Silver demand to rise 5% this year – industry report

Global silver demand is forecast to rise by 5% this year on the back of structural advancements in industrial fabrication, which is expected to achieve another record in 2022.

The 2022 demand growth forecast comes on top of an impressive 19% gain in 2021, when total demand reached 1.05-billion ounces, the Silver Institute’s ‘World Silver Survey 2022’ states.

Produced by London-based independent precious metals consultancy Metals Focus, the report notes that the 2021 increase reflected the effects of a resumption of industrial operations and the re-opening of businesses as economies began to recover from Covid.

Silver’s use in photovoltaics increased by 13% to 113.7-million ounces as global solar installations grew, while electronic and electrical demand overall rose by 9% to 330-million ounces. Last year silver also saw rising end-use in the defence and aerospace sectors. Brazing and alloys accounted for 47.7-million ounces, representing a 6% gain over 2020.

Silver jewellery fabrication jumped by 21% to 181.4-million ounces. For 2022, Metals Focus is forecasting a continued post-pandemic recovery for jewellery and silverware demand.

On the supply side, higher mine production is also expected owing to project ramp-ups and some gains in established mines’ output, coupled with a rise in industrial recycling, to drive a 3% increase in global supply in 2022.

In 2021, total supply was 997.2-million ounces, of which mined supply was 822.6-million ounces, a 5.3% increase on 2020. The increase in mined supply was the most significant yearly growth since 2013 and was driven by the recovery in output following Covid-19-related disruptions in 2020.

In 2021, the average price of silver was $25.14/oz – a 22% gain over 2021. Since 2017, the average yearly silver price has increased by 47%. Metals Focus is forecasting an average silver price of $23.90/oz for 2022, which if realised, would be the second-highest yearly average since 2011.

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