What Is Gold-Silver Ratio?
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What Is Gold-Silver Ratio?

3 Min.

Investors use the gold-silver ratio to determine the relative valuation of these two precious metals. This ratio measures the price of gold in relation to silver and can help inform decisions to buy or sell these metals. 

Basics

The gold-to-silver ratio is a vital metric that gauges the quantity of silver ounces needed to secure a single ounce of gold. By tracking the dynamic shifts in this ratio over time, investors strive to assess the comparative worth of these two precious metals. This analysis aids in making informed decisions regarding the opportune moments to engage in the buying or selling of these metals.

Understanding the Historical Evolution of the Gold-to-Silver Ratio

The fluctuations in the gold-to-silver ratio over time are a result of the interplay between their prices, which is dictated by the law of supply and demand. In eras preceding the fiat currency system, these precious metals often provided backing for national currencies. This historical context lent greater stability to the gold-to-silver ratio compared to the present day. Back then, it would commonly be fixed at predetermined exchange rates relative to the nation's currency units, subject to shifts based on its perceived economic strength.

In 1913, the Federal Reserve was mandated to hold gold equivalent to 40 percent of its issued currency's value. A pivotal shift transpired in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt suspended the gold standard to halt the metal redemptions from the Federal Reserve. This move and other measures diminished the connection between the dollar's value and this precious metal. Many observers identify this moment as the turning point when the U.S. dollar effectively transitioned into a fiat currency, gradually reducing governmental influence on gold and silver pricing.

Gold-Silver Ratio in Practice

Let's delve into a tangible illustration of the gold-silver ratio. Imagine a scenario where gold commands a price of $1,500 per ounce while silver trades at $15 per ounce. In this case, the gold-silver ratio stands at 100, signifying that 100 ounces of silver are needed to procure 1 ounce of gold.

As of December 2020, the gold-silver ratio had settled around 75, a noticeable decline from its April 2020 peak at 114. This ratio has displayed a consistent upward trajectory since touching its lowest point at 31 back in April 2011.  Since its 5-year low in February 2021, the ratio has been gradually rising to 86 in October 2023.

It's worth noting that historical calculations reveal fascinating insights due to the enduring value of precious metals over millennia. For instance, during the Roman Empire, the gold-silver ratio was typically fixed at a steady 12:1.

Conclusion

The gold-silver ratio is valuable for investors, helping them assess precious metal values. This tool has evolved historically, particularly after suspending the gold standard in 1933, marking the U.S. dollar's shift to fiat currency. In practice, the ratio represents the relative worth of gold and silver, fluctuating over time. 

Gold-Silver Ratio
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