2015 Global Silver Mining Production Up, Global Silver Demand Up More
Global silver demand led by soaring silver coin and bar demand
Earlier this month the Silver Institute, in conjunction with Thompson Reuters, released its overview of silver supply and demand.
Here are some highlights from the report:
The report showed that global silver mining production was up over 2% in 2015. The silver mining growth was led by the top two mining countries in the world, Mexico and Peru. Mexican silver mining production was up 2% in 2015. Fresnillo, the world’s largest silver mining company with mines in Mexico, reported a double digit percentage increase in silver mining production in 2015.
Peru, the second largest silver mining country, increased its output over 10% in 2015. In 2014 Peru produced about 123 million ounces of silver. In 2015 Peru increased its production about 13 million ounces to about 136 million. Mexico and Peru combined account for about 40% of the world’s silver mining output.
China is the third largest silver mining country in the world. Their output dropped in 2015, but had little impact on global supply as China retains virtually all of their domestically mined silver for industrial production and investment.
The top ten silver mining countries in order: Mexico, Peru, China, Russia, Australia, Chile, Bolivia, Poland, the United States, and Argentina produced more than 80% of the world’s silver mining output.
Silver production increased despite prices that were about 20% lower in 2015 than in 2014 for the simple reason that in order to make the revenues necessary to stay in business, mining companies had to produce more silver.
Silver scrap supply declined in 2015 about 13 percent to about 150 million ounces or less than 15% of overall supply. The lower price of silver in 2015 was cited as the reason for the decline in scrap silver as the incentive to turn in silver declines when the price is low.
While silver mining companies increased output, they were unable to keep up with demand. Demand for silver according to the Silver Institute grew about three and a half percent in 2015.
Industrial demand takes up about 50% of global silver demand. In 2015, due to a slowing global economy, industrial silver demand was down nearly 4%. Silver demand for the solar panel industry however rose nearly 20%, offsetting declining silver demand in other industrial areas, mainly electronics manufacturing.
Silver demand for jewelry was up about one percent in 2015 to about 225 million ounces or about 20% of overall silver demand.
Demand for silver coins and bars was up nearly 25% in 2015 over 2015. Aggregate demand for silver coins and bars reached nearly 300 million ounces or about 30% of overall physical silver demand. In 2005, demand for silver coins and bars was 5% of overall physical silver demand. Silver coin and bar demand has risen steadily since the financial crisis of 2008. Annual declines in the price of silver since 2011 have also fueled silver buying as a less expensive alternative to gold.
2016 Silver Outlook
Silver supply is projected to fall in 2016 while demand is expected to grow.
This article by BGASC is not, and should not be regarded as, investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular course of action.