Silver prices leapt to a five-month high on Monday on social media calls to buy the metal and emulate the frenzy that drove up GameStop shares.
Shares in a handful of smaller Australian mining firms surged as small-time traders bought en masse.
Argent Minerals, Boab Metals and Investigator Resources leapt more than 15%.
Coin-selling websites also reported unprecedented demand and flagged delays in delivering silver.
Silver rose as much as 7% to $28.99 an ounce, its highest value since mid-August.
The moves are the latest example of small-time traders buying stocks and other assets that large Wall Street funds bet against, resulting in large losses for major investors.
Some users in the Reddit forum Wallstreetbets argued that silver is a heavily manipulated market, and a surge in the silver price could hurt large Wall Street players.
“Think about the Gainz. If you don’t care about the gains, think about the banks like JP MORGAN you’d be destroying along the way,” said Reddit user RocketBoomGo, in a widely circulated post.
Some members of the forum have argued against the move, suggesting it would benefit the same funds that stood to benefit from betting against GameStop.
The recent GameStop surge, which was also fuelled by retail investors, was also seen as a revolt against large institutional investors.
Unlike GameStop, which was a loss-making gaming retailer that many investment funds had bet against, Silver has seen strong growth over the past year.
“There is this curious situation now where the Reddit crowd has turned its sights on a bigger whale in terms of trying to catalyse something of a short squeeze in the silver market,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at brokerage IG Markets in Melbourne.
“There’s a lot of commentary on these platforms to pile in to the miners.”
Silver prices are up 15% since Wednesday’s close, around the time when messages began circulating on forums such as Reddit encouraging users to buy the metal and drive up prices.
Massive losses for Melvin
The latest surge comes as the damage to one Wall Street firm becomes clearer.
Hedge fund Melvin Capital lost 53% in January, according to media reports.
However, the firm received commitments for fresh cash from investors in the last days of January, and ended the month with $8bn (£5.8bn) in assets after having started the year with roughly $12.5bn, according to Reuters.
The firm had bet that ailing video game retailer GameStop’s stock, which traded at less than $5 five months ago, would fall further.
But retail investors, comparing notes on social media platform Reddit, bought the stock and sent it higher to close at $325 on Friday.
- We tried to have children for about 10 years – Ebo Whyte’s wife recounts
- #FixTheCountry: How an IGP meet-up turned into a ‘Cabinet Meeting’, without the IGP – Convenor reveals
- Blunt and Blay: Real reason why the Church won’t allow a Muslim student to fast in a ‘Mission School’
- #FixTheCountry organisers exhibited ‘bad faith’ during National Security meeting – Godfred Dame
- I have no regrets participating in ‘OccupyFlagstaffHouse’ protest – Kofi Bentil
- Angry Ghanaian youth take #FixTheCountry protests to social media after court injunction
- #FixTheCountry: Bang your utensils, toot your horns on Sunday – Conveners announce format for virtual protest
- It’ll take time for government to get economy back on track – Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
- Benjamin Azamati qualifies for Tokyo Olympics 200m event
- Vehicle towing cost to be borne by insurance industry – NIC Commissioner
Livestream: Finance Minister addresses nation amidst #FixTheCountry protest
South Sudan’s president dissolves Parliament
Akufo-Addo is fixing the country’s challenges better – Kojo Opoku
Let’s jealously defend the Constitution – NCCE
Prof Sitsofe Enyonam Anku
Angry Ghanaian youth take #FixTheCountry protests to social media after court injunction
Mothers’ Day message from First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo
GAF appeals for support for 37 Military Hospital
#FixTheCountry convener’s claim of phone cloning false and baseless – Oppong Nkrumah
#FixTheCountry: Bang your utensils, toot your horns on Sunday – Conveners announce format for virtual protest
Collapsed gold mine kills at least 15 in Guinea
Mother’s Day: Your hard work will never go unrewarded – Lordina Mahama
AU Heads of States direct AfCFTA negotiations to be concluded by June
Electoral Commission has no beef with NDC – Bossman Asare
Joe Ligon: America’s ‘longest juvenile lifer’ on 68 years in prison