Silver demand reached record high in 2013, prices jump
Silver prices climbed more than 1% on Wednesday on the heels of a report unveiling a record-high in demand for the metal last year, at the same time the London Silver Market Fixing announced it is ending price fixing for the metal on Aug. 14.
July silver rose 25 cents, or 1.3%, to $19.80 an ounce as traders assessed the Silver Institute’s World Silver Survey. According to the report, total physical silver demand rose by 13% in 2013 to an all-time high of 1,081.1 million ounces, fuelled by unparalleled 76% increase in retail investment in silver bars, coins and jewellery.
The precious metal price averaged $23.79 per ounce last year, the third-highest nominal average price on record, but still down 24% year-over-year in a particularly volatile environment for all precious metals, the report said.
The biggest increase in silver demand came from Asia, particularly from India, where jewellery sales jumped by nearly a third to the highest level since 2001. Besides the lower price, government restrictions on gold imports helped make silver more attractive to Indian consumers.
Thomson Reuters GFMS’ precious metals analyst Andrew Leyland said he expects the average silver price to dip to $19 per ounce this year and $18.50 per ounce in 2015. A backcloth of rising investor appetite for riskier assets such as stocks, and a potential decline in exchange-traded fund (ETF) holdings, are all likely to weigh on the metal price, Leyland said.
While gold has enjoyed a solid 7% price appreciation so far in 2014, the silver market has failed to experience such a bounce, mainly due to fears over Chinese economic cooling has dampened enthusiasm for the industrial and investment metal.