(Silver prices poll updated with additional executive price targets.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold was the hot metal in 2010 but silver has grabbed the early lead in the race to be 2011's precious metal winner.
Silver is also an industrial metal, with about 60% of its usage coming from the sector, which makes the metal a good play on a global economic recovery. Experts say, however, that industrial demand will not likely be as big of a support to higher silver prices in 2011 as it was in 2010, forcing investment demand to pick up the slack, So far, no problem. The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) has added more than 280 tons so far in 2011 as traders jumped in. There have also been rumors that Asian buyers were gobbling up shares of the SLV in order to take physical delivery, which they have to do in 50,000 share lots. Backwardation in the futures market, where the spot month price is higher than the future months, points to a supply crunch and has been a green light for some traders that silver is headed higher.