The silver price was under pressure in the first quarter of the year. While it managed to hit a high of US$17.54 per ounce on January 24, it declined 3.76 percent in Q1 to end at US$16.20.

As investors watch interest rate hikes, political uncertainty and a depressed dollar, they are slowly turning their direction towards the gray metal as a safe-haven asset.

Despite silver’s slow start to the year, analysts and industry experts believe that the silver price could increase later this year. With that in mind, it’s interesting to look at which silver stocks performed the best in the first quarter of 2018. 

The list below was generated on March 28, 2018 using the Globe and Mail’s market data filter, and it shows the TSX-listed silver companies that have seen the biggest share price gains year-to-date. Only companies with market caps above $50 million as of that date are included.

1. Sierra Metals (TSX:SMT)

Current price: C$3.27; year-to-date gain: 10.1 percent

Sierra Metals is a Latin American precious and base metals producer. The company owns and operates three producing mines: the Yauricocha mine in Peru and the Bolivar and Cusi mines in Mexico.

In January, the company said it expects its 2018 silver production to range between 13.9 and 16.2 million ounces. The forecast range is the result of “increased throughput, production, and higher recoveries” at its Bolivar and Cusi mines. At the beginning of February, the company reported drill results from the Cuye zone, located at the Cuye zone extension within the Central Mine at Yauricocha.

2. SSR Mining (TSX:SSRM)

Current price: C$12.23; year-to-date gain: 9.29 percent

SSR Mining is an intermediate precious metals producer with three mines in the Americas. As of December 31, 2017, the company boasted a balance sheet of US$460 million in cash and cash equivalents and US$114 million in marketable securities.

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In the middle of January, SSR Mining announced that it had exceeded 2017 production guidance at its Puna Operations to put out a total of 6.2 million ounces of silver. Puna is expected to produce between 3 and 4.4 million ounces of silver in 2018, with approximately 1.6 million ounces of production anticipated in the first half of the year. SSR Mining also produces gold

3. Pan American Silver (TSX:PAAS, NASDAQ:PAAS)

Current price: C$20.42; year-to-date gain: 3.29 percent

Pan American Silver is the second-largest primary silver producer in the world. The company is involved in the discovery, engineering, innovation and sustainable development of the gray metal.

In January, the company announced that it expects to produce between 25 and 26.5 million ounces of silver in 2018 at a forecast price of US$16.50 per ounce. Additionally, Pan American anticipates spending approximately US$21 million on near-mine and regional exploration in 2018, drilling a total of approximately 115,000 meters.

Michael Steinmann, president and CEO, said in February that the company, “[g]enerated US$224.6 million in cash flow from operations in 2017. La Colorada, Morococha, Huaron and Dolores [mines] had record annual operating free cash flow … resulting in a balance of $227.5 million at year-end.”

What do you think were the best silver stocks of Q1 2018? Let us know in the comments below.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Nicole Rashotte, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.