Worldwide Total Silver Demand Hits Record High in 2022

All major silver groups recorded high demand in 2022, contributing to a new total global record of 1.242 billion ounces. In particular, industrial demand – which makes up nearly half of all silver demand – rose by 5 percent, physical silver investment rose by 22 percent, jewelry increased 29 percent, and silverware jumped 80 percent. This upward demand has risen 38 percent since 2020 as countries continue their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of record high demand and lower mine production, the silver market had a 237.7 million-ounce deficit, the second such deficit in as many years. “Importantly, the combined 2021 and 2022 deficits more than offset the cumulative surpluses of the previous 11 years,” noted the World Silver Survey 2023, released by the Silver Institute and produced by Metals Focus, a London-based independent precious metals consultancy. The Survey predicts another ‘hefty’ deficit in 2023. “In 2023, we expect industrial fabrication will reach another all-time high, boosted by continued gains in photovoltaic (PV) applications as well as healthy offtake from other industrial segments,” the Survey stated. “Led by end-uses in the green economy, industrial demand is forecast to rise yet again, by 4% to a new record high this year.” On the demand side, all fabrication categories hit record highs except for photographic and brazing and soldering, the latter category due to a manufacturing slowdown in China as a result of pandemic restrictions. Overall industrial demand reached a record 556.5 million ounces, which was attributed mostly to photovoltaic offtake – 140.3 million ounces – automobiles, the buildout of 5G networks, and increased demand for silver catalysts in the manufacture of ethylene oxide, an industrial compound mainly used to produce consumer and commercial chemicals.

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