A 1 kilogram gold bar sits on top of silver bars at the London bullion dealer Gold Investments in this arranged photo in London, Great Britain, on April 4, 2013.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Silver futures contracts rose early Monday morning as the Reddit-fueled boom in high-short stocks appeared to spill over into the metal market.
Silver futures rose 8% shortly after the futures market opened, marking the largest move in futures since at least 2013. The contract has since reduced some of its gains, most recently by more than 6.7%.
The sharp rise adds earnings to silver and silver-related stocks late last week. Coeur Mining and Pan American Silver silver mining stocks rose 16.9% and 14.7%, respectively, on Thursday and Friday. The iShares Silver Trust rose 6.7% in those two sessions.
The surge in demand for silver appears to be related to retailers on the Reddit forum WallStreetBets, which has helped fuel trading activity in the past few weeks with sharply shortened stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.
The forum had several active topics devoted to silver on Sunday evening. The phrase “#silversqueeze” was also trending on Twitter.
The move towards silver has been touted by investors who are optimistic about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and who see the new digital assets in some cases as replacements for traditional metals.
Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder of cryptocurrency company Gemini, said on Twitter: “The impact of a #silversqueeze is not to be underestimated. If it turns out that there are more paper claims on silver than on actual silver, it would not only pay off enormously, but gold too would be next. #Bitcoin fixes that. “
The dramatic spikes in GameStop and other sharply downturned stocks were partly due to brief pressures. This is a phenomenon in which investors who have bet against a stock are forced to buy stocks to cover their positions when the name goes up.
Melvin Capital, one of the hedge funds that were originally short in GameStop, lost 53% in January.