Silver's six-week downward slope

Holdings in New York silver contracts reached the highest in 14 months as investors added to their bets that prices will decline. Futures fell for a third straight session.

Open interest in the Comex market climbed 3.9% to 212,249 futures and options contracts in the week ended Aug. 19, U.S. government data showed Aug. 22. That’s the highest since June 18, 2013. Money managers have boosted their short wagers for four straight weeks, the longest streak since April. Long holdings have declined for six weeks to a two-month low.

Silver has declined for six straight weeks, the longest run of losses since April 2013, when the metal and gold entered bear markets. Gains for the dollar (NYBOT:DXU14) and speculation that the Federal Reserve is getting closer to raising interest rates have damped demand for hedges against inflation.

“The interest in silver is clearly on the short side,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.“People expect silver to trade weak going forward as the fundamentals are very week.”

Silver (COMEX:SIU14) futures for December delivery fell 0.3% to $19.40 an ounce at 11:30 a.m. on the Comex in New York. On Aug. 21, prices dropped to $19.355, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 12.

The silver net-long position tumbled 30% in the week ended Aug. 19 to 16,523 contracts, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission show. Holdings fell for a fifth straight week.

Gold futures for December delivery dropped 0.2% to $1,277.30 an ounce on the Comex.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery added 0.2% to $1,420.70 an ounce.

Palladium futures for September delivery retreated less than 0.1% to $887.50 an ounce on the Nymex.

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