by Craig Hemke, Sprott Money:
So far, it has been a great 2020 for COMEX Digital Gold, and this is playing out much as we forecast when the year began. However, as COMEX Digital Silver and the mining shares lag behind, frustration is building within the sector. So today, let’s take a look at silver and identify again the levels to watch in the weeks ahead.
As we often do, let’s first draw back to the most recent time we wrote about the current subject. For COMEX Digital Silver, this was back in early January. If you missed it then, please review our “2020 Macrocast” that was posted on January 7:
The year for COMEX gold has begun with a bang, and it is already progressing along the path we laid out in that post. The first major target for gold was a weekly close above $1550. We knew that this would represent a major breakout and, IF IT HELD, would set the stage for continued gains.
As of this writing, not only has price held above $1550, it has now extended too. This brings the first target of 2020 into view—$1650. Then, once this level is bested and a new perception equilibrium is reached, the next target becomes $1750-1800. Again, this was laid out in that “macrocast” from January 7:
OK, so that’s great. Gold is already up more than 5% year-to-date. Terrific. But that’s not the point of this post. As mentioned at the top, we’ve got to figure out what the heck is wrong with COMEX silver and why it’s lagging. And this is important, because as we’ll show, how silver performs has an outrageous impact upon the mining shares.
First, let’s refer back to that January 7 forecast. What are we expecting in 2020? Do we expect a massive, 2011-style surge or just more gradual gains in the face of ongoing debt monetization and falling interest rates?
So, again, we’re not asking for a lot out of silver this year. Just a move to $20 and then on to $22. That sounds reasonable enough, but for crying out loud, thus far COMEX silver hasn’t even been able to maintain above $18! So what are the steps that silver will be taking, and what are the key levels that you need to monitor?
First, just like COMEX gold had $1550 to beat on a weekly closing basis, COMEX silver has an important target too. And what is that level? There’s no doubt that it’s $18.50. Until COMEX Digital Silver finally finishes a week above this key level, price isn’t going anywhere. Don’t believe me? See below:
What’s fun is that there is finally some hope that will happen quite soon. On the daily chart below, note the clear emergence of a reverse head-and-shoulder chart pattern. Not only does this pattern reinforce the importance of $18.50, it also shows just how close we may be to breaking through to the other side.
Referring again to our January forecast, the $18.50 level is the key to $20, which in turn is the key to $22 and beyond.
Finally, what the heck is wrong with the mining shares thus far in 2020? As mentioned above, gold prices are up over 5% year-to-date, but many of the key gold mining indices and ETFs are down on the year thus far. What gives?
Well, whether by design or by fate of algorithm, the mining shares now closely track SILVER instead of gold. And, of course, this makes zero sense! Why would a basket of junior gold mining shares rise and fall with the price of silver? The most likely answer is that we have 21st century automation to blame. We all know that the vast majority of equity trading now falls to the pre-programmed HFT computers, and quite obviously, many of these machines take their cues to buy or sell mining shares from the directional trade of silver. Again, don’t just take my word for it. See the charts below, where COMEX silver is displayed in candlesticks while the shares of the GDXJ appear as a blue line: