John Hardy’s hinged bangle in brushed silver from the “Bamboo” collection ($695)
New York--Silver prices are up approximately 9 percent since the beginning of the year, according to Kitco.com and the Silver Institute, which noted that the price is likely to keep going up.

In January, silver averaged $16.80, a Kitco.com chart shows.

It is now is averaging above $17 an ounce. Silver’s highest price so far this year was in late February when it hit $18.34.

The Silver Institute released a report this week noting that the increase likely was due to “improving sentiment among institutional investors.”

“We expect that the factors that buoyed institutional silver investment over much of 2016, and have carried over into the early months of 2017, will remain relevant for the remainder of this year,” said Silver Institute Executive Director Michael DiRienzo.

Silver prices went up nearly 17 percent over the course of the year in 2016 according to figures from the London Fix obtained from Kitco, averaging $14.02 an ounce in January and ending at an average of $16.38 per ounce for the month of December.

Year-over-year, the average silver price increased 9 percent in 2016, the Silver Institute said, which was the first increase in five years. 

The Silver Institute noted that the current strength of silver is affected in part by “improvement in silver industrial offtake” and better-than-expected market reactions to the recent rise in interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

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