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Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Signs that the silver market was about to get hit by a GameStop-style short squeeze emerged Wednesday.That’s when comments began appearing on the Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets -- the investor board now famous for tripling the video game company’s shares this week. People started egging each other on to pile into silver’s largest exchange-traded product. Banks have been keeping silver prices artificially low, they said, masking an actual shortfall of supplies. Help put an end to “THE BIGGEST SHORT SQUEEZE IN THE WORLD,” one poster said.To say there was a strategy would be overstating things. At about 8:30 a.m. New York time on Thursday, day traders bent on teaching some banks a lesson began flooding iShares Silver Trust. Their buying drove up prices of the underlying metal by as much as 6.8%, the most since August. And just like that, an ETF became the Trojan horse that helped the Reddit hoards break through the gates of the commodities world for the first time since they began upending equities.It rippled across the entire silver complex. Miners of the metal rallied. Futures gained. A record 3.1 million iShares Silver Trust options contracts traded. The volatility was unlike anything James Gavilan, a commodities market consultant with over two decades of experience in precious metals, had ever seen.It was “mind-boggling, breath-taking, it’s shocking really,” he said as prices continued to rise further.At least one person on the r/wallstreetbets board made note of the mob’s move beyond stocks for the first time. Just hours ahead of the run-up, someone posted, “The market would go catatonic if WSB sparked a short squeeze on a commodity. Go for it.”Market manipulation has been the rallying cry of conspiracy theorists in precious metals circles for decades, if not centuries. With their constant railing against banks and big government colluding to mask inflation, it was only a matter of time before they and retail investors raging aga...

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