Last year silver investment rose 21% but pretty much slipped across all other demand categories, reported the Silver Institute.
The implied net silver investment, which includes physical bar investment, exchange traded funds and fund activity on Comex, rose form 132 million ounces to 160 million ounces.
Silver demand fell for fabrication, industrial applications, photography, jewelry and coins and medals.
“Total silver fabrication demand in 2012 dipped to 846.8 Moz, reflecting losses in key areas,” writes the Silver Institute.
“Industrial silver fabrication slipped by 4 percent to 465.9 Moz, the result of the challenging economic environment seen in many industrialized countries.”
On the supply side, demand crept up from 1.039 billion ounces to 1.048 billion ounces mostly due to rising mine production.
Global silver mine production grew last year to 787.0 Moz, primarily due to by-product output from the lead/zinc sector. Primary silver mine supply grew by 1 percent to account for 28 percent of global silver mine output. Mexico was the world’s largest silver producing country in 2012, followed by China, Peru, Australia and Russia. Primary silver mine cash costs rose to $8.88 an ounce, reflecting higher prices for labor, electricity, and maintenance charges.