Mining for Investments: Silver Is a Golden Opportunity

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Yes, silver has dropped over 60 percent in value since its (overdone) run up in 2011. But I am of the opinion that silver has now bottomed. We have a solid line of support in the $17.75 to $18.25 area and have only breached this area very briefly. We have consistently bounced off of these levels. As of the time of this writing, silver trades at $19.60. I think now is the time to start acquiring a position. There are several sources of demand.

It should be obvious, but there will always be demand for silver because aside from silver being a precious metal, it also has many industrial and technological applications. Therefore, there will always be some level of demand, but such demand should pick up significantly when the global economy comes fully out of recession. Despite the stock markets in the U.S. setting all time highs, the broader economy is still just limping along. When it rebounds, there will be a spike in demand in many areas. The demand will not be just in coin and bullion form, but also in jewelry, silverware, and dentistry.

On the technology front, silver is one of the most conductive metals out there, and thus is utilized in photography, electronic devices, optics, medical devices/tools – silver even has antibacterial properties – and most recently in nanotechnology. The biggest growth area for silver use, besides being a precious metal currency, is in technology, and that is where a lot of demand will be generated as we further delve into an era dominated by Apple iPhones, iPads, and its competitors’ similar products. Apple alone has created massive industrial demand for silver.

Silver is utilized heavily in these high-tech devices. On average, 13 cents of silver is now used in each cell phone as when silver was about $9 an ounce, 6 cents of silver was utilized per phone. While that is not much for a single phone — considering there were nearly six billion mobile subscribers worldwide in 2012-2013, a number that’s growing here in 2014 — it becomes clear that new phones will always be in demand. There is a lot of silver in old cell phones, photography chemicals, or medical devices that already have been taken out of the market. Although there is a push to recycle electronics and reclaim costly elements like silver within them, in situations where silver is used in very small portions (such as new smartphones), it is not cost-effective or even practical to recover the silver. Thus, new silver will be utilized in these devices. With all of these sources of demand and a dwindling supply, I think an investment in silver is a golden opportunity.

There are three ways investors can get exposure to silver and I recommend them all as buys right now at current prices. My top approach for silver exposure is purchasing physical silver bullion and coins, followed by purchasing shares of ETFs that track silver prices, and finally through the stock of the individual silver companies/miners.