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.

Application

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.

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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.
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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.
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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 (Moz) 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Mine Production 823.3 867.8 895.1 888.6 852.1
Net Government Sales 7.9 - - - -
Scrap 191 165.4 141.1 139.7 138.1
Net Hedging Supply -34.8 16.8 7.8 -18.9 1.4
Total Supply 987.8 1,050.00 1,044.00 1,009.40 991.6
Demand (Moz)          
Jewelry 220.6 226.4 226.7 205 209.1
Coins & Bars 241.1 234.1 292.1 207.8 151.1
Silverware 59.3 61.2 63.2 52.4 58.4
(+) Industrial Fabrication 604.6 596.3 583.2 576.8 599
Of which Electrical & Electronics 266 263.9 246 233.9 242.9
Of which Brazing Alloys & Solders 63.7 66.7 61.5 55.3 57.5
Of which Photography 50.5 48.5 46.6 45.2 44
Of which Photovoltaic 55.9 51.8 59.2 79.3 94.1
Of which Ethylene Oxide 7.7 5 10.2 10.2 6.9
Of which Other Industrial 160.8 160.6 159.8 152.9 153.7
Physical Demand 1,125.80 1,118.30 1,156.30 1,041.90 1017.6
Physical Surplus/Deficit -138.2 -68 -121.3 -32.5 -26
ETF Inventory Build 2.5 1.4 -17.8 49.8 2.4
Exchange Inventory Build 8.8 -5.3 12.6 79.8 6.8
Net balance -149.5 -64 -116.1 -162.1 -35.2

 

Silver Demand (Moz)

 

Physical silver demand declined 2% to 1,017.6 Moz, impacted mainly by a drop in coin and bar demand.


Jewelry fabrication returned to growth in 2017, rising 2% to 209.1 Moz.


Coins & medals fabrication declined 35% in 2017 to 79.4 Moz, the lowest since 2008.


Global silverware increased 12% in 2017 to 58.4 Moz due to a strong recovery in Indian demand.

2017 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".

 

1.0 Billion
Ounces Total Demand
Largely
Supported by
852 Moz
Total Mine Production

Silver Supply (Moz)

 

Mine Supply by Region (Moz)

 
A large portion of the total silver supply is a result of mine production. Mine supply totaled 852 Moz in 2017, largely in line with the prior year.

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 and medals - total coin and medals fabrication totaled 79.4 Moz in 2017, the lowest level since 2008.

Physical bar investment by 16% in 2017, mainly due to a fall in investment demand in North America.

Silver exchange traded products (ETPs) – increased 2.4 Moz, bringing total holdings of ETPs to 670 Moz. ETPs peaked in late July 2017 at 696 Moz, 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 2018