Category Archives: Precious Metals

Factors Behind Undervalued Silver

Close up of Silver CoinsSilver is perhaps the most overlooked precious metal, as most people tend to focus more on gold and platinum. However, it has most of the same properties as gold, and even offers important technological and electronic applications.  

The first reported mining of silver took place in 3,000 BC in the regions where Turkey and Greece are located. Silver was first used as a currency in the form of coins in Greece around 400 BC, but it was the Spanish conquests of South America that saw a drastic shift in silver production, which lead to three countries, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia producing over 85%of the world’s supply.  

Demand for Silver

Silver is one of the most versatile metals in the world and is used in many applications. It is the second-most tensile and malleable metal after gold. A single ounce of silver can be molded into 8,000 feet of wire.

Industrial and technological usage account for over half of the demand for silver annually which is due to its versatile nature. Here are some applications which depend on silver:  

Industrial Applications

Silver is one of the best conductors of heat and electricity which makes it viable for use in many electrical applications. It is the primary element used in the production of solar panels. The metal is also heavily used in the automobile sector.

Jewelry

Few metals are better suited for jewelry than silver, which is what drives up demand in this sector. Shiny and resilient, the metal is quite easily molded into shapes, requires less upkeep and can last a long time.

Coins

Silver was once the most widely used form of currency in the shape of coins. It was used globally as an accepted medium of exchange until it was phased out gradually in the 19th Century.

Silverware

Silver has been the standard bearer for decor and cutlery since the 14th Century. Silverware lasts for generations and does not corrode.

Is Silver Undervalued

While gold netted a decent return of 13% in 2017, silver gave out a consistently negative return. Over the course of the last seven years, the price of silver has dropped significantly from $35 an ounce in 2011 to $14 an ounce in 2018.

Even if silver is not in the same category of precious metals such as gold, the demand and supply forces dictate that the price should be much higher, especially because of its high demand in industrial usage and a weak dollar. This meant that all commodities gave a decent return except silver.

Here are some possible reasons as to why the value of silver should be higher than the current market price.

Strong Demand

Silver has many different applications and some analysts suggest that price is artificially low. Each year, new innovations are discovered regarding the usage of silver because of its unique chemical properties. Applications from biotech to electronics all use silver and there is a concern that there is not enough silver left to fulfill all the demand.

Supply Deficiency

The production of silver has struggled to meet with the surging demand. In 2017 alone, the supply of silver fell short by 32.5 million ounces, while the year before, the shortage was recorded to be 17.14 million ounces.

Despite this shortfall in supply, the price further decreased for the given years which goes against the basic economic principle of demand and supply: prices rise when demand increases and supply reduces. This led market analysts to speculate that silver was undervalued, as prices remained low even as demand outpaced supply.

The Gold-Silver Ratio

The gold-silver ratio is a measurement of how many ounces of silver does it take to purchase an ounce of gold. Historically the average of this ratio has always been 12:1. This means it takes 12 ounces of silver to buy 1 ounce of gold. The current ratio is 83:1 implying that the market price of silver is massively undervalued.

Reasons to Buy Silver

Silver appears to be a great buy for investors at the moment because of it being relatively underpriced as compared to other metals; however, there isn’t a lot of capital tied up in silver compared to gold. Furthermore silver can meet small financial needs in case of an emergency as it can be easily broken down into smaller denominations. Also silver coins and bars can be sold almost anywhere in the world.

As world inventories of silver have fallen thanks to a surging demand and a falling supply, a fact has been established from data observation over the past fifty years. Since silver is a small market, small money movements have a great impact on price which implies high volatility. A great volatility means that silver can fall more than gold in bearish markets but the opposite stands true for bull markets.

With observation and a little knowledge, you can clock in at the right time to buy silver when it is at an all-time low currently and reap in the profits when prices take off. As of the writing of this article, the price of silver is $15.31.

One of the biggest banks on Wall Street, JPMorgan identified this opportunity in 2011 by buying silver in great numbers. Reports of the bank having accumulated more than 600 million ounces of physical silver at their warehouse, implies a changing trend. Silver prices appear to be at an all-time low and a bank on Wall Street accumulating a huge stash of the metal is not for nothing.  

Commodities are all priced in dollars and depreciation in USD means that the prices of all commodities are rising, except silver. With a massive hoard of silver in their warehouse, JPMorgan is likely to have predicted a spike in the price of silver much quicker than the rest of us.

Brief Introduction to Investing in Gold

Ah gold, the metal we humans have been fascinated with since the 5th millennium BC, when the metallurgy era had begun. From a scientific standpoint, this precious metal is an element just like hundreds of other naturally occurring substances. However, from the lens of history, gold has been a symbol of prosperity and wealth and it is still considered a valuable asset today, which is traded daily on the gold market. As of the writing of this article, the price of one ounce of gold is $1,317.00 and there is no doubt that this alloy will remain a precious one for centuries to come.

A Bit of Gold History

One historic example of the interest in gold unfolded was with the Thracians, an Indo-European tribe that inhabited a large part of Europe and began preserving this metal as a commodity.   

Egyptians were the first ones who started refining gold ores and used its bars in trade exchanges. In 600 BC, the Lydia Kingdom introduced gold mints as a currency. From then on, gold became a leading option to store value, worth and to make investments.

And to this day, gold is still considered a viable investment option. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why the value of gold as an investment and money has transcended many eras and civilizations.

The Status of Gold as the Oldest Currency

As mentioned earlier, no currency from modern times can predate the status of gold as money. It has been used for over 2,500 years. The second oldest currency in the world is Pound Sterling that was introduced 1,300 years after gold had established its place as a currency.

Gold is not just the oldest currency. It is also a commodity that preserves its value. From the beginning of the 20th century, all major currencies of the world depreciate in comparison to the value of precious metals.

Yes, the price of gold fluctuates like any other commodity. However, its value remains constant over a long period of time.  Waves of inflation affect the purchasing power of traditional currencies, but gold remains unaffected to such economic woes.

The Tangible Nature of Gold

Investments can either be tangible or intangible, and gold belongs to the former group. In today’s world, most of our investments are intangible. Whether it’s stocks or cryptocurrency, everything exists in an intangible form or in a cloud and thus has a volatile nature. As soon as a company declares bankruptcy, its stocks vanish into thin air.  On the other hand, the majority of tangible assets are subjected to physical depreciation. A stash of corn won’t be same after, say, six months. Similarly, conserved oil depletes when it is not properly covered.

In comparison, gold is a tangible asset that can withstand all natural wear and tear. Whether its heat or water, nothing can physically wear out a gold specimen.  Moreover, it can’t be hacked or tempered like digital assets. This is the reason why even after all technological progressions, many people still opt for gold bars and bullions as the viable choice of investment.

No High Financial Risks are Attached with Gold

Gold price graph in USD

Any investment comes with a long list of terms and conditions that also entail different risks and liabilities associated with the given plan. Then, there are intermediaries like brokers and liaisons who are also involved throughout the process and also share the profit.

By investing in gold, one can leave out all these obstacles. It is an investment in itself and requires no terms and conditions. Its value is real and hence never falls to naught. If you have gold assets, you can use it to balance the fluctuations of stocks when the market gets volatile. Rest assured as they will hold their value and can increase in value, depending on market conditions.

There is Always a Gold Rush

The quality and viability of any investment can be gauged through its liquidation value. Every tangible or intangible commodity has a liquidity value, and gold is no different. However, there is no comparison to the liquidity power of gold. If you want to liquidate gold in any part of the world, you can find many keen buyers at any given time. Such a quick transaction is not possible with any other investment plan, no matter how lucrative and sought-after it is.

Easy Storage and Upkeep

The question of storage and upkeep arises naturally with the majority of tangible investments.  For example, crop investments will need a warehouse and active surveillance. Similarly, investing in a real estate property also entail large recurrent maintenance expenses.

Gold is also a tangible asset and a precious one. So, you will have to take care of its safe storage, which can be easily arranged through safe deposit boxes or other secure facility or through the use of precious metals companies that will hold your gold for you in certificate form. Regarding the maintenance of gold, you don’t have to do a thing since it can self-preserve its shape and quality for thousands of years.

No Specialized Knowledge is Required for Gold Investing  

Every investment, no matter how simple and uncomplicated it is, requires some prior knowledge of how it works. Investing in stock options, for instance, entail some good knowledge of how stock markets operate and how one can forecast bullish and bearish trends. Likewise, real estate investments require a hectic comparative analysis of different zones and sectors.

Although it is recommended to research the history and performance of this commodity, you don’t need to be an expert in precious metals to understand its market trends. All it takes is a little homework and money (of course)  to buy gold bullion. Once you have a good understanding of this metal’s value, you can speak to an expert who will guide you from there, and there are thousands to choose form. Just Google ‘Buy Gold’ or an equivalent search term for purchasing this commodity and scores of reputable precious metals websites will show up. With the availability of so many universally certified and accredited gold dealers, you don’t have to worry about the authenticity of any given specimen.

Gold is an Active Investment

Many people think of gold investing as a defensive strategy to protect their fortune. There is no doubt that it is one of the safest forms to preserve your assets. Gold appreciates like other viable investment options. At any given point in history, gold prices were higher than the preceding time. Gold experienced an incredible 721% rise in its price in between 1976 and 1980. Yes, gold is not just a defensive financial measure. It can also turn into a lucrative investment in the long run.

Apart from enthralling with its aesthetics in ornamental items, this yellowish metallic mineral has always provided us with an assurance on the monetary front too. And it will continue to maintain its status as an everlasting investment for a long time to come.