Silver jumps 50 percent, but beware the devil’s metal – by Jan Harvey (Reuters U.S. – July 13, 2016)

LONDON – Silver prices have leapt nearly 50 percent so far this year, reversing three years of losses, but history shows investors hoping to hop aboard the bandwagon should be wary.

A surge in gold and upbeat prices of industrial metals, along with prospects for yet more monetary stimulus from leading central banks, have prompted some heart-stopping moves. “I’ve lost hair this year,” one silver trader said after the market shot up by almost a third in one month alone. “And about 20 pounds.”

On the face of it, silver has a lot of appeal. It tends to track gold prices, but its low liquidity usually leads it to outperform the move in gold by around 1.5 times.

Ultra-low global interest rates have helped to buoy gold this year – in the era of negative yields on many government bonds, the fact that bullion investments offer no fixed returns seems to matter less.

Expectations that the Bank of England will pour more money into the British economy following the country’s vote to leave the European Union, plus the possibility that the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank might take similar action for reasons of their own, have helped to push up industrial metals prices.

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