Holdings of iShares Silver Trust, the world's largest silver ETF, stood at 10,689 tonnes on Jan. 22, up 604.9 tonnes, or nearly 6%, from the end of 2012.
By comparison, SPDR Gold Trust, the world's top gold ETF, saw an outflow of nearly 15 tonnes so far this year.
This has helped silver prices rally more than 6% so far this year and 4.5% last week alone. The close above $32/oz yesterday was bullish technically and could lead to silver testing the next level of resistance, which is at $34/oz.
The U.S. Mint has sold out of 2013 American Eagle silver coins and will resume sales the week of Jan. 28 when the U.S. Mint said inventory would be replenished.
Chinese silver turnover surged to 2,200 tonnes on Friday and analysts say Chinese investor’s interest in silver is continuing to rise as many are looking at silver as a cheaper alternative to gold.
Hence, trading volumes for the precious metal on the SGE soared in 2012.
Silver bullion imports by China remain robust too. Silver imports were 228 metric tons in December, according to data released by the customs agency.
There are also rumors that Apple is experiencing delays in producing the new iMac due to difficulty in sourcing industrial silver in volume in China. More silver than is typically used is utilized in the new 21.5" Apple iMacs.
HSBC Buying KGHM Silver Bars
HSBC has quietly moved into acquiring large amounts of silver bullion.
The bank has secured another deal to buy silver bars from KGHM, which brings their total purchases of silver from KGHM alone in the last 12 months to $876 million or PLN 3.65 billion.
KGHM is one of the largest producers of silver in the world and is the second-largest producer of refined silver in the world.
They produce silver bars registered under the brand KGHM HG that are attested to by “Good Delivery” certificates issued by the London Bullion Market Association and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.