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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Insulation & energy reduction
Jewelry & silverware
Silver oxide batteries
Supply & Demand
|Net Government Sales||7.4||7.9||-||-||-|
|Net Hedging Supply||-47.1||-34.8||16.8||7.8||-18.4|
|Coins & Bars||159.2||240.6||234.0||290.7||206.8|
|(+) Industrial Fabrication||600.0||604.5||595.7||569.6||561.9|
|Of which Electrical & Electronics||266.7||266.0||263.4||245.9||233.6|
|Of which Brazing Alloys & Solders||61.1||63.7||66.7||61.5||55.4|
|Of which Photography||54.2||50.5||48.5||46.6||45.2|
|Of which Photovoltaic||58.2||55.9||51.8||57.2||76.6|
|Of which Ethylene Oxide||4.7||7.7||5.0||10.2||10.2|
|Of which Other Industrial||155.0||160.8||160.5||148.4||141.0|
|ETF Inventory Build||55.3||2.5||1.5||-17.7||47.0|
|Exchange Inventory Build||62.2||8.8||-5.3||12.6||79.8|
Silver Demand (Moz)
Physical silver demand declined 11% to 1,027.8 Moz, impacted mainly by weaker jewelry, silverware, and retail investment.
Jewelry demand came under pressure from rising prices, but despite this it remained above 200 Moz for the fourth successive year.
Coins & medals fabrication declined 9% in 2016 following the all-time high achieved in 2015, to bring total coins and medals fabrication to 123.2 Moz.
Global silverware retreated for the first time in four years, declining 17% to 52.1 Moz, largely due to higher silver prices and weaker domestic currencies in price-sensitive markets.
2016 Silver Demand (Moz)
Industrial Fabrication Applications (562 Moz)
Silver is the pre-eminent electrical and thermal conductor of all metals, which makes it essential in many electrical applications.
Jewelry (207 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 (207 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 (52 Moz)
Sterling silver has been the standard of silverware since the 14th century, particularly in the manufacture of "hollow-ware" and "flatware".
Ounces Total Demand
Total Mine Production
Silver Supply (Moz)
Mine Supply by Region (Moz)
As a precious metal, silver has become an investment of choice for those who recognize its traditional role as a safe haven asset.
Coins and medals – Total coin and medals fabrication amounted 123.2 Moz in 2016, the second highest level this century, with demand up year-on-year in the first half of 2016.
Physical bar investment – After reaching a record 155.2 Moz in 2015, global physical bar investment fell 46% in 2016, mainly due to lower demand from India and retail investors taking profits at higher silver prices.
Silver exchange traded products (ETPs) – ETPs increased 8%, or 47.0 Moz, bringing total holdings of ETPs to 664.8 Moz. ETPs peaked in late October 2016 at 688.6, reaching an all-time high.
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 2017