Silver demand as guide for silver’s next price move

Yesterday, the US Mint confirmed a record year for sales of silver coins– and we still have six weeks in the year to go. Yes, the roughly 40 million ounces of silver only accounts for maybe 5% of overall demand, but it also represents a huge increase from a decade ago when it comes to investor interest in physical metal. In fact, globally, silver investment demand is up essentially from ZERO just 10 short years ago (take some time to allow that to sink in when thinking about the change in investor sentiment toward precious metals in recent years.)

And demand for silver isn’t just an American phenomenon. Last month, somewhat surprising news came out of India of a roughly 130 million ounces of silver imported into that country in just the first six months of the year. This was in response to the shut down of gold imports into that country.

Since over 50% of silver demand comes from industry (with the remaining 20% or so from jewelry and silverware), there are other factors to be considered when thinking about the price of the white metal. One of the larger factors is the state of the global economy in general and in particular of certain industries among them the solar industry. After falling somewhat since 2011, many industry watchers feel that global demand for silver could begin to move higher. Remember that silver is, in many ways, impervious to demand destruction from price, since it is used in such small- and often unrecoverable– amounts. As a point of fact, as silver has risen roughly 5 times since the 2011, silver industrial demand has remained the same and actually increased in some years.

Silver is an in-demand metal that in many ways is more versatile for industrial uses than copper. If in fact the global economy is in some sort of recovery, look for silver to outshine gold in the months and years ahead.

Creative Commons image of silver pendant from Center for Jewish History, NYC