Whenever disaster hits, gold tends to hog the spotlight. That’s because for most of our history it’s lived a double life, as both money and a commodity. During times of market agitation, like the ongoing economic fallout from last month’s Brexit vote, frightened investors rush to gold as a hedge against the value of their currency. But since it’s also a commodity, such a surge can drive the fundamental relationship between gold and other commodities out of harmony for a brief period.
At such times it’s also sometimes easy to overlook other key precious metals, particularly silver. Like the working-class sibling of a Hollywood star, everyone knows silver’s a member of the family, but it tends to get overlooked. Yet in doing so investors are losing out on a huge opportunity. That’s because while silver, like gold, is both money and a commodity, it also has a third life as an in-demand industrial metal with an extraordinary range of commercial uses.
Vital to High-Profile Industries
It should come as no surprise that there’s a large silver trade in China
, the home of much of the world’s electronics manufacturing. Silver is essential to the electronics industry. Virtually every circuit board, cell phone, computer, and even flat screen TV depends on a steady supply. It’s also crucial to the booming solar panel and air conditioning industries.
As we all know, silver also finds a huge market in the jewelry and housewares industries. But what may be a surprise for many is its growing role in medicine. Silver’s powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties mean it has an ever-expanding variety of uses in creams, surgical instruments, clothing and medical devices. As more and more bugs and viruses become resistant to traditional antibiotics, silver’s ability to create a sterile environment will become increasingly crucial.
Volatility Can Work in Your Favor
When the global economy slows, creating a slowdown in retail sales of consumer products, silver prices frequently react
with more volatility than gold. Yet in the worldwide meltdown that followed Brexit, silver shot above $21 an ounce, its highest since 2014. Why? Because investors were leaning on silver for its safe haven qualities, treating it like a more secure version of cash, rather than as an industrial commodity.
This jump in demand, and price, was a clear sign investors are looking for the most sizeable safe haven they can find, particularly with the fate of both the British pound and the euro in serious doubt
Covering All Your Bases
When clients ask how they should incorporate silver into their investment strategy our advice is, “Mix it up!” whether in their regular portfolio, or through a gold IRA
, which can hold a variety of hard and paper assets.
Despite its occasional price volatility, silver’s tracked along fairly consistently
with the price of gold. Thus by supplementing gold purchases with investment-grade silver coins like American Eagles, you can get an expanded hedge of precious metals. Silver’s enhanced volatility also offers the perfect complement to gold, offering growth potential that’s buttressed by your gold’s stability and long-term protection of buying power.
Trend Favors Silver
With silver still trading at the low end of its usual ratio to gold and still sixty percent below its 2011 peak over $49 an ounce, its future seems bright for the long term.
The future also looks very promising for industrial demand. As much as 10% of industrial silver demand
now comes from solar panels manufacturing. With the worldwide need for solar energy going nowhere but up, spot silver shortages
could well lead to somewhat higher than normal price spikes.
On the whole, silver’s outlook is sunny. After all, can you imagine a future that won’t include an skyrocketing demand for smartphones, computers, tablets—and a lot more consumer electronics we haven’t even dreamed of yet?
is America's Gold IRA Expert, CEO of Goldco Precious Metals, and holds a position on the Los Angeles board of the Better Business Bureau. To read more of his work, Go Here Now.
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