In 2014 silver investor and industrial consumption is growing


real-silverSilver investor and industrial consumption increased in the first half of 2014, according to the Silver Institute. Exchanged-traded fund holdings of physical silver rose by 7 million ounces through June. Citing data from precious metals consultancy Thomson Reuters GFMS, global silver bullion coin sales are up 4.5% through the first quarter of 2014. U.S. Mint sales of American Eagle Silver Bullion coins held near-record sales levels of 24.1 million ounces for the first six months of 2014, just shy of the 25 million sold in the first half of 2013. In 2013, full-year American Eagle silver coin sales were a record 42.7 million coins. While ETF and coin sales are strong, the Silver Institute said other silver investment products, such as silver bar consumption, “appear to be easing so far this year after a strong showing in 2013.”

Industrial demand for silver in such sectors as ethylene oxide production rose significantly in the first half 2014 and is expected to increase 23% this year to 8.0 million ounces, the group said, citing Thomson Reuters GFMS.Ethylene oxide is a building block chemical, used in production of detergents, solvents, plastics and a broad range of organic chemicals.

A global increase in renewable energy has lifted silver demand in the photovoltaic industry and Metals Focus, the precious metals consultancy, forecasts silver demand in photovoltaics will rise by close to 10% in 2014, the Silver Institute said.

Citing data from the Semiconductor Industry Association, semiconductor sales rose 8.8% in May from a year ago, the Silver Institute reported. “This increase is encouraging for silver demand because silver is used extensively in electronic products that contain semiconductors. Semiconductor sales in the first quarter of the year totaled $78.5 million globally, the highest first-quarter total on record,” the Silver Institute said. “These two categories, investment and industrial demand, are important to the strength of the silver market and last year accounted for a combined 77% of total silver demand,” they added.