The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- Although both the gold and silver markets have been subjected to extreme manipulation, it is clear that manipulation of the silver market has been much more severe. There are two related numbers which illustrate this point.
Knowledgeable investors know that the long-term price ratio of gold versus silver (i.e. over roughly 5,000 years) has averaged approximately 15:1. This closely coincides with the ratio of the natural occurrence of these two elements in the Earth's crust (approximately 17:1). Not only did this price ratio remain relatively constant over several millennia, but the fact that the price ratio so closely mirrors the rate of occurrence of the two metals shows that (in relative terms) our species has demonstrated a roughly equal preference for the two metals throughout recorded history.
These facts establish beyond any possible contradiction that over the medium or long term the price of silver must remain at close to a 15:1 ratio versus the price of gold. There is only one factor which could alter this arithmetic: if our preference toward the two metals changed. Has any such change in preferences occurred? Yes. Silver has become much more popular.
This increased popularity comes in two distinct forms. Modern technology has established silver as the most valuable/versatile of all metals, with more new silver-based patents being created than for any other metal. Along with that there has been an even more stunning/dramatic surge in investor demand for silver -- a consequence of silver being perennially and extremely undervalued.
In 2011, the United States
sold nearly 40 million Silver Eagle 1-oz coins while only selling approximately 1 million Gold Eagles -- a near 40:1 ratio. This ratio is more than double the 5,000-year price ratio, and more than double the relative natural occurrence of silver. In other words, over the long-term this demand profile is totally unsustainable -- and must result in (first) the total depletion of silver inventories, and (second) a rise in the price of silver sufficient to stifle silver demand sufficiently for balance to be restored.
However, the demand profile of silver is literally only half the story here -- and the supply-side illustrates the futility of bankster manipulation in even more absolute terms. Given that silver is 17 times more plentiful in the Earth's crust, we would expect the world's mining industry to be producing about 17 times as much silver as gold each year. In fact actual production numbers are nowhere near this ratio.
To attempt to conceal the ridiculous imbalance between silver mining and gold mining, the banksters' agents report silver mine production in (Imperial) ounces, while reporting gold production in (metric) tonnes. Fortunately anyone able to employ a calculator can overcome this clumsy attempt at deceit.
Converting all mine production to ounces, gold mine production was
over 100 million ounces in 2010 while silver mine production was
a mere 735 million ounces. Thus we have the miners producing only approximately 7 times as much silver as gold in 2010, while investors are exhibiting a 40:1 preference in buying silver versus gold. Meanwhile the gold/silver price ratio is an utterly insane 55:1 at the present time.
Keep in mind that the preference for silver over gold industrially is just as extreme. While
industrial demand for gold has essentially remained flat over recent years, industrial demand for silver has risen by roughly 50% over the past 10 years -- and
by 18% in 2010 alone. This rabid industrial demand for silver (along with relatively little recycling) has resulted in global stockpiles of silver being decimated, with silver inventories plummeting by 90% between 1990 and 2005 alone.
Conversely, virtually every ounce of gold ever mined is still available today. As a result of decades of yet another gross imbalance in this market, there is less silver in the world today (relative to gold) than at any time in thousands of years. A precise ratio is impossible to construct, however estimates range from a (conservative) 6:1 level to the estimates of the more bullish commentators in the sector, who insist there is more (above-ground) gold in the world today than silver. This means that relative to supply, silver is under-priced by a factor of ten (if not more).
At the same time that silver is at its most popular point in history, there is less of it around (relatively) than at any time in history. Anyone with the slightest comprehension of markets understands what must happen: the price of silver must explode to a level which simultaneously dramatically depresses demand, while causing an explosion in silver mining activity. And note that the current parameters discussed here were after the 1,000% price increase over the past decade. Not only has the supply deficit remained despite that 1,000% price increase, it's gotten larger. Thus we might (conservatively) estimate that another 1,000% increase in the price of silver might just be enough to restore balance to the market.
What we have observed generally with respect to the gold and silver markets over the past few decades is nothing more than a long-term illustration of the principles of supply and demand, along with the absolute dictates of arithmetic. The extreme manipulation of the precious metals sector during the last decade of the last century has led to massive price increases in the prices of gold and silver in the first decade of this century -- despite the banksters
redoubling their efforts to suppress these markets.
Silver was suppressed even more extremely during those previous years, and so it nearly doubled the gains of the gold market over the past decade. This is nothing but a reiteration of one of the most obvious common-sense principles of human commerce: if you put something "on sale" you will increase buying and burn through inventories. If you price something at an extreme discount, you simply burn through inventories much, much faster.
The gold/silver price ratio has once again reached an absurd manipulation extreme. This in turn is conclusive proof of the current, extreme suppression of silver taking place in this market -- as unequivocally demonstrated by the supply/demand parameters previously detailed. What does this mean over the longer term? That $500/oz silver is now a certainty in the future.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.