Global industrial demand for silver reached the highest level ever recorded in 2021 and is likely to reach another record high this year, according to a report by The Silver Institute published Wednesday.
In particular, the use of silver in industry increased by 9% to the historical record of 508.2 million ounces in 2021, receiving a boost from the recovery of economic activity from the pandemic, according to the World Silver Survey of the Institute, compiled by Metals researchers Focus.
The market had already seen the demand for silver in the industry recover in the second half of 2020 and “last year saw a continuation of much of this trend,” Philip Newman, CEO of Metals Focus, told MarketWatch.
He noted that demand has reached a new high despite the continuing shortage of microchips and other supply-side disruptions.
The use of silver in photovoltaics increased as new facilities reached new highs last year, Newman said, adding that demand for consumer electronics in the teleworking environment also continued to grow.
According to the report, investments in silver (sales in currencies and bars) also increased by 36% to 278.7 million ounces, recording their highest level since 2015.
All categories of global silver demand, including industry, investment and jewelery, boosted last year to a total demand of 1.05 billion ounces, up 19% from 2020, the report said.
Looking ahead, Metals Focus forecasts a further 5% increase in total global demand for 2022 to about 1.10 billion ounces, including a 6% increase in industrial silver demand to 539.6 million ounces.
At the same time, it expects higher mining activity, as well as an increase in industrial recycling.
Investment in silver, however, “is likely to be generally stable this year, as a modest drop in Western investment will be offset by further gains in India,” the report said.
Finally, the report set the forecast for the average annual price of silver for 2022 at $ 23.90 per ounce, which will mean the second highest annual average since 2011.