This year, silver has outpaced gold.

Silver has heated up quietly in 2024. The major concern is whether it stays hot. Silver closed April 12 at $28.33 per troy ounce in New York futures trading, up over 18% in 2024. The gold nearly reached $30 an ounce for the first time since May 2021  

In 2024, it outperformed gold, which finished on April 12 at a record $2,374.19 an ounce and gained 14.6%. The iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV), which finished Friday at $25.63, is up 17.7% on the year and ahead of the IAU, which is up 13.5% at $216.89.  

ETFs only buy metals. Why silver is rising Several factors drove silver's surge this year. Sticky inflation prevents Fed rate cuts. Growing global demand for the metal (and gold and other precious metals). Global production is stagnant or falling. Investors worldwide, notably in India and China, want to preserve wealth from geopolitical conflicts.  

That last aspect was likely the main reason silver gained 4% last week and 13.7% in April. Gold, silver, and platinum prices rose all week over concerns about Middle East instability.  

Israel, assisted by US and UK forces, thwarted the late Saturday drone-and-missile strike. Asian futures trading opened flat on Monday. At 8:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, silver was $28.26, down 7 cents from Friday. Gold rose $4.10 to $2,378.20.

Whether silver and gold are overpriced is unclear. Both metals' relative strength indices rose above 80 this week, signaling overbought markets. If tensions relax, silver and gold prices may too. As will mining stocks. The Global X Silver Miners ETF SIL is up 22.5% since February. Coeur Mines (CDE) is up 42% this year. Hecla Mining (HL) rose 12.7%.  

A few silver and precious metal fact World gold holders include central banks. Miners commonly extract silver from copper or lead. Individual owners are largest in India and China. China produces the most gold. Mexico produces the most silver. Imported silver accounts for two-thirds of US consumption.  

The 1980 silver corner craze The Hunt brothers of Texas tried to control the market in January 1980, setting silver's maximum price at $50. Tiffany's New York Times ad stated, "We think it is unconscionable for anyone to hoard several billion, yes billion, dollars worth of silver and thus drive the price up so high that others must pay artificially high prices for articles made of silver from baby spoons to tea sets, as well as photographic film and other products."  

The Hunt brothers' unsuccessful attempt caused a financial catastrophe because they couldn't meet margin calls. To overcome the crisis, a $1 billion bailout was needed.  

Some adjusted to rising silver prices. Colonial Williamsburg silversmiths started using recycled silver. One recycler obtained silver from dentists who built collection devices to store silver from filling replacements.  

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