Silver streaks higher
Silver’s meteoric rise continued this week, exploding over $23 per ounce for the first time since 2013. The metal’s value has more than doubled since mid-March when investment assets collapsed amid the initial coronavirus-driven market panic.
Since then, as scientists and investors more fully grasp the impact of the pandemic, people are flocking toward silver, boosting the price by over $3 per ounce this week alone.
Meanwhile, gold is nearing an all-time high. The yellow metal sold off less substantially than silver this spring, but its recent rise of more than $400 per ounce is a sign that gold remains a darling investment.
The primary driver of both metals has been increasing government debt as the U.S. Congress and European Union are each spending trillions to combat the economic and healthcare costs of the COVID-19 outbreak. Investors are fearing that the increase in spending could devolve into governments printing money and sparking inflation to foot the stimulus bills, which should boost metals further.
Alongside investor demand, industrial consumption of metals is rebounding as the global economy increases activity, adding fuel to the rally.
As of midday Friday, gold traded for $1897 per ounce, while silver stood at $22.85.
Soybeans shot to $9.10 per bushel on Friday on news of rising foreign demand for U.S. beans, especially from China. American farmers typically compete with growers in Brazil for foreign buyers, but this year’s Brazilian crop is almost completely sold, leaving the U.S. as the primary supplier for global demand.
The U.S. soybean crop is entering a critical stage in its growth and conditions are looking great, indicating a large and healthy crop.
Even as prices rise, some traders warn the market could be approaching a proverbial cliff as political tensions between the U.S. and China escalated this week. The U.S. forced China to close its Houston consulate over accusations of espionage, and now China is retaliating by closing a U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
If the relationship continues to erode, trade between the world’s two largest economies could be threatened yet again. By far, soybeans are the most valuable export from America to China; any additional trade interruptions could send soybeans sharply lower.