Despite the massive amounts of information available these days to just about any precious metals investor with an internet connection, the same time-old questions seem to persist:
- Is it the right (or wrong) time to buy gold or silver?
- Should I buy both, and if so, should I buy more gold or more silver?
- Should I sell my gold to buy more silver, or should I dump my silver to buy more gold?
At the heart of these questions are two major unknowns: when to buy and how much to buy.
Look closer, and these lead you to yet another set of questions: are either of the metals undervalued or overvalued relative to one another?
How might you find out? You can always scour through pages of gold/silver mining and production reports, comparing them with one another, and checking for correlations with broader economic developments and monetary policy. Eventually, you will have to do some of this homework.
A quicker at-a-glance solution would be to check where the price of gold is in relation to silver, or the Gold/Silver ratio. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of this indicator–what it is, how to interpret it, and how to use it to increase your gold and silver holdings and/or profits.
What is the Gold/Silver Ratio?
The gold/silver ratio is an indicator that tells you the multiple of gold’s price over that of silver. For example: in May 1920, the price of gold per ounce was $253.15 and the price of silver was at $12.64. The gold and silver ratio was at 20:1 or 20-to-1. This means that 20 ounces of silver was equal to one ounce of gold.
How Can You Use the Gold-to-Silver Ratio?
What makes this ratio valuable is how it might compare to the historical average ratio. In this way, you can speculate whether gold is trading at too high a price, or if silver is trading at too low a price, and vice versa.
The main purpose of the gold and silver ratio is to determine the optimal time to buy (or sell) gold and silver.
But on a more advanced level, you can use this ratio to accumulate more of each metal by cyclically converting one to the other, and we’ll show you how to do this.
Before we go deeper into this topic, let’s catch a historical glimpse of this ratio and how it had changed over time.
Gold/Silver Ratio Through History
- Mother Nature’s silver-to-gold ratio (notice the reversal) seems to be 17.5: 1. This means that in the earth’s crust for every 17.5 ounces of silver, there is only 1 ounce of gold, making gold the rarer of the two metals (hence, it’s a higher cost).
- In the Roman Empire, gold/silver was set to 12:1.
- In 1792, the gold/silver ratio in the US was set to 15:1, meaning that one troy ounce of gold was worth 15 troy ounces of silver.
- In 1803, France enacted a gold/silver ratio of 1803.
- Throughout the 20th century, the average gold/silver ratio was 47:1.
- But over the last two decades, the average was higher, at 60:1.
Today’s Gold/Silver Ratio Stands at a Record High of 84:1
With several decades of market experience in precious metals and commodities, we at GSI Exchange believe that now is the time for investors to rebalance their precious metals portfolios.
With the gold/silver ratio at record highs, you now have an opportunity to generate windfall profits in the coming months if you decrease your gold positions and allocate those monies to silver.
As with most seasoned metals investors, we are expecting the gold/silver ratio to revert back to an average level. The imbalance between gold and silver prices is telling us that silver is way too undervalued at its current price level.
It’s time to go “overweight” on silver.
A Safe Haven From Economic and Geopolitical Uncertainty
The geopolitical and economic landscape has been uncertain over the last few years despite the raging bull market in US stocks. It was only during the last quarter of 2018 that American investors caught on to the true fundamentals of the global economy.
This realization resulted in the record-high volatility that we saw toward the end of 2018. Although the markets have staged something of a comeback, the underlying fundamentals haven’t changed.
Smart investors and several large private banks are amassing physical silver. With economic uncertainty as the strategic context for accumulating silver, the inflated gold/silver ratio serves as the green light for pulling the trigger.
It’s Time to Seize the Growth Opportunities Before Us
Many investors are opting for silver ETFs, the biggest and most popular being SLV. It’s not the same thing. What’s missing is “ownership.” Remember, if you can see it and can’t hold it, then it’s likely that you don’t own it.
Silver’s upside potential is such that it can eclipse gold. Having been hammered down to record-low prices over the last three years, what hasn’t caught up to most investors is the fact that silver supply is close to a staggering deficit with regard to its demand.
For thousands of years, silver has traded at a defined ratio of 16:1, meaning 16 ounces of silver have been equal to 1 ounce of gold.
The current 84:1 ratio cannot hold.
And investors who are aware of this key piece of information will have a tremendous advantage in the marketplace.
Bear in mind that the last time we saw the ratio so out of balance was in 2008 before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. The ratio was at 84:1 before it collapsed to 31:1.
Investors savvy enough to load up on silver walked away with multiple profits by riding the silver bull to 31:1 and then converting all of their silver to physical gold as the ratio, once again, reached 84:1.
Seasoned investors know that it’s all a profit-generating cycle. And now you do too.
So how do you go about taking advantage of this natural market rotation?
The Gold/Silver Profit Cycle
History often repeats itself, and those keen enough to grasp its patterns can position themselves advantageously over those who are ignorant of it. So here it goes.
The 40 – 85 Rule: Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen levels ping-pong: ratios of around 40 to 45 (to 1) have characterized the “lows,” while ratios around 80 to 85 (to 1) have been the peak highs.
Based on this rule, we can devise a simple strategy:
- Convert silver to gold when the ratio goes below 45:1; and
- Convert gold to silver when the ratio goes above 80:1.
If you had done this within the last 30 years, one could have easily turned 100 ounces of gold into 562 ounces. Yes, $122,000 worth of gold would have appreciated to $739,676.
This would have amounted to a 506% return in 30 years, or an annual 16.86% return, beating the average annual return of the S&P 500 of 10%.
Let walk through the steps investors followed to achieve this growth:
- They started with 100 oz. of gold.
- In 1989 when the ratio was at 80:1, they converted 100 oz. of gold to 8,000 oz. of silver.
- In 1998, when the ratio dropped to 45:1, they took their 8,000 oz. of silver and about 177.8 oz. of gold.
- In 2003, when the ratio peaked once again above 80:1, they converted their 177.8 oz. of gold to 14,222 oz. of silver.
- In 2006, the ratio fell to 45, and they converted 14,222 oz. of silver back to gold, this time accumulating 316 oz.
- In late 2008, when the ratio rose to 80:1, their 316 oz. of gold was converted back to silver, 25,284 oz. worth.
- In 2011, when the ratio cycled back to 45:1, they converted their 25,284 oz. of silver to 561.9 oz of gold.
- And finally, in 2016, with a gold/silver ratio of 80, they converted their 561.9 oz. of gold to 44,949 oz. of silver.
Currently, the gold/silver ratio is at 84:1, with silver having just recovered from a 3-year decline, one that tested a 21-year low.
Whether gold or silver prices rise or fall, this ratio provides knowledgeable investors with a cyclical opportunity to continue increasing their holdings while growing their wealth.
If you haven’t approached precious metals investing in this way, now is the perfect time to start, as the ratio at 84:1 has reached an extreme point from which it will inevitably cycle back.
In the next few years, silver will outperform gold. An increasing number of our customers have already made this switch.