Dwindling stockpiles, robust demand sending silver higher  The run-up in silver prices over the past year was caused by declining stockpiles, robust industrial demand and other factors. According to an executive at the biggest U.S. producer of the metal, silver futures could continue to climb throughout 2011.

Bloomberg reports that Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp chief executive Dennis Wheeler is bullish on the white metal's growth prospects for this year. At the Bloomberg Link Precious Metals Conference in New York this week, Wheeler affirmed that burgeoning demand for silver, coupled with rapidly diminishing stockpiles, would send silver prices higher.

"We're in a legitimate market driven by financial interest in silver and strong industrial demand," Wheeler said. "Supplies are relatively inelastic," he noted.

In the past 12 months, silver futures have surged over 150 percent, boosted by a 40 percent advance in investment demand for silver, according to GFMS Ltd. Industrial use similarly climbed in 2010, rising 21 percent; it could increase even further this year, GFMS said.

Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services, said that simple supply and demand fundamentals are driving silver's current bull run. "There is no manipulation going on in this market," McGhee told the news service. "It does not take a lot to stop the market until this market decides to go. I'd like to categorize silver as a freight train." 
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