All major silver demand categories achieved record highs in 2022, pushing total demand to a new high of 1.24 billion oz. last year, according to the Silver Institute. Since 2020, the global silver demand total has increased by 38% as world economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Industrial silver demand was up 5%. Demand for physical silver investment grew by 22%. Demand for silver in jewelry and silverware rose by 29% and 80%, respectively.
With record silver demand came lower mine production, totaling 822.4 million oz. globally. At 228.2 million oz., output from primary silver mines rose only 0.1% in 2022 compared to 2021. The flat performance resulted from lower by-product output from lead-zinc mines, especially in China and Peru. The bright spots were Mexican production (up by 3.1 million oz.), Argentina (3.0 million oz.), and Russia (2.2 million oz.).
Recycling activity rose for a third year in a row with a 3% lift in 2022 to a 10-year high of 180.6 million oz.
The outlook for 2023, says the Silver Institute, is for another year of solid demand. Industrial fabrication should reach an all-time high, boosted by continued gains in the solar market and other industrial segments. Although demand from the bar, coin, and jewelry is forecast to fall short of last year’s exceptional levels, both are expected to remain historically high.
Supply in 2023 will likely achieve only low single-digit gains, leading to a projected 142.1 million oz. deficit, the second largest deficit in more than 20 years. Global silver inventories will have fallen to 430.9 million oz. by the end of this year, compared to their December 2020 peak.
A complimentary PDF version of World Silver Survey 2023 can be downloaded from the Institute's website at www.SilverInstitute.org.