The difference in the changes between gold and silver inventories is interesting.
I suspect that a great deal of the gold that has been lost this year has been repurposed to private ownership in China, the Mideast, and India among other places.
Although I do not show them here, Palladium and Platinum look much more like silver than gold.
Most of the conventional, off the cuff explanations do not seem to hold together under serious scrutiny. Yes, silver is 'poor man's gold,' but Platinum certainly isn't. And an aversion to paper gold, but not to paper silver?
Gold seems to be somewhat different, even unique, with a large amount of physical inventory leaving the West.
Overall about 811 tonnes of gold have been withdrawn from inventory, while 1,434 tonnes of silver, 21 tonnes of platinum and 1.5 tonnes of palladium were added to these same types of ETFs and funds during 2013.
A remarkable short squeeze on gold bullion supply might occur if the price of gold breaks out, stimulating more investment in these 'paper gold' instruments.
The data for these charts came from Nick Laird at ShareLynx.com.