Shanghai Silver Stocks Fall Nearly 50% Since April

Ever since the take-down of the price of silver in April, silver warehouse stocks have been declining in a large way at the Shanghai Futures Exchange. At the peak on April 12th, the Shanghai Futures Exchange held 1,124 tonnes of silver at its warehouses. However, just six weeks later, 360 tonnes or 32% were removed.

On May 31, 2013 there were 765 tonnes of silver at the exchange:

Furthermore, in just a little more than five weeks later, an additional 151 tonnes of silver have been removed. Here we can see that the Shanghai Futures Exchange now only has 614 tonnes of silver at its warehouse remaining, 20% less than it did at the end of May.

So, in less than 3 months, a total of 511 tonnes (45%) of silver have been removed from the Shanghai Futures exchange. This is almost half of all the silver stored at the exchange.

This seems very interesting that the silver stocks continue to decline in Shanghai, but in the Comex, the stocks have been relatively flat since the same time period.

Even though the Comex has seen its silver warehouse stocks increase since August of 2012 from 137 million ounces to 165 million oz today, the total hasn't changed much since April of this year.

Some may say that the huge decline ( drop since beginning of March) in the price of silver is due to a slowing of industrial demand, but as we can see from the chart above, there hasn't been an increase in silver stocks at the Comex.

On the other hand, 511 tonnes of silver have been removed from the Shanghai Futures Exchange in less than three months, which is 164 million oz or 10% of the total Comex inventories. It does seem a bit strange that the exchange in Shanghai is showing a continued draw-down of its silver inventories, whereas the Comex has had no material change whatsoever.

Lastly, there's been a great deal of confusion about what it cost for the primary silver miners to produce silver. I have heard some individuals say that silver can be mined at an ounce. I doubt one of the cheapest silver producers, Fresnillo could survive if the price of silver was less than . We must remember, Fresnillo is now making more revenue from their gold sales than silver. With the huge decline in both gold and silver, Fresnillo's cash costs are rising considerably.

(Hear more: Geologist Keith Barron: Gold & Silver Below the Cost of Production – Supply Crunch Ahead)

I put together a detailed post called "Silver Mining Costs Exposed: Cash Cost Fallacy", which you can find at the SRSrocco Report. Just because a company may show a $5 cash cost for silver, doesn't mean they can mine silver at $5.

I believe, two-thirds of the primary silver miners would be greatly impacted if the price of silver remained below $18 for long. That being said, I believe we are going to see much higher silver prices by the end of the year or beginning of 2014.

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