever(age) by paying off accrued debt. If unable to delever when needed, there's a significant default risk present.
Also called degearing. and make good on their promises – to cover their short sales with actual, physical silver. Whistleblower Harvey Organ stated in a recent interview, "The game ends when the people that own all these paper obligations say 'enough, I'm going to be taking delivery'... The Comex [futures exchange] will be drained, and just about every physical facility globally will be drained."
Why $140 Per-Ounce Silver May Be Too Conservative Price Projection
Exactly when a full-fledged “run on the bank” in silver will occur is difficult to predict. How high prices will ultimately go in the silver squeeze that ensues is impossible to say. But it is reasonable to expect that long-term investors who buy physical silver at today’s prices will be richly rewarded. .
We believe that sometime in the relatively near future, the paper market for trading silver will rupture, taking prices to multiples of where they're at today, as a mad scramble for limited quantities of actual, physical silver ensues. To equal the 1980 high in 2011 dollars (based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index) silver would have to reach $132.00. That is our minimum target price.
What about more realistic measures of inflation? (There’s no perfectly precise measure, but the government’s methodology has been corrupted by efforts to understate price-level increases.) Some argue that based on alternative inflation measures, silver prices would have to get up to $300 just to equal their 1980 peak in real terms.
Because currency depreciation is an ongoing process, any price targets based on inflation adjustments will need to be revised upward over time. And because the fundamentals for silver are more compelling now than ever before, it's quite conceivable that silver prices will move much higher in real terms than they did in January 1980.
In fact, a few well-regarded analysts have argued silver could rise as high as $1,000 someday. Predictions like these might seem outlandish to most, but there is really no telling what could happen during a currency crisis – especially if widespread physical shortages develop in this vital metal.
Silver is a notoriously volatile metal and can be expected to pull back swiftly and severely after any manic move. However, unlike the last time around, which saw silver give up the gains produced by the super spike (with sub-$4 levels seen in the 1990s), this move likely isn’t going to be a fluke.
The supply shock that’s coming will affect the market on a more permanent basis. The “poor man’s gold” could collapse from a hypothetical peak of $300 back down to $100, for example, but we aren’t likely ever to return to the conditions that allow for silver to trade at today’s low prices.
Not Too Late to Beat the Coming Silver Mania – Yet
If you're not on board with a position in physical silver bullion, there is still time to buy before the mania phase begins. But there may not be a whole lot of time left. Once the silver squeeze begins and what little inventories still exist are depleted, it may become next to impossible to buy silver through normal channels at a fair price.
One of the best ways to get started, as we have always emphasized, is by accumulating one-ounce silver rounds/coins and pre-1965 90% silver coins in your physical possession. They are easy to handle, easy to sell or barter with, and can be obtained at low premiums. Contact us as indicated below to get started.
What's next to do?
Stefan Gleason, President
Independent Living Bullion