Silver futures dipped sharply on Thursday (1 June) on lacklustre demand from China and technical resistance on the back of profit-taking, after the metal had rallied over the past several weeks.
At 3:23pm BST, the Comex Silver futures contract for July delivery was down 1.49% or 26 cents at $17.15 an ounce, as the 2017 World Silver Survey revealed China's industrial silver consumption fell 15% or 25m ounces (moz) on an annualised basis in 2016, from 169moz in 2015 to 144moz last year.
Away from industrial usage, the precious metal, which has experienced significant volatility over the past 12 months, also ran into technical resistance, as safe-haven punters moved to cash in on recent upticks.
Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com said silver remains the commodity to watch having seen sharp movements in recent weeks. "The metal has bounced from the key $16 an ounce support area several times, whether it will get tested again is a million dollar question.
"But with the Relative Strength Indicator (RSI), a technical momentum pointer, being at severely oversold levels and sentiment bearish – as indicated for example by the recent large amounts of exchange traded fund (ETF) outflows - it may be time investors started looking at precious metals again, and in particular silver."
Elsewhere, Comex gold for August delivery was down 0.70% or $8.90 to $1,266.50 an ounce, while spot platinum was down 1.39% or $13.56 to $935.90 an ounce.
Away from precious metals, crude oil benchmarks stemmed larger overnight declines but barely budged from the lower levels seen in the previous session.
At 3:23pm BST, the Brent futures contract was down 0.24% or 12 cents at $50.64 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $48.35 per barrel, up 0.06% or 3 cents, as Opec and non-Opec output cuts announced in Vienna, Austria last week continue to underwhelm the market.
Furthermore, monthly US government data published on Wednesday indicated that crude supply rose to 9.1m barrels per day (bpd) in March, up 60,000 bpd, month-over-month.
FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga said: "Although Opec and non-Opec members remain committed to bringing global oil inventories down to a five-year average, it remains a question of how US shale reacts and benefits from Opec's actions. I remain bearish on WTI crude moving forward and a breakdown below $48 should open a path towards $46."