Chinese Silver Investment Going Parabolic
BY DAN COLLINS
When 1.3 Billion people start investing in something…you might want to pay attention.
Chinese investment in silver has exploded since last year, with the trading volume going exponential. The China Daily reported today that the trading volume of silver forwards on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), China’s only exchange for the precious metal, surged 751 percent year-on-year in 2010. Meanwhile, the volume in September of this year was more than six times that of the same period in 2010.
Chinese commercial banks are now selling silver to investors in the hundreds of tons. One example is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), China’s biggest lender which launched paper silver trading for individual investors in August of last year. The other large Chinese Banks have also introduced silver trading. The trading volume of ICBC’s paper silver products alone reached 300 tons in the first half of 2011, almost four times the figure for the whole of 2010. That’s right, one Chinese bank alone sold 300 tons or over 10.5 million ounces of silver in only 6 months. In only their first year of trading, ICBC bank alone will sell over 20 million ounces of silver which alone would represent over 2% of the total amount of silver mined on earth for the entire year.
The key factor to pay attention to is that most of these silver purchases are forward contracts and not the actual physical silver. What happens when Chinese investors demand physical silver instead of paper silver?
Modern day commodity markets are characterized by a continuing divergence between the “paper” and the real “physical” markets. The Chinese silver market is no different.