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

As interest grows, analysts and industry experts believe that prices 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.

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: 10.10 percent

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

In January, the company announced that they expect for 2018 silver production to range between 13.9 and 16.2 million ounces. The forecast range is a result of “increased throughput, production, and higher recoveries” at their Bolivar and Cusi mines.

At the beginning of February, the company released drill results of 1.58 percent copper, 99 meters with 1.48 percent copper and 44 meters with 1.04 percent copper at their Cuye zone, boosting “intercepted polymetallic sulphide mineralization containing high-grade silver, zinc, copper and lead zones over significant widths.”

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 boosted a balance sheet with US$460 million in cash and cash equivalents and US$114 million in marketable securities.

In the middle of January, the company announced that they had exceeded their 2017 production guidance and revised it to a total of 6.2 million ounces of silver. With this announcement, SSR reported that their Puna operations would complete development of this deposit in 2018, in order to extend its operating life. The Puna operations will produce lead-silver and zinc concentrates and the company also expects it to produce between 3.0 million and 4.4 million ounces of silver in 2018.,

Approximately 1.6 million ounces of silver production is anticipated in the first half of the year based on “processing of stockpiles and Chinchillas production.”

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

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

Pan America 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 they expect 2018 to produce between 25.0 to 26.50 million ounces of silver at a forecast price of US$16.50 per ounce.

Additionally, Pan American anticipates to spend approximately US$21 million on near-mine and regional exploration in 2018, drilling a total of approximately 115,000 metres.

In February, the company reported that their mineral reserves are estimated to contain approximately 288 million ounces of silver and 1.9 million ounces of gold.

Michael Steinmann, president and