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In this day and age most people hand over their investment decisions to a financial advisor or pick a few mutual funds to put in their IRA or 401K with a click of a mouse. Then there are some of us who have great distrust for the financial markets and for the people pulling the strings behind the scenes. An even smaller amount of us have zero investments in the stock market. Some of you have real estate, farms, collections, small businesses and quite possibly like myself precious metals. For me and my family we have put our future into, Poor man´s Gold, The Devils Metal, The White Metal or better known as Silver.
- Silver is significantly cheaper than gold. Almost everyone in the world can afford it.
- The historical Silver to Gold ratio is 16-1 today as I write this the ratio is 56-1. If we took the traditional 16-1 ratio silver should be priced around $100.
- Silver is being used up while Gold is being hoarded. In the 1950´s there was over 10 billion ounces of silver available worldwide. Today we have around 1 billion ounces of silver available.
This should set the alarms off within any investors mind.
- The silver market is miniscule compared to other markets. The total silver market is worth around $28 Billion. A few big investments by institutional investors can play havoc in the market.
- The solar industry is requiring more silver. According to the VM Group Silver Survey, the use of silver in the solar industry will increase by 17.5% annually. To as much as 70 million ounces per year by 2020 and another 60 million ounces to be used in solar power concentrator power plants. That is over 15% of the current total silver mined annually.
- Hospitals are realizing that the biocide and antimicrobial uses of silver are invaluable in the battle against antibiotic resistant bacteria like, MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus), which have been plaguing hospitals worldwide. Silver nano-particles are making their way into medical clothing, instruments, furniture and equipment.
- The use of silver in electronics has more than doubled in the last ten years.
- The mines cannot keep up with demand. In 2011 the worldwide production of silver came to 761 million ounces. The total silver used was 876 million ounces. Scrap silver supplied 256 million ounces of silver to the market to make up the short fall. With the use of silver in film rapidly declining, less will be available from scrap. Numbers are from, The Silver Institute website.
- If there is a worldwide economic slowdown the miners will be bringing less silver to market. Silver as well as many other rare strategic metals is mined as a by-product of minor metals like copper and zinc. Due to this relationship the miners will not be bringing as much silver to market because they will be mining less minor metals.
- The silver price manipulation as exposed by GATA. I believe the days are numbered for this scheme. To find out more about this please visit GATA.
- The government stockpiles are all but gone.
- When governments start to take freedoms away from their citizens the people will naturally be attracted to hard assets like silver.
- Worldwide mistrust in fiat currencies. Countries can´t devalue their currencies fast enough. It is a race to the bottom. Recently countries like Brazil said that they will devalue their currency in order to keep their exports competitive.
- The days of the US Dollars reserve currency status are numbered. China has 16 currency swap agreements with other nations bypassing the US Dollar and counting. Iran and India have decided to trade oil for gold bypassing the Petrodollar. The BRIC´s have had multiple meetings concerning trade and currencies.
- The Euro crisis, nobody knows what will be the end result. Uncertainty leads people to safe havens like gold and silver.
- There will be a flight to physical metal when investors find out that there is little or no metal backing their ETF´s. Sprott Asset Management has an ETF backed by fully allocated silver, PSLV.
- The PAGE (Pan Asian Gold Exchange) will offer 320 million customers of the Agricultural Bank of China the ability to buy silver and gold. This could be a significant market in the years to come.
- The demand from India and the Middle East continues to grow. Recently there was a precious metals conference in Dubai and silver was the star of the show.
- Silver is less prone to fakes than gold because of its lower value. There are plenty of fake older coins on the market so buyer beware. Stick to known mints and government issued bullion.
- Above all silver will always have value and will never go to zero.
Where will you be putting your hard earned currency in 2012? Soon we have an election in the USA that will have major ramifications for your assets. Many Americans are rather nervous about the path the current administration has taken in regards to personal assets. Also with the future of the Eurozone in peril, how will this affect precious metals? Keep in mind offshore diversification to help protect your future. Silver is an option that can provide peace of mind to the average investor. Will you be buying any silver?
By: Randy Hilarski - The Rare Metals Guy
There has been news swirling around indium over the last few months. Companies are finding new uses for the metal and the current uses are expanding production. This is all very exciting for the mining industry and exposure of indium in peoples’ portfolios.
Indium has the symbol of In on the periodic table of the elements and has an atomic number of 49. The rare strategic metal was discovered in 1863 by German chemists Ferdinand Reich and Theodor Richter. Indium has a melting point of 156.60 °C (313.88 °F) making it useful in many low melting point applications.
The rare strategic metal is primarily mined in China, Bolivia and Canada. The top refiners of Indium are China, Korea, Japan, Canada, Japan and Belgium. The total refined amount annually is approximately 500 mt. China controls 97% percent of production. If we do not find alternatives to the current mining techniques Indium will continue to be on the critical list of rare strategic metals. Indium is primarily a bi-product of zinc mining. Mining companies are working on ways to extract Indium from tin and copper mining to expand the sources of the metal. At current consumption rates there could be a crisis in the supply of indium in the next ten years. According to the British Geological Survey, indium scores a 6.5 out of 10 on the critical metals list in 2011.
Indium has many uses in the world of technology. Here is a list of the most prominent uses.
- Transparent conductive coating (Touchscreens on Mobile Phones and Ipads) SHARP IGZO
- CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) Solar Panels
- LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)
- LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays)
- Low Pressure Sodium Lamps
- Control rods for nuclear reactors as an alloy with silver and cadmium
- Thermal interface material
Sharp electronics out of Japan just officially announced that they will begin producing IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) screens for Apple (Aapl). It has been rumored for almost a year that the IGZO screens would be used in all future Apple products. These screens boast double the resolution of current screens. Currently Sharp will be producing three screens for Apple. These screens can save up to 90% in power consumption over conventional screens.
- 7in tablet screens 1280X800 pixels resolution (217 pixels per inch)
- 10in notebook screens 2560X1600 pixels resolution (300 pixels per inch)
- 32in LCD screen 3840X2160 pixels resolution (140 pixels per inch)
The first product from Apple that will integrate the new screens is the new Apple Smart TV. Apple has reportedly invested $1.2 Billion in one of Sharp´s manufacturing facilities in China. Sharp expects that the demand for IGZO screens will increase. Over 50% of all indium used is in the manufacturing of LCD displays.
The other technology that is expected to put pressure on the indium market is the CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) solar panels. Currently CIGS solar panels are the most efficient solar panels on the market. CIGS solar panels can be molded to fit many uses. Companies are designing them to integrate into roofing, glass and metals. Could you imagine what the future holds when buildings turn into solar panels? Companies like Solar Frontier, MiaSole and Avancis are providing the world with CIGS solar panels. According to Lux Research out of Boston the market for CIGS PV installations could more than double by 2015 to $2.315 Billion.
The excitement around the indium market is palpable. If you are a stock trader then the companies above are your best option. If you are looking for a commodities position then you should contact the team at Swiss Metal Assets and store some indium along with other metals in Switzerland. The rare strategic metal is poised to have a strong decade.