Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jason Hommel Claims

$8000 silver in 15 years.

For the record, let me state that I disagree. I do believe silver will hit that mark when our currency/economy finally implode. However, I am continually, continually, amazed at the ability of the Gov and the PPT to keep this debt ridden service economy afloat. The laws of economics demands that it fall, but it doesn't declare when it will. And with the Amero on the horizon the FedGov may well be looking for a way out, and who knows, they may even find it. More likely though the Amero will simply continue with the same inflation (better, dilution) of the money supply.

I linked to the article because some of the information contained in the interview is valuable to know. Info such as annual global silver consumption is ~900 million ounces a year while only ~650 million ounces is mined. This means that there is a shortage every single year. Demand isn't going to go down anytime soon and at ~250 million ounces being reclaimed/recycled every year the market's supply is dwindling.

Also of note in the interview is Jason states that of the 45 billion ounces of silver ever mined, only about 9% of it remains. Or approximately 4 billion ounces in a usable form. This means there is potentially more gold available than silver and silver is far more consumable than gold.

Checks on Hommels claim:
As with every business venture, the cost/benefit ratio is looked at. Many ventures are tabled simply because the cost to make a product or mine an ore is too high compared to the return on investment, or ROI. If the profit to be derived from mining areas that are harder to mine or have a lower yield are increased, then mining will commence. This has the added benefit of spurring innovation which may lower the cost of mining this and other ores.

Demand will also decrease in certain areas as price goes up. There are certain fields that do not really need to use silver but currently do. Dental and jewelry come to mind. If the price of silver goes up tremendously we will see a precipitous drop in demand in those two categories of use and probably others as well. While this might not stop the increase in price it will certainly affect it. For reference, jewelry (~160) and photography(~145) consume around 300 million ounces a year, with photography already down ~70 million ounces/yr in less than ten years largely due to digital photography.

Where do I see silver in 15 years? Due to demand and supply as well as runaway inflation (10%+) it is really hard to say. Despite the drop in demand for some uses, industry has increased consumption about 110 million ounces in the past ten years, even despite the recent spike in price.

I think a conservative estimate based on inflation alone would put it at $125-150 an ounce. At the high end I would say maybe $250. Should the Amero come about or our economy enter a free-fall all bets are off.