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Entire silver industry is wiped out: Online precious metals dealer

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CNBC’s Brian Sullivan discusses how silver inventories are selling out, in part because retail investors are buying up silver coins and bars, with Michael Wittmeyer, CEO of JM Bullion, an online precious metals dealer. Subscribe to CNBC Pro to access our live Pro Talk “How to Navigate the Reddit Market Mania” with Fundstrat’s Tom Lee and CNBC’s Mike Santoli: https://cnb.cx/3r7vPrJ

The price of silver surged higher on Monday as the Reddit-fueled boom in highly shorted stocks appears to be spilling over into the metals market.

Silver futures rose 8% to at $29.06 an ounce, marking the largest one-day pop in silver on NYMEX since at least 2013. The contracts traded 11% higher at $30.35 an ounce earlier in the day, the highest level since Feb. 15, 2013.

The move higher extended gains for silver and silver-related equities late last week. The iShares Silver Trust, an ETF that retail investors can easily buy that seeks to track the price of silver, rose 8.1% on Monday after popping 6% last week.

Silver mining stocks Coeur Mining and Pan American Silver surged 23.1% and 12.1% respectively on Monday. The two rose 16.9% and 14.7%, respectively, on Thursday and Friday.

The spike in demand for silver appears to be related to retail traders in the Reddit forum WallStreetBets, which has helped drive trading activity in heavily shorted stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment in recent weeks.

The forum had multiple active threads dedicated to silver on Sunday night, and the phrase ”#silversqueeze” was also trending on Twitter.

“It’s a very different target, but the fact that you can move silver, such a large market, is an indication to everybody that they have to take these new technicals seriously,” said Allianz chief economic advisor Mohamed El-Erian on “Squawk Box.”

The silver discussion on Reddit was not all in favor of buying the metal and related equities, with some users arguing that the “silver squeeze” was an attempt to distract from the trading in GameStop and others. Other posts were in favor of bidding up silver, and one user on Friday night referenced the Hunt brothers’ attempt to corner the silver market in 1980.

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