Silver Rallies In Q3, Starts Q4 Under Pressure

Silver Rallies in Q3, Starts Q4 Under Pressure

As silver limped into the third quarter (Q3), many market participants were desperate for fresh monetary policies from central bankers. Investors were mostly on the sidelines and prices were weak, bobbing above and below $27. By September, silver had again displayed its ability to outperform even gold and was working to post a close above $35. But the central-bank-related momentum quickly waned, leaving silver to enter the final quarter under pressure.

Silver spent a spent a significant portion of Q3 stuck in various ranges. At the end of July, the metal managed to break through resistance at the $28 level. It was only during the third week of August that silver was able to gain breakout momentum and move above $29.

At that time, there was a risk-on vibe in the equities markets. On record is a vow from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro. Spain had a bond auction that was considered successful both in terms of demand and rates. Further, minutes from a Federal Open Market Committee meeting seemed to indicate that the Fed was leaning toward a third round of quantitative easing (QE3).

Silver rose above $30 and kept going. The upward move was driven by pro-QE3 statements made by the Federal Reserve at the Jackson Hole Symposium. Further momentum was added when Draghi unveiled an unlimited bond-buying program. Finally, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the bigger-than-expected, long-awaited QE3, which involves the central bank spending $40 billion per month on mortgage-backed securities.

Q3 revealed notable contrasts among investors. In the COMEX futures market, for example, there was a strong build-up of net speculative length. Over 900 tons were added during the final week of July, the heftiest increase since February, and additions continued throughout the quarter. But this bullish drive on the speculative side brought into focus the fact that commercial players were taking the opposing position and heavily stacking up short positions.