The first silver ETF in the U.S. has given institutional investors an easy lane into owning silver bullion and, as industrial users feared, helped drive up the precious metal's price. The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) launched two years ago. It has attracted institutions such as mutual funds that are barred by their charters from holding physical commodities. SLV also aids speculators because they do not have to hold and sell the bullion themselves.

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