Here’s what’s behind silver’s sterling rally

Silver has enjoyed an incredible surge recently, but some analysts doubt the sustainability of the metal's rally.

"As monetary policy over the course next nine months becomes hawkish and the dollar starts to strengthen, then this trade is going to start to unwind rapidly," predicted Stifel Nicolaus portfolio manager Chad Morganlander, referring to his expectation that the Federal Reserve is set to raise rates.

Silver has already risen 11 percent this month, a huge jump after years of losses. The move has come as gold turns a banner year, and industrial metals like copper rise. In the metals market, silver is a bit unique: It's a precious metal that also has some industrial uses.

The worry is that both components of silver's value will soon become anchors on its price. On the precious side, silver's inverse correlation with the dollar will turn into a problem if the dollar starts to rise once the Fed raises rates. On the industrial side, if global growth continues to stagnate, demand for the metal will drop.

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Technical analyst Ari Wald nevertheless emphasizes that at least in the short term, going for silver could remain smart.

"[This is a] very clearly defined reversal of silver's multiyear downtrend here," the Oppenheimer technical analyst said Wednesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."


"The breakout point was at $16 — that 16 is now going to act as a level of support, and we do believe the trade is up to $18.50 resistance," he said.

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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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