Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
Silver is booming—but it could be entering bubble territory now

Silver has risen to an all-time high, immediate delivery prices are up 5.4% at $49.79/ounce, surpassing the previous high of $49.45 in 1980. But as global analysts predict, this rally may not sustain—and a correction could be on the cards

There is a very interesting theory in financial markets called as 'The Bigger Fool' theory. It says that there are times when the only reason 'X' buys an asset class is because X believes that there is a fool (Y) who is a bigger fool than X, who will buy the same asset from X at a price which is higher than what X has already paid for.

The second person buying the asset also feels the same, so will be the case with the third person and so on... and the price of the asset keeps increasing. However, when the asset reaches its peak price, the fool (the biggest one of them all) holding the asset can no longer find a fool bigger than himself. So he eventually sells to someone who is slightly wiser than himself-and thus the price eventually crashes, leaving the ones who bought at the peak price depressed for ever.

At current levels, silver is one of the biggest examples of this bigger fool theory in live action. Over the past one year, the price of silver, a (relatively) poor cousin of gold, has glittered way beyond anyone's expectation, rising up by over 145%. It has become one of the best performing asset classes in the world, beating every possible resistance level which market pundits could chart.

The so called commodity 'experts' appear on TV and give their short/long term target for silver, the same way they predicted the target for crude oil when it was $140 in mid-2008 (targets were $200 by December 2008).

This also reminds me of the 'target levels' for the Sensex which were predicted in January 2008. The index was expected to touch 25,000 by the year-end.

We all know what happened to these targets. There are fundamental reasons that lead to a rise in silver prices from Rs20,000 levels to around Rs40,000, but after that it's probably the 'greater fool' theory at work.

People have started speculating hugely in the futures market assuming that once JP Morgan comes to unwind its over 3.3 billion ounce short position in silver, it would lead to a short-covering rally. JP Morgan's position is over 1/3rd of the world's known silver deposits (or four times the annual mined supply of silver in the world).

At a price of Rs71,800/kg, there are many who are cursing themselves for not entering the great silver bull run at Rs40,000, Rs50,000 or even at Rs65,000 and are planning to enter now so that they can get rid of the sorry feeling that they are now experiencing for having missed out on this amazing money-minting opportunity.

This sorry feeling which results in individuals chasing any asset class for not wanting to miss the bus is precisely what creates a bubble. It's the same feeling which the masses had when the Sensex was at 21,000 in January 2008, or when crude was at $140/barrel in July 2008 or during the period of the US housing bubble or the dotcom bubble... or even the tulip bubble which occurred in Holland some 370 years back.

So I strongly believe that the upside potential for silver is limited. It can go to Rs75,000 or even Rs80,000/kg. However at that level, I am sure that no one will sell, hoping for a further rise and will eventually end up holding the contracts of the metal at some beaten-down levels.

Retail investors should avoid chasing silver, especially in the futures market, since a correction in prices is long overdue. Top commodity investor Jim Rogers holds the view that a correction in silver is required, for it to sustain on its long-term trajectory. He has been quoted as saying: "I am worried about silver. If silver continues to go up like it has been over the past 2 or 3 weeks, yes, then it would get to triple digits this year.  And then we'll have to worry.  It's not parabolic yet.  I hope something stops it going up in the foreseeable future and we have a correction. There's never one in history that hasn't popped.''

The biggest reason for the crash in the US housing bubble, or the crude bubble or the dotcom bubble or any other financial bubble in history is the realisation that prices would rise forever and can never correct. Once this realisation sets in (as is happening in silver) one can believe that the bubble is at its peak and a fall is inevitable.




5 years ago

Would love to know why you think the JP Morgan unwinding will not drive the prices further?
Also, China has clearly stated part of investments going forward into precious metals. Even a few billion USD from China can totally shake the market. Why would that not be bullish?
The USD, the world's reserve currency is down substantially (just look at the DSX). Why would that not be bullish?
And, most fiat currencies of the world are facing devaluation 'in-situ' - by inflation. Why would that not be bullish for silver?
I think the article misses some very big points, and you have resorted to 'hand-waiving' without substantial facts about the extent of these issues.


Rahul Sonthalia

In Reply to Vikas 5 years ago

Silver, Selling freeze in domestic spot markets and down by over 10% in international markets. All the points you mention Vikas are correct, however they do not justify a rise of over 150% in 8 months.. Fundamentals should result in gradual substantial rise, rather than a big one time rise... The fate of Crude, Housing, Dotcom, Sensex @ 21k, ... teach so many lessons.... Silver will also become a case study in future...

Fundamentas like China Buying, dollar index falling, etc. are there... However, they support gold more than Silver


5 years ago

bang on..silver prices really look unsustainable at this level. 2 much noise about silver doin d rounds..precise article.

Ajeya Sadashivaiah

5 years ago

Rahul, in 1980 the bull run of Silver was engineered by "Hunt Brothers". Silver dropped like pack of cards in 1980 itself.
Finally "Hunt Brothers" filed for bankruptcy. This time I don't think any one engineering the silver bull market.
But yes silver has went into to the "Bigger fools theory", it has to fall.
Recently I think "Union bank of India" started selling silver bars, when more banks enter selling silver bars then it is the time to sell silver. That opportunity will come soon, may be this year. One more thing, when silver was trading at 6-7 thousand per Kg I think no bank use to sell silver bars.

Pankaaj Maalde

5 years ago

good informative article on silver. this will help readers to stay away from this.

Alfredo Coronado

6 years ago

Silver is still cheap. There are 10 ounces of silver to 1 gold, and almost 90% is consumed. Already been extracted from the mines to 80%. Silver has an intrinsic value greater than gold. And U.S. finance is terrible, impressive:


6 years ago

Silver is already in bubble territory. It is driven by dollar weakness and supply concerns. Expect major reverse trend soon. FIRST CHOICE IPO.

Suresh Kalmadi’s tryst with Pune and politics

The man who was often referred to as the CEO of Pune, may have brought much glamour to Maharashtra’s cultural capital, but he didn’t do much to relieve the problems of common Puneites

The first time I had a glimpse of Suresh Kalmadi and his simple and sweet wife Meera on a public stage was in the mid-1970s when they hosted a live programme of Usha Uthup in, if I remember right, at the Sub-Area Grounds. I was a teenager in college then and all of us had gone to see and hear the charismatic pop star whose metallic voice was a rage in those days. I remember the crowd was huge. The other association with Mr Kalmadi was the Poona Coffee House opposite the Deccan Gymkhana bus stand that we patronised on Sunday evenings when dinner would not be served in our hostel mess.

During those days, the surname 'Kalmadi' was associated more with Dr Shamrao Kalmadi, his father, who was well known as a Good Samaritan, in the role of a doctor and community man. He established the Karnataka High School, by literally going door-to-door for donations. His humility and social conscientiousness captured the hearts of many.

It is said that Dr Shamrao was not too happy when Suresh left his career in the Indian Air Force and plunged into politics. In fact, when Mr Kalmadi's house was raided by income-tax authorities many years back, his father was most embarrassed and believed that his son was on the wrong path. No prizes for guessing what he would have thought of the recent CBI action now!

Suresh Kalmadi surged ahead in his career in politics and there was no looking back after he became member of the Rajya Sabha in 1982, until the Commonwealth Games scandal halted (whether this is permanent, or temporary time will tell) his otherwise smooth-sailing political race. He has an impressive record of over a decade in the Rajya Sabha and then was elected to the Lok Sabha from Pune thrice.

Though Suresh Kalmadi is synonymous with Pune, at the national and international level in politics and sports, it is ironical that he is perceived as having little rapport with the common man or the woes of Puneites. When Pune was ridden with pot-holes that threatened the lives and limbs of citizens and they raised a hue and cry about it, he said that the media ought not to highlight such negative views about Pune that would scare away investors, instead of promising to rectify the corrupt road construction system and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-contractor nexus. Though he doled out money for the roads from the funds available to him as a member of Parliament, the common Puneite did not see him as being sympathetic to their cause.

Recently, while swine flu rocked Pune (the city was stamped as the swine flu capital of the country), Mr Kalmadi was occupied with his responsibilities as president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) came in a bit late to air his concern over the situation.

Public transport, the prime inconvenience of Puneites, has been in a mess; his Pune Vyaspeeth (the forum he established to tackle issues concerning Pune) took up the issue, but it did not reflect at the ground level. He ruled the PMC for many years as the local Congress chief, but the civic body had a laid-back attitude and was always mired in cases of financial misappropriation.

One of the few exceptions where Mr Kalmadi got his act together for the benefit of the common Puneite was on the issue of protecting the hills of Pune. Thanks to his firm stance against the proposal of allowing construction on the hills, the PMC passed the Green DP for the 23 merged villages of Pune, and the state government has had a tough time trying to undo the step taken by the PMC.

Paradoxically, despite not being the common man's man, Mr Kalmadi is synonymous with Pune, sometimes even called its CEO. To many, Mr Kalmadi is a politician of the elite, an impeccable organiser of mega sports and cultural events. Personally, he comes across as a friendly, amiable person, but his mask as a politician somehow belies these traits.

He enhanced the status of Pune by hosting the Pune International Marathon which completed 25 years this year; held the National Games in the city in the mid-1990s; and the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2009 (the curtain-raiser for the 2010 Commonwealth Games). However, to common Puneites, this has not been reflected in any sort of change in the sports culture of the city, and even access to facilities at Chhatrapati Shivaji Stadium at Balewadi comes at a high price. Yet, they have been compassionate towards him. Puneites showed their appreciation for the work done during the 2009 youth games by attending the event in thousands, even if some went only to have a look at the new dream destination for sports. Then they re-elected him to Parliament  in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The Pune Festival, mooted by Mr Kalmadi, was a star-studded cultural extravaganza in the first few years after it was launched in the 1990s. The country's leading maestros of music and the performing arts, as well as Bollywood stars, swooped down on Pune, and his abilities as a brilliant organiser came to the fore again. But the Pune Festival has lost its sheen in recent years, as the primary objective to attract foreign tourists on the occasion of the historic, traditional 10-day Ganesh Festival has come a cropper. Although he denies this, and insists that the Pune Festival is for locals too.

So, has Mr Kalmadi lost account of accountability and credibility over the years? No doubt, there are other bigger players in the mega Commonwealth Games scam, but the fact remains that he was the face of the Games management and he will have to bear the merits and the demerits too. Besides, he will have to also answer many uncomfortable questions about the questionable public expenditure and lack of expenditure details with regard to the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Pune International Marathon and now the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF). RTI documents have revealed that public money has been spent, but no, or haphazard, details are available of the same.

The last big and glittering party he held in Pune was a few months back, when the IPL Pune team, now called Pune Warriors, was born, and Subroto Roy was the prime guest. No doubt, Mr Kalmadi brought glamour to Pune now and then, but now the clamour to prove his credibility is increasing from Puneites. Has he lost ground now?

(This article first appeared in Intelligent Pune on 31 December 2010. Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected])



Shadi Katyal

5 years ago

One wonders when Mr. Kalmadi was going around and threatening press while being questioning of his ability to run SCAM after SCAM, why did the GOVT stayed quite? Who is the power behind that he was let loose for 6 months so he can clean the closet. something is not right.
He should be jailed for life time not 14 years but rest of his life and we must recover as much as can.
Why no Metro in Poona because there was not that much loot as in CWG. Toilet paper for Rs.10,000 a roll
where did Rs 9900 go.Why has GOI been quite when media was publishing such reports? Evidently there are more people than Kalmadi involved.


Black Mamba

In Reply to Shadi Katyal 4 years ago

And now Mr. Ramakrishna Yadav (baba ramdev)is shouting at the top of his voice to get that money back. Maybe Maino-Vinci were amongst the beneficiaries thats why he is out and no attempt at money recovery.

Yash Verma

5 years ago

Another excellent write up giving details of the 'good deeds' of Suresh Kalmadi during the last 25 years. When during the last general elections he was asking the voters to give him another chance by saying that "elect me this time please and I shall bring metro to Pune and solve all the traffic problems of the city during the next 5 yrs", some one asked him, Sir, what were you doing during the last 25 yrs? Sad to know that he is the son of an illustrious father Dr Shamrao. Better not to have one. See what politics and greed make of a fighter pilot - Suresh Kalmadi in jail.

Yash Verma

5 years ago

A fine article on the man who wanted to rule Pune for another decade or so, but could not. Seems like the end of the tunnel for Kalmadi. We have had enough of him. Pune needs a clean and efficient MP who can deliver services, roads, water, electricity etc and not only cultural/sports extravaganzas. Whether we can find one in the present context, is a million dollar question.

nagesh kini

5 years ago

Vinita has rightly brought out both the pluses and minuses of Suresh Kalmadi.
There is no doubt that it doesn't behove the son of venerable Dr. Shamrao who instead of his son to be the real icon Puneri.
If the other Puneri can spend more time at ICC meets at London and Dubai and leave the Indian aam janata to food inflation and at the mercy of hoarders, Mr. Kalmadi's misdemenours are peanuts!


6 years ago

From receiving accolades all around him to receiving a chappel as a condemnation must be the rise and fall of Kalmadi.

Narendra Doshi

6 years ago

I have been a very frequent traveller to Pune - a resident also for few years . One cannot deny what he has done for the Pune & its suburbs - not previously done by anybody else - over the years but I do agree with Vinita that Puneites could have been on a much higher plateau if they could have also been included in this growth on a much more participative approach.


6 years ago

Its a shame that Pune-ites took so long to see through this crocodile. It took outsiders to show Pune the poisonous snake they had been feeding for 20+ years.

Eating in AC restaurants to be costlier from 1st May

According to a notification of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, the service tax proposals of the Finance Bill 2011 will come into effect from 1st May

New Delhi: Eating in air-conditioned restaurants which serve liquor will become costlier from next month as it will attract service tax from 1st May. Bills at these restaurant will go up by 3%, as the service tax of 10% will be levied on 30% of the billed amount, reports PTI.

Similarly, staying in guest houses, hotels and clubs will attract 5% service tax.

According to a notification of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the service tax proposals of the Finance Bill 2011 will come into effect from 1st May.

"...the central government hereby appoints 1 May 2011 as the date on which the provisions of the (Finance) Act shall come into force," the CBEC notification said.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, presenting the Budget 2011-12, had said, "Services provided by air-conditioned restaurants that have licence to serve liquor, by giving an abatement of 70%. Thus, the effective burden will be 3% of the bill."

Besides, bills for short-term accommodation provided by hotels, inns, guest houses, clubs or campsites from 1st May will go up by 5%.

The modified rules for imposing service tax on life insurance polices, as proposed by Mr Mukherjee, too will come into effect from next month.

Under the new rules, the insurer will have an option to pay tax on 1.5% of the gross premium charged from a policyholder.

The government has also rescinded a 2006 notification, which provided exemption to chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries for their services relating to representing clients before the statutory authorities.



nirmal jain

2 years ago

How about when a person book a restaurant online from the websites like, Do the person need to pay bills at such restaurants 30% extra service tax?

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