New York--The per-ounce price of silver is expected to decrease this year as the dollar continues to strengthen and investments move out of the commodities sector. However, the metal could end the year on a strong note poised for growth in 2016.

London-based analyst Andrew Leyland, manager of precious metals demand at Thomson Reuters GFMS, told National Jeweler in an email that they are predicting the average silver price to decrease to $16.50 per ounce in 2015, down from just above $19 last year. 

According to Kitco.com, in the first three months of 2015, silver has hit a high of $18.23 and a low of $15.47, with an average price of $16.70 per ounce for the period of January to March.

“The driving factor behind silver prices this year won’t be supply or physical demand but its attractiveness as an asset class for institutional investors, in our view,” Leyland said. “We’re continuing to see money move out of the commodities sector, into equities and fixed income, and this, along with a stronger dollar, has been underpinning weakness.”

He added that Thomson Reuters GFMS expects the silver price to end the year on a strong note and for the average to increase by a full dollar, to $17.50 per ounce, next year.

The price of silver likely will hit its lowest point of the year just before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, the analyst said. “Higher rates in theory should be negative for the silver price as it’s a non-yielding asset. The market has been anticipating this, however, and we believe the rate hike is already priced in.”

The London Bullion Market Association also released its prediction for 2015 prices, with analysts forecasting an average price of $16.76 per ounce for silver--slightly higher than the Thomson Reuters GFMS forecast--with prices ranging throughout the year from $13.91 to $19.36. 

The contributors named a number of factors behind this prediction, including the expected strengthening of the dollar, disinflation and slow growth from China and the Eurozone, all of which will push down the silver price, as well as positive price factors such as continued support of silver exchange-traded funds and expectations that the retail environment will continue to take advantage of the “attractive prices.”

According to Kitco.com, silver’s average per-ounce price last year was $19.08, reaching its high in February at $22.05. 

From about July onward, the silver price declined steadily, falling to its low in November of about $15.28 before increasing slightly by year’s end.

The lower price of silver is continuing to have a positive effect on silver jewelry demand, and Thomson Reuters GFMS said that it is continuing to see a trend toward heavier pieces and movement away from plated products toward sterling silver.


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