Worst-performing precious metal silver may have seen bottom

(Aug 9): Silver’s been the worst performer among major precious metals in 2022, but prices may have fallen far enough to spark a modest recovery.

The white metal has lost about 11%, weighed down by the stronger US dollar, rising interest rates and slowing growth. But prices could turn higher from later this year as the electronics and photovoltaics sectors support industrial consumption, while retail and jewelry demand look strong, James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC Securities USA Inc, said in a note early this month.

“We believe silver is oversold,” Steel said. “Much of silver’s industrial demand will be well supported and will not reflect overall industrial sluggishness,” while price declines will stimulate demand from key consumers China and India, he said.

Still, headwinds to the white metal’s rally exist as the world braces for the withdrawal of stimulus and an economic downturn.

While HSBC remains positive, it has cut its forecasts as silver follows gold and copper lower. The bank now sees the average price at US$22.25 an ounce for 2022 and at US$23.50 for 2023. UBS Group AG expects silver to trade lower to US$19 by early 2023.

Silver was trading at US$20.54 an ounce by 3 p.m. in London, after bouncing back from a two-year low in mid-July.

Silver’s trajectory will closely follow gold, and investors should consider buying both metals when the Fed makes a proper dovish pivot and there’s meaningful easing of policy to support growth, said Wayne Gordon, executive director for commodities and FX at UBS Group’s global wealth management unit.

“Once we get to that recovery phase in gold, we believe silver can really outperform the yellow metal,” said Gordon.

Gold gained 0.5%, moving to US$1,797.61 an ounce as the dollar edged 0.2% into the red, with traders awaiting a key report on US consumer inflation due Wednesday. Palladium rose, while platinum fell.

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