‘Silver Squeeze’? Precious Metal Prices Hit Eight-Year High, But Redditors Say They’re Not Behind Surge
stack of 500 gram silver bars sit in the precious metals vault at Pro Aurum KG in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Gold, trading near an 18-month high, will average $1,318 an ounce this year, a little below the current price, according to an annual London Bullion Market Association poll. Photographer: Dominik Osswald/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Dominik Osswald/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Silver prices hit an eight-year high on Monday, reportedly as amateur traders turned their attention from shorted retail stocks to shares of silver mining companies and to buying the precious resource, but Redditors, who drove much of last week’s GameStop stock surge, say they are not fully committed to a “silver squeeze” and believe more professional investors might be taking advantage of Wall Street confusion to drive change in a new market.

The BBC reports that “silver rose by as much as 11% to $30 an ounce, while shares in some mining firms were up as much as 60%” on Monday.

“The price of silver on Monday jumped as much as 13%, to $30.35 per ounce, hitting an 8-year high,” Business Insider noted. “The surge pushed up shares of silver-mining companies and causing retail sites to limit trading amid the latest attempt of amateur investors to squeeze Wall Street.”

Those involved in last week’s stock surges, though, say the decision to target silver is “controversial,” and some even admitted to the BBC that they believe the “silver squeeze” is being coordinated by Wall Street firms because the “silver squeeze” is being driven by stock tips from “suspect” sources.

“On Monday morning, the pivot towards other targets picked up speed, with the hashtag #silversqueeze trending on Twitter. Online financial personalities were cheering on day traders, with bitcoin investor Cameron Winklevoss tweeting: ‘If Silver market is proven to be fraudulent, you better believe Gold market will be next,'” per Business Insider.

“However,” the BBC reported, “some on Reddit expressed skepticism, with one saying they had analyzed comments and posts on the thread Wall Street Silver and found that 80% ‘came from accounts mostly created in the last 2 days. Pretty suspect.. who do these people really work for?!'”

Others noticed that hedge funds like Citadel Advisors were heavily financially involved in some of the targeted silver mining companies, leading r/WallStreetBets commenters to suggest those hedge funds were trying to use Reddit to recoup the losses sustained during last week’s surge on GameStop, AMC, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Express.

“By buying silver/going long on silver, you would be directly putting money into the pockets of the EXACT HEDGE FUNDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF $GME,” one commenter even suggested.

Part of the concern seems to be driven by a divide between amateur investors on strategy. Part of r/WallStreetBets wants users to continue to focus on shorted stocks like GameStop, which, by Monday, was already falling again, though still trading far higher than it was in September when shares of the video game retailer hovered around $10.

The market for precious metals and other natural resources is less volatile, one expert told BI, noting that to truly have a “silver squeeze” the effort to keep silver prices high would need to be sustained into the long term.

“The sudden inflow of money driving this spike will also need to be sustained and repeated if silver is going to run higher,” he said. “The basis for Reddit’s ‘silver squeeze’ is flimsy at best. Speculative short-selling in silver has been very tame in New Year 2021, and the commercial side of the industry will only grow its price-hedging the higher it goes. So there just isn’t the structural opportunity which a heavily shorted small company might offer.”

“A short squeeze is unlikely. Unlike GameStop, there are no holders of massive silver short positions who can be forced to abandon them in big enough numbers to send prices through the roof,” one investor who spoke to Reuters added.

Redditors, meanwhile, have had success with the retail stocks, driving the price of GameStop up 400% costing hedge funds who had been betting on the stock to fall around $15 billion so far.

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