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NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Silver prices have plummeted 25% from their intra-day high of $49.82, which was hit last week. As prices continue to waver, the question turns to whether silver prices have hit a top?
Many analysts before the silver "flash crash" were calling for prices as high as $130 and a silver:gold ratio of 17:1. Then the parabolic rally ran out of steam as the gold:silver ratio rose to 40, the CME raised the amount of money a trader has to put down to own a 5,000 ounce silver contract three times in a week and as the traders betting against silver's rally dragged down prices. The next stop for silver is uncertain. It is a volatile and thinly traded market, which was the main reason for recent margin hikes, but $37.87 where the rally started from, to $49.82, where the rally ended, is a wide trading range. Is $49.82 the best it will get for silver? it proves a cyclical peak." Christian is betting on the latter and a silver price range of $20-$30 and the silver:gold ratio between 45 and 50 to 1. "Our expectation has been ... that real economic conditions have been improving in the U.S. there are some problems like a weaker dollar and inflation overseas ... if those trends continue and the Fed doesn't have to continue its QE program ... that may well be taken as a sign by investors as real economic strength ... consequently we don't need that much gold and silver." Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco.com, who takes a lot of heat for being perceived as bearish on gold and silver, agrees. "The possibility of having hit a top in silver is quite real judging by how the action has unfolded since last Friday." Nadler thinks there could be more attempts to break to new records but that speculation has taken the market down.
$40 down, it could snowball into a virtual free-fall if all conditions lead to a mass exodus of the hot money that has been poured into this niche since Valentine's Day," says Nadler. "The metal is surely living up to its label of the riskiest of assets in general and in precious metals in particular." Technical analysts and traders, however, seem to be more bullish. Mark Arbeter, chief technical strategist at Standard & Poor's Equity Research thinks "the correction will end very shortly and prices could then rally above $50 an ounce, and possibly above $60 an ounce." Arbeter thinks any recent rally in the U.S. dollar will end and that the U.S. dollar index will eventually retest its previous low of $71.459 from March 2008. "This last panic out of the dollar should be very bullish for silver as well as other commodities." Adam Grimes, director of tactical investments at Waverly, thinks it's too early to call a top in silver but wasn't too perturbed by the recent selloff. "This is not unusual behavior for markets that have done what silver has done ... there is a buying panic, and, when everyone who wants to buy has bought, the market collapses into the vacuum. This is normal." Anthony Neglia, president of Tower Trading, said that silver would hit $50 before $40 and at $49.82, he was almost right. "Silver's inability to break through $50 was disappointing. It did rally too far too fast." "The fact that we have been trading with good volume leads me to believe that we should continue to see the silver market move in both directions." Silver's recent break below $38, has gotten Neglia bearish, who is looking at $36 then $32 as the next support levels The silver bullion market has been without strong participation from England for two weeks as the country celebrated two shortened holiday trading weeks. Once London comes back into play with full force on Monday, silver might get more direction either bargain hunting or continued selling. Some big-name investors have been reportedly dumping precious metals. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that George Soros' hedge fund and other firms have been selling gold and silver, exacerbating the recent selloff. On the flip side, John Paulson is still holding his gold, currently the largest shareholder of the SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD - Get Report) with more than 30 million shares.
Mihir Dange, trader at Arbitrage, believes that silver isn't at a top. "Now that it has retraced about 25% and we have seen the weak longs exit the market, I like silver to rally." Dange thinks the long term silver:gold ratio should be between 25 and 30 to 1. "My year-end projection in gold is $1,625-$1,675 and if we take an average of $1,650 in gold and an average relationship of 27.5:1 that puts silver at $60." The one area that is suffering even more than the silver price is silver stocks. Global X Silver Miners ( SIL - Get Report) is down more than 8% from April onwards despite the fact that the silver price has risen as much as 31% to its high, but is now relatively flat. The top five U.S. publically traded silver stocks in the ETF have fallen even further than the SIL from April to present. Coeur D'Alene Mines ( CDE - Get Report) is down 16.74%, Silver Wheaton ( SLW) has lost 13.31%, Pan American Silver ( PAAS - Get Report) is down 6.5%, Silvercorp ( SVM - Get Report) has lost more than 19% and First Majestic Silver ( AG - Get Report) has dropped 15.29%.
-- Written by Alix Steel in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adsteel. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.