Gold Losses Pale Beside Silver’s Two-Year Drop: Chart of the Day

Gold’s plunge in the past two trading days came nowhere near delivering the kind of losses that investors in another precious metal, silver, endured the past two years.

As the CHART OF THE DAY illustrates, silver for immediate delivery tumbled 53 percent from its April 2011 closing high of $48.44 an ounce through yesterday. Gold was higher throughout most of this period. The chart compares spot prices for the metals in the top panel.

One ounce of gold was equivalent to 59.22 ounces of silver as of yesterday, as the bottom panel shows. The ratio rose from

31.7 ounces at silver’s peak two years ago and surpassed its 2012 high of 58.9 ounces, set in June.

“Silver needs more of a push from investment demand and industrial demand than gold,” George Gero, a vice president and precious-metals strategist in New York for RBC Capital Markets, said yesterday in an interview. “Nobody’s really adding silver to their inventory.”

Jewelry, silverware, coins and other investments accounted for 47 percent of demand in 2011, according to figures compiled by the Washington-based Silver Institute. The rest was used for consumer electronics, solar cells, batteries, photographic film and additional products.

Silver tumbled 18 percent in the past two days, exceeding a 14 percent loss for gold. Yet the decline in silver was only the biggest since September 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gold had its steepest slide since February 1983.

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