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The precious metal suffered a near 14 per cent drop on April 20, before recovering slightly on April 21.

Scrap prices fell by more than £1 an ounce at Michael Bloomstein of Brighton, who supplies ATG weekly price listings on page 3. Starting at £6.50, they dropped to £5.45.

Mr Bloomstein blamed the fall on a high degree of speculative buying that has made the silver markets more volatile recently. The price had doubled in the three months before the drop, taking it to a 23-year high.

In part, the fall was caused by the general feeling that the market was in need of correction, said Mr Bloomstein, but he was more upbeat than market analysts, who were predicting freefall. “The price of silver appears to now be stabilising, even making a slight recovery after these dramatic events,” he told ATG.

By Alex Capon