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Silver Institute forecasts silver demand to outpace global GDP for next 5 years

A selection of silver coins and bars.
U.S. Gold Bureau

A new report from the Silver Institute reveals that the demand for silver is expected to beat the projected growth in global GDP for the next several years.

The report calls for silver demand to grow by five percent per year from 2014 to 2016. The demand for industrial silver, which accounts for over 50 percent of global demand, will rise due to its use in three key areas; flexible electronics displays, LEDs and semiconductor computer chips.

All three areas are expected to grow in production and demand dramatically over the next four years. Combined, they have the potential to add another 20 million ounces of silver to total demand by 2018.

“With the introduction of these advanced uses of silver in the electrical and electronics category, which last year provided over 40 perecent of total silver industrial demand, along with growth in established uses, we should see silver industrial demand develop even further, especially as economies grow globally,” said Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute.

The report takes a close look at the forecast for established uses, such as silver’s use in ethylene oxide (EO) production. EO is a key building block chemical in the production of detergents, solvents and plastics. Demand for silver in the EO sector has experienced almost uninterrupted growth over the past 30 to 40 years, primarily due to the growing demand for a range of consumer and industrial products.

“The EO category could witness even greater silver demand, especially in the United States, with the advent of shale gas, potentially yielding new EO plants,” explained DiRienzo.

As early as 2016 to 2017, silver’s use in photovoltaics, needed for solar power installations, may well surpass its previous demand peak. That peak was established and registered in 2011.

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