Worldwide demand for silver during calendar year 2022 reached a record high of 1.242 billion ounces, according to World Silver Survey 2023, an in-depth examination of the silver market researched and produced for the Silver Institute by Metals Focus, a London-based independent precious metals conservancy.
Demand was so significant that it resulted in a deficit of 237.7 million ounces for the 2022 calendar year, according to the survey.
Physical investment demand jumped by 22% compared to 2021, silver industrial demand climbed by 5% year to year, while silverware and jewelry jumped 80% and 29%, respectively, according to the survey.
Since 2020, total global demand for silver has risen by 38% as worldwide economies continue to recover from the ravages of the pandemic.
Total silver demand in 2022 reached 1,242,400,000 ounces compared to 1,055,600,000 ounces in 2021. Total supply in 2022 stood at 1,004,700,000 ounces from 1,004,500,000 ounces recorded in 2021.
According to World Silver Survey 2023, silver bar and coin demand worldwide spiked by 22% in 2022 to a new high of 332.9 million ounces.
In the United States, physical silver investment in 2022 climbed 4% to 134 million ounces compared to 129.1 million ounces in 2021.
The sharpest percentage investment increase in 2022 was recorded in India, with a 188% jump to 79.4 million ounces, from 27.6 million in 2021.
The average price per troy ounce for silver, according to the London Bullion Market Association closing spot prices, averaged $21.73 for 2022, $3.41 per ounce, or 13.5%, lower than the 2021 average at $25.14 per ounce.
Supply and mining
“In 2022, global mine production fell marginally, dropping by 0.6% year to year to 822.4 million ounces, according to the survey. “This followed strong growth in the previous year, when production had risen by 5.8% as mines recovered from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year’s decline was the result of lower byproduct output from lead/zinc mines, particularly in China and Peru.
“Silver production from this source fell by 3.5% year to year to 248.2 million ounces. Partially offsetting this drop was higher silver output from gold and copper mines, which rose by 1.0% to 129.5 million ounces and 0.8% to 212 million ounces respectively.
“Meanwhile, production from primary silver mines was almost flat year-on-year, rising by just 0.1% to 228.2 million ounces.”
Metals Focus projects in World Silver Survey 2023 that silver this calendar year will continue to be in strong demand in some sectors.
“Although bar and coin demand and jewelry fabrication are expected to fall short of last year’s exceptional levels, both are forecast to remain historically high,” according to the survey. “Supply, by contrast, is expected to achieve only low single-digit gains. As a result, this year will also see another large deficit for silver, amounting to a projected 142.1 million ounces, which would be the second-largest deficit in more than 20 years.
“Adding up the supply shortfalls of 2021-2023, global silver inventories by the end of this year will have fallen by 430.9 million ounces from their end-2020 peak. … it is equivalent to more than half of this year’s forecasted annual mine production, and more than half of the inventories presently held in London vaults offering custodian services.”
The full World Silver Survey 2023 can be found online here.
Learn more: Coin World