CHART: Silver price busts out of 3-year downtrend

With all the focus on the surprise move in gold on Thursday after months of subdued trade, it was easy to miss the action in silver.

As is the norm, trade in silver was more volatile than gold, with the precious metal gaining 4.4% to trade above $20 an ounce for the first time in almost three months.

The metal added another 1% on Friday, hitting $20.91 and bringing gains for the week to more than 6%.

While gold broke through its 200-day moving average – a very bullish sign – on a long term horizon silver's breakout could turn out to be more significant.

A number of fundamental factors are playing a part in the surge in precious metals, among them safe haven buying on the back of the Iraqi and Ukraine troubles and financial repression by global central banks.

Ole Hansen, chief of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank says an equally important factor is the speculative positioning held in the market by tactical traders such as hedge funds and money managers.

The change in sentiment among speculators towards silver has been astonishing.

On May 27 for the first time in more than three years so-called managed-money entered a net short position – bets that the price will go down.

Two weeks later short positions hit nearly 40,000 contracts or 200 million ounces.

Hansen points to this chart that shows silver in the process of breaking a trend line which has been providing resistance ever since the metal reached $50 an ounce back in April 2011:

CHART: Silver price snaps out of 3-year downtrend

Source: Saxo Bank