Why does Silver Outperforms Gold in Bull Market

Silver prices have underperformed gold for most of the time since 2011. In the third week of July 2020 silver prices broke out of the $14 to $20 price range in which they have been caged for the most part since the second half of 2014. After breaking out of this long held range, silver prices raced sharply higher, rising to an intraday high of $29.9 on 7 August basis the nearby active September COMEX contract. If past performance is any indicator, this could be the start of another sharp run up in silver prices. And past performance has been a fairly consistent indicator in illustrating that silver prices outperform gold in a time when gold prices are rising sharply, a gold price rally.

When using the same dates as gold, silver outperformed gold on every occasion but one (more detailed discussion on this later). When using silver’s troughs and peaks that were close to or ‘in the same cycle’ as the periods of gold price increases, silver always outperformed gold and the percentage gains were also much stronger than when using the other time frame.



There are several reasons why silver often lags gold in starting a major upward price move, but then rises faster in percentage terms. One of the most important is that the silver market is significantly smaller than the gold market. In 2019, for example, the dollar value of the gold market was around 5.5 times that of silver. {The market size for gold and silver is defined here as the summation of annual physical supply (comprised of newly refined mine output, secondary recovery from scrap, and in the case of gold net official transactions in those years when the official sector has been a net supplier of gold to the market), futures and options exchange trading volume, and London Bullion market clearing volumes.}

Prithviraj Kothari of RSBL believes that given the smaller size of the silver market it takes less effort for investors to move the price of the metal higher or lower. The smaller size of the market essentially increases volatility, which while supportive of outperformance compared to gold when prices are rising also adds risk to the performance of silver as a stand-alone asset and to any portfolio in which precious metals are included.

After years of underperformance relative to gold, reflected in the sharp increase in the Gold: Silver ratio, the silver price is now playing catch up with gold. The ratio has slipped lower but is still at historically elevated levels. Furthermore, while the daily gold price broke its past record and already has made several new ones, the price of silver at the height of its current run up on 7 August 2020 at $29.91, still is 39% below its record high in 2011.

The ratio has been at extremely elevated levels in recent years, highlighting silver’s low valuation relative to gold for an extended period of time. In March 2020 the ratio hit a record high. The ratio has corrected from those record high levels but is still at elevated levels, suggesting more potential upside for silver prices relative to gold. It should be understood that there is no magical number at which this ratio should stand. There are no physical, geologic, chemical, electrical, financial, or other reason why gold and silver should be expected to trade at a given relationship to each other.

Gold/Silver Ratio

Sustained dollar weakness is a primary prerequisite for silver beating gold. A greenback bear market would imply some reversion in its top companion for most of the past 10 years — the U.S. stock market outperforming the world.

Investor sentiment toward silver is turning extremely positive confirmed spokesperson from Riddi Siddhi Bullions Limited. This positive investor sentiment is being driven by investors looking for a hedge to the heightened political and economic risks around the world coupled with silver’s relative value to gold. Additionally, the recent break out of silver prices is likely to attract generalist investors looking for relatively undervalued assets to park their funds and the negative yield on the 10-year TIPS certainly makes assets like gold and silver attractive. The upcoming U.S. election, Brexit, deteriorating U.S. –China relations, and the pandemic give further reasons for investors to add gold and silver to their portfolios, which should help sustain the strength in prices.

Market analysts as well as the top gold dealers of India are of the opinion that silver prices may go up and break all records but the metal will not be able to consistently maintain the same high level for a long period of time. Experts of the market believe that short term investors are locking profits, this fabrication demand is hurting the price of the metal. While the price of silver may not stay at the same record level as before, one cannot even expect the metal to sink back to the levels in the recent years, or the year earlier. The fallout from the pandemic should help to keep the prices of these metals at elevated levels for a long time.

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