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Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

Silver and the Nature of Supply and Demand

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2012 May 05, 2012 - 02:01 PM GMT

By: Dr_Jeff_Lewis

Commodities Many observers of the silver market have wondered why futures prices for silver seem so low when demand for the physical metal continues to increase in the face of an ever dwindling supply of the precious and industrial metallic commodity. 

In essence, the economic model of price determination by supply and demand factors would seem to indicate a considerably higher equilibrium price for silver than what is currently prevailing.

As a result, frustrated silver holders often eventually conclude that the silver futures market is simply being manipulated by those with a compelling interest in seeing the price of silver at unrealistically low levels, perhaps so that they can more easily purchase the physical metal themselves.

How Supply and Demand Theoretically Determine Prices

According to the theoretical supply and demand model of price determination, the price per unit of a commodity will fluctuate until it stabilizes at the level where the amount demanded at that price is equal to the amount supplied at that price. The result is an equilibrium state in terms of price and quantity.

The traditional relationship between supply and demand is often depicted by a graph plotting quantity on the x-axis against price on the y-axis for both the inclining supply curve and the declining demand curve.

These curves generally slope in opposite directions since rising prices tend to both decrease demand and increase supply, while falling prices tend to increase demand and decrease supply of a commodity.

The point of intersection between these curves represents the equilibrium price and quantity for the commodity, which should ideally be the same as the market price.

Covert Silver Market Manipulation Could Eventually Create a Crunch

If the silver market is indeed being secretly manipulated by the use of paper futures contracts to keep physical metal prices artificially low, as some people believe, then the market may well be a coiled spring just waiting to snap and propel silver prices upward.

They argue that if this manipulation ceases, the result could be a substantial market crunch when the forces of supply and demand for silver are ultimately allowed to find their equilibrium point at a considerably higher price level.

For example, if metal futures exchange rules were changed so that all silver futures contracts were required to be settled in physical metal, rather than just having physical delivery be at the option of the future contract’s seller, then any manipulation of the silver market by those excessively rich in printable paper currency would very likely have to stop.

The price of silver would then probably rise to meet its proper equilibrium level, unless more manipulative steps were taken to prevent this from occurring.

"In addition to running a busy medical practice, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis is the editor and publisher
of, where he provides practical information for precious metals

By Dr. Jeff Lewis

    Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, in addition to running a busy medical practice, is the editor of and

    Copyright © 2012 Dr. Jeff Lewis- All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Alex Sannet
06 May 12, 15:34
Price manipulation

I agree with Dr. Lewis' comments but have a slightly different view. While I believe market manipulation is responsible for the current price of silver I think it's because the manipulation caused the falsely inflated prices we saw peaking at $48 last year around this time. This is simply the rubber band snapping back. I don't doubt the price will spike again once there is some new opportunity speculators can exploit. And sure enough, those same people who were predicting $100 per ounce silver will once again be shouting it's the end of the world and we'd best prepare.

06 May 12, 20:06
silver facts

#1 Silver demand is decreasing - industrial usage. 2. Investment(speculative) demand is what sent silver up. Large speculators hold about the same number of long contracts as when silver was $44 Remember producers are almost always sellers as they are now. #. 3. Silver inventories at the Comex are at 11 year highs. Speculators buy as the market rises and sell as the market declines. The producers sell but reduce selling as prices decline. Since prices have been declining the speculators have been liquidating their longs but have much left to sell.

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