Figure 1: Silver price forecast
To formulate our forecasts, we utilise the framework outlined in Silver outlook: Searching for a silver lining. In contrast to gold, silver has many traits of an industrial metal, with more than 50% of its use in industrial applications. Supply and demand for physical silver matter more for silver, whereas gold prices tend to be driven more by monetary factors such as Treasury yields,
exchange rates and inflation.
Demand for silver could be weighed by decelerating manufacturing growth
Global manufacturing Purchasing Managers Indices (PMIs) peaked in early 2018. We expect PMIs to continue to decline in 2019, although avoid falling below the 50 demarcation between expansion and contraction. However, deceleration in manufacturing activity is likely to slow demand for silver.
Figure 2: Global manufacturing PMIs
Source: Bloomberg, WisdomTree, data available as of close 31 December 2018. Forecasts are not an indicator of future performance and any investments are subject to risks and uncertainties.
Mining activity could rise as capital investment has been recovering
With mining capital expenditure (capex) having recovered in 2018 after a prolonged period of restraint, we could start to see supply of silver increase as more metal comes out of the ground. Most silver comes as a by-product of mining for other metals. So, the fact that silver looked cheap relative to gold for the last few years, did not mean that miners would restrain from mining the metal.
Figure 3: Top 100 miners capital expenditure growth
Source: Bloomberg, WisdomTree, data available as of close 03 January 2019. Historical performance is not an indication of future performance and any investments may go down in value.
Silver in a supply surplus
The latest revision of data from the Silver Institute places silver in a supply surplus in both 2017 and 2018. In World Silver Survey 2018, published in H1 2018, the Silver Institute indicated that the silver market was in a deficit in 2017. The facts that they revised the deficit into a surplus and increased the surplus in 2018, indicates an overhang for the metal.
Figure 4: Physical silver supply-demand balance
Source: GFMS Thomson Reuters, Silver Institute, WisdomTree, data available as of close 31 December 2018. Forecasts are not an indicator of future performance and any investments are subject to risks and uncertainties.
Rising exchange inventory also indicates strong metal availability
Although most of the gains in silver inventory are in the form of eligible (i.e. meets exchange’s requirements but has not been pledged as collateral against a futures market transaction) as opposed to registered (i.e. meets requirements and has been pledged as collateral for futures market transactions), both have been rising. The trends indicate that there is ample metal availability.
Figure 5: COMEX silver inventory
Source: Bloomberg, WisdomTree, data available as of close 31 December 2018. Historical performance is not an indication of futur
e performance and any investments may go down in value.
Relatively cheap, possibly for a reason
The gold-to-silver ratio points to silver being cheap relative to gold, with the ratio over 1 standard deviation above its historic norm. However, with recent gains in silver, that gap is moderating. We believe that gold is likely to outshine silver as a pure defensive asset that does not have the same exposure to the industrial cycle.
Figure 6: Gold to silver ratio
Source: Bloomberg, WisdomTree, data available as of close 31 December 2018. Historical performance is not an indication of future performance and any investments may go down in value.
This material is prepared by WisdomTree and its affiliates and is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The opinions expressed are as of the date of production and may change as subsequent conditions vary. The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and non-proprietary sources. As such, no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given and no responsibility arising in any other way for errors and omissions (including responsibility to any person by reason of negligence) is accepted by WisdomTree, nor any affiliate, nor any of their officers, employees or agents. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
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