Should we all be crossing our palms with silver? Jim Duffy comment

‘I think I’m going to buy a bar of silver.’
Gold and silver have always been seen as safe havens in times of trouble. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.Gold and silver have always been seen as safe havens in times of trouble. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
Gold and silver have always been seen as safe havens in times of trouble. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

These were the words my good friend texted me last week. He also sent a link to the Royal Mint. I had to investigate. I recall when I was younger there being adverts on the TV for buying gold and silver. Bullion this and bullion that…

But I have never to this day found anyone who actually bought gold bars. I mean, what does one do with a gold bar? Hide it under the bed or stick it on the mantelpiece? Perhaps when friends come round for a drink, one outs the gold bar and passes it around. But as we move into even more unsettled times, owning a bar of gold or silver may not seem such a crazy idea.

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At the time my friend sent me the link to a 1-kilogram bar of silver, it was priced at £753. It actually went up £7 in value while I searched the site. A visit to the Royal Mint website is a fascinating excursion. Gold coins, gold bars, silver coins and a whole host of gifts involving gold and silver are on offer. But it was the bar of silver he was after that caught my attention.

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Imagine – a 1-kg silver bar. It is listed as a best-seller that will be shipped to you within three to five days. And as I write this almost one week later, that same bar of silver is now priced at £810 excluding VAT. It has risen by over fifty quid in a week! And this is why folks are now keenly tuned into silver and gold.

There is a “bullrun” on these commodities that has seen gold punch through its previous all-time high and now sit at more than $2,000 ($1,528) an ounce. Perhaps my mate’s propensity for shiny things wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Gold and silver have always been seen as safe havens at times when global economies look fragile.

From time immemorial, these precious metals have proved to be a store of value for many. As the money-printing machines called central banks ramp up their excesses in this pandemic, traditional investors see danger ahead. So, gold and silver become attractive as hedges and, in essence, places of safety. But, there may be more at play here.


Recently, senior members of the precious metals trading desk at one of the major banks in the USA were arrested and duly indicted on racketeering charges. The charges made against them are serious and have-wide ranging implications for the price of silver. It is alleged that the lender operated a fraud, whereby it made massive profits while investors lost money. All by manipulation of the silver price.

In short, suppressing it. For many, this stronghold on the price of silver has now been removed, allowing it to trade more freely. And as for gold, there is a story here too. Its rise in value may not simply be down to the fear of missing out or use as a hedge as inflation approaches. No, gold is now classified as a tier one asset.

The Bank for International Settlements now recognises central banks’ holdings of physical gold as a reserve asset equal to cash. For years, gold was classified as a tier three asset, which is marked down 50 per cent.

So, for a bank to own it was not such a great idea as it only showed as 50 per cent of its value on their balance sheets. But that has now changed. And with it big bank’s appetites for buying this precious metal.

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When all aggregated in a strong market at this time, sliver and gold appear to be making a comeback. Some very senior macroeconomics gurus on social media are shouting from the rooftops to their followers to go long on gold, silver and that other “digital gold” asset – Bitcoin.

They might be on to something, as corporate debt, negative interest rates, diminishing US Treasury bond yields and the true economic outcomes from this awful pandemic play out. For now, though, I’m still waiting to be invited around for drinks by my chum when permitted. A glass of wine, some cheese and biscuits and to marvel at his bar of silver.

Jim Duffy MBE, Create Special

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