What’s Next For Silver Prices?

silver-etfTony Daltorio: Silver prices today continue to wander aimlessly around the $20-an-ounce level as the white metal is buffeted by many of the same factors restraining the gold price. This drifting comes after a dramatic drop of 35% in the first half 2013.

As with gold, much of the drop is due to fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin “tapering” purchases of bonds from its current $85 billion-a-month level. If this comes to pass, the financial markets currently believe this will reduce excess liquidity and therefore any possible inflationary fires.

Here’s what investors watching today’s silver price have to understand…

There are other factors at play in the silver market, of course, besides the Fed. In fact, most of these factors point to an upswing in silver prices going forward.

Here are a few reasons to bet on higher silver prices in 2013.

Silver Prices and Physical Demand

As with gold, there’s strong global demand for the physical metal itself.

Just look at the sales of the U.S. Mint’s 1 oz. American Silver Eagle coins. The Mint reported that, during the first half of this year, it sold 25 million Eagle coins, an increase of nearly 44% from 2012. In the first half of last year, the Mint sold about 17.3 million of the 1 oz. coins.

The trend continued in July with the Mint reporting sales of 4,406,500 ounces of Silver Eagle coins. That is up from June’s 3,275,000 ounces and May’s 2,278,000 ounces.

It looks as if the Mint is well on its way to a record year for sales of the Silver Eagles.

JPMorgan’s Bet on Silver Prices

Next we turn to JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), the custodian of the iShares Silver Trust(NYSEARCA:SLV), the largest silver exchange-traded fund.

The Wall Street bank is infamous among silver investors for the huge amount of shorts it has had in the marketplace for years. The bank was even sued with a lawsuit claiming it was manipulating the silver market. But the lawsuit failed.

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