Silver is a metal with unique properties including its strength, malleability and ductility. It is also characterized with electrical and thermal conductivity, sensitivity to and high reflectance of light and the ability to endure extreme temperature ranges.

Applications

The versatility of silver leads to few substitute metals in most of its applications, particularly in high-technology uses in which reliability, precision and safety are critical.

Technology

Silver is used in all our lives daily, from our cell phones to our personal computers.

You can find Silver in automotive batteries, satellites, high tech weaponry and digital technology, among others.

Photovoltaics

Demand for silver consumed by the photovoltaic industry has been driven by a tremendous increase in the uptake of renewable energy. Silver is used in the solar panels employed for photovoltaic power generation.

Biocidal

Silver is used in Biocidal applications; these are already in use across a diverse array of products from medical instruments to glass and playground equipment. Antimicrobials containing silver are used in textiles for odor, discoloration prevention, hygienic plastic, and other applications.

You can find silver in

Automotive industry
Chemical catalyst
Clothing
Coinage
Digital technology
Ink
Insulation & energy reduction
Jewelry & silverware
Pharmaceuticals
Photography
Reflective glass
Silver oxide batteries
Solar energy
Water treatment
X-rays
 

Supply & Demand

Supply 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Mine Production 713.8 750.6 754.6 792.3 819.6
Net Government Sales 15.6 44.2 12.0 7.4 7.9
Scrap 199.7 225.5 258.7 252.6 191.8
Net Hedging Supply -17.4 50.4 12.2 -47.0 -41.3
Total Supply 911.7 1,070.7 1,037.6 1,005.3 987.1
Demand          
Jewelry 177.3 190.6 183.4 181.4 198.8
Coins & Bars 87.9 146.1 212.6 139.3 245.6
Silverware 54.2 52.6 48.1 44.6 50.0
(+) Industrial Fabrication 540.2 643.2 624.8 589.1 586.6
Of which Electrical & Electronics 203.1 272.6 260.6 237.0 233.9
Of which Brazing Alloys & Solders 53.3 60.6 62.4 60.3 62.4
Of which Photography 78.4 68.8 61.7 54.4 50.4
Of which Other Industrial 205.4 241.2 240.0 237.4 240.0
Physical Demand 859.5 1,032.6 1,068.9 954.4 1,081.1
Physical Surplus/Deficit 52.2 38.1 -31.3 51.0 -103.0
ETF Inventory Build 153.8 132.6 -24.0 55.1 1.6
Exchange Inventory Build -15.3 -7.4 12.2 62.2 8.8
Net balance -86.3 -87.1 -19.4 -66.3 -113.3

 

Silver Demand (Moz)


Physical silver demand touched record levels in 2013 as investors took advantage of lower prices to increase coin and bar holdings in particular.


Jewelry demand remained remarkably robust, growing at 7% year-on-year. It reached a record high in 2013.


Coins & medals fabrication surged by 38% to a new high of 119 Moz (3,684 t).


Global silverware fabrication rose by 12% to a three year high of 50 Moz (1,556 t) in 2013.

 

2013 Silver Demand (Moz)

 

Industrial Fabrication Applications (587 Moz)
Silver is the pre-eminent electrical and thermal conductor of all metals, which makes it essential in many electrical applications.

 

Jewelry (199 Moz)
Pure silver does not tarnish easily but to make it durable for jewelry it is often alloyed with small amounts of copper. It is also widely used with base metals in gold alloys.

 

Coins and Bars (246 Moz)
Historically, silver was more widely used in coinage than gold, being in greater supply and of less value, thus being practical for everyday payments.

 

Silverware (50 Moz)
Sterling silver has been the standard of silverware since the 14th century, particularly in the manufacture of "hollow-ware" and "flatware".

 

1.1 Billion
Ounces Total Demand
Largely
Supported by
820 Moz
Total Mine Production

Silver Supply (Moz)

 

Mine Supply by Region (tons)

 
A large portion of the supply growth is attributable to the primary silver mining sector, which experienced strong growth from the start, or ramp up, of operations which entered production in recent years.

Investment

As a precious metal, silver has become an investment of choice for those who recognize its traditional role as a safe haven asset.


Coins & medals – 75% increase in purchase of bars and coins

Physical bar investment – Demand for physical bullion bars surged by 138%, led by gains in India


ETF inventory – Growth in silver ETF inventory slowed

Total Identifiable Inventory rose by 27% to a three-year high of 247.2 Moz (7,688 t) in 2013, chiefly as a result of the 75% rise in purchases of bars and coins.

Source: The Silver Institute World Silver Survey 2014