China imported lowest amount of silver in April since the beginning of 2009

via Commerzbank

Precious metal prices are continuing their rollercoaster ride. Following what in effect proved to be a positive start to the week, yesterday saw nothing but falling prices. This morning, however, precious metals are recovering somewhat. Gold is trading at around $1,390 per troy ounce and silver at a good $22.7 per troy ounce. At the beginning of the week the white precious metal dipped briefly to $20.7, its lowest level since September 2010.

While gold ETFs have recorded almost continuous outflows since early April, silver has also seen increased outflows from ETFs since mid-May. In the past five days of trading, these have amounted to nearly 290 tons. In addition, the Chinese customs authorities reported yesterday that China had imported a mere 172 tons of silver in April. This is the lowest monthly silver import figure since the data series began at the start of 2009. Since the beginning of the year, imports meanwhile find themselves 8.9% down on last year.

This may serve as a partial explanation for the absolute weakness of the silver price and silver’s underperformance of gold. Market players are likely to be particularly focusing on Fed Chairman Bernanke’s speech to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress today, though the publication of the Fed’s most recent meeting minutes will also attract attention. Market participants hope that both will give them some indication of what will happen in future with “QE3”.