Silver jumps to 2013 high, gold nears record on coronavirus concerns

Spot silver climbed as much as 6 per cent to US$22.5821 an ounce, the highest since 2013. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Silver jumped to the highest in almost seven years on Wednesday (July 22) and gold continued its march toward a record on expectations there'll be more stimulus to help the global economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Investors have flocked to the metals on surging demand for havens amid a resurgence in virus cases, slowing growth, a weaker US dollar and negative real interest rates in the US. The vast amounts of stimulus unleashed by governments and central banks have also aided prices and, after the success of a European rescue package this week, focus turns to negotiations on legislation to prop up the US economy.

Silver's surge has been getting an added boost from supply concerns and optimism about a rebound in industrial demand. Holdings in exchange-traded funds(ETFs) backed by the metal are at a record, while gold ETFs rose the most since mid-June on Tuesday and also sit at the highest ever.

"Like gold, silver has benefited this year from safe haven demand and falling long term US real yields," Vivek Dhar, an analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a note. "A sustained rally in silver can continue, particularly when demand hopes and supply concerns are added to the mix."

Spot silver climbed 7.2 per cent to US$22.8366 an ounce, the highest since 2013, before trading at US$22.5156 at 7:37 a.m. in London. Futures on the Comex jumped as much as 7.6 per cent.

Gold for immediate delivery rose as much as 1.3 per cent to US$1,865.81 an ounce, the highest since September 2011, and closing in on the all-time high of US$1,921.17 set that year. A gauge of the dollar is near the lowest since March.

Chinese silver and gold stocks rose, including a more than 30 per cent jump for China Silver Group in Hong Kong.

Silver should continue to gain due to its use in industrial applications such as solar cells, in addition to a raft of factors that are spurring other precious metals higher, Ed Morse, global head of commodity research at Citigroup, said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

Citi has previously noted the metal tends to perform very strongly when the desire for wealth protection is high and economic activity is improving. The Silver Institute earlier this month forecast a 7 per cent decline in mine production in 2020 on disruptions due to Covid-19.

"Silver is surging, and we think it is likely to remain strong," James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC Securities (USA), said in a note. "Some investors who may not have participated fully in the gold rally could find silver attractive. We believe this is happening and may sustain silver at higher prices still."

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