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Silver Prices Rise as Coronavirus Money Printing Ramps Up

Silver Prices Rise as Coronavirus Money Printing Ramps Up

2020-03-24 04:00:00
David Cottle, Analyst

Silver, Gold Prices Talking Points:

  • Silver and gold have fallen this year despite heightened economic uncertainty
  • Investors stung by losses elsewhere have sold their metal holdings to raise cash
  • This process may now be winding down

Silver and gold prices behaved more like traditional haven alternatives to major currencies this week, rising on Monday when US authorities announced massive stimulus to try and deal with the economic fallout of coronavirus.

The Federal Reserve revealed unprecedented measures allowing its monetary watchdogs to buy Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities ‘in the amounts needed.’ This is effectively unlimited Quantitative Easing.

Of course, it should be no surprise that this move gave precious metals a lift. One function they fulfil in the markets is as a counterweight to so-called fiat currencies backed by nothing more than the full faith and credit of their various administrations.

Why Did The Havens Fall?

However, this year has seen some strange goings-on in the precious metals market. Supposedly also a final haven in times of financial stress, both silver and gold have seen prices fall sharply this month, even as the potential full, terrible economic impact of the contagion became apparent.

Silver Prices , Daily Chart

While this is perhaps counterintuitive it is at least readily explicable and, in passing, a reminder that no financial market, not even the very oldest, behaves as expected all the time. The price highs seen at the start of this year proved just too tempting for investors facing losses elsewhere, particularly in stricken global stock markets. They cashed out of silver and gold to cover them, quite rationally.

However, this week things have changed with precious metal prices rising again as markets move to price in long-term credit easing, stimulus and weak growth.

Silver Prices Rise as Coronavirus Money Printing Ramps Up

Chart created using TradingView

From here on it may well be that both silver and gold start to trade again more like traditional haven assets, for which bad news turns out to be very good news in deed for bulls.

That said it will still be wise to view brisk price rises with suspicion. Sharp falls in other markets may yet leave gold and silver vulnerable to liquidation trades as they have been so clearly this year already.

Traders should also beware of viewing these markets in purely financial terms. It’s always as well to remember the physical realities of any commodity market. The coronavirus will mean shutdowns and other bottlenecks for gold and silver production just as it will for most other commodities. There already reports of massive disruption to silver supply from major producers in Chile, Argentina and Peru.

Industrial users will be forced to pay a premium in order to get the metal they need, at least in the short term. This may not be sufficient to alter overall financial market sentiment towards the precious complex, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind.

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Follow David on Twitter@DavidCottleFX or use the Comments section below to get in touch!

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