Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Silver Singularity Is Near

By Mike Scully from SeekingAlpha

Price, as they say, is determined on the margins. This is especially true for inelastic goods. If 100 Tickle Me Elmo dolls exist in Walmart on Christmas eve, and 100 people absolutely need to have them, you don't have a problem. The price will be some reasonable markup on the cost of production. However, if one more person walks in fearing the wrath of his child if there's no Elmo under the tree, Walmart ( WMT ) can quickly turn into a war zone. In Walmart, this supply shortage might be settled by shoving and hair pulling. In a civilized market, this supply, demand inequity is settled with price. In the case of Elmo in 1996, some dolls were reportedly sold in aftermarkets for $1500.


This is an important concept to keep in mind when evaluating the silver market. Silver is interesting because it is actually two different markets. On one hand, silver is a physical commodity that is used in industry or warehoused as physical savings. This market is rather inelastic on the supply and demand side as I will discuss in a bit. On the other hand is the silver derivatives market, paper contracts for silver, that set the spot price on the margins. The paper market is elastic and depends more on investor psychology than underlying fundamentals.

Read more: http://community.nasdaq.com/News/2012-01/the-silver-singularity-is-near.aspx?storyid=117209#ixzz1knqtOcEn