Silver soared as much as 11.2% to $30.03 an ounce during weekend trading, its highest level since February 2013, as a wave of small-time traders turned their attention to commodities.
Silver is only the latest asset to see a surge following the GameStop frenzy, where users in the Reddit community r/WallStreetBets piled into GameStop and other struggling retail businesses that banks and hedge funds had taken out paper bets against.
The commodity first came to the attention of the online group on Thursday when posts began circulating urging investors to buy silver mining stocks and ETFs backed by physical silver bars in another squeeze of short-sellers in the market. Demand for physical silver has more than doubled since then.
With value as both a safe-haven asset and an industrial metal, silver prices have risen by almost 19% since Thursday.
iShares Silver Trust ETf, the largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, saw its silver holdings jump by a record 37 million shares between Thursday and Friday. Each share represents an ounce of silver. Total silver holdings by all major ETFs reached a record 912 million ounces during the week, up from just over 600 million at the same point in 2020.
Silver ranked among the best-performing assets last year, gaining nearly 50%. Analysts speculate that its good fortunes will continue this year as favourable policies in the US boost it further.
However, while silver prices could test $35 to $38 an ounce in the near term, “once the storm calms, prices will come back to normal levels around $26-$27”, Anand Rathi Shares’ commodities analyst Jigar Trivedi predicted.