Total silver physical demand stood at 1.07 billion ounces in 2014, the fourth highest level recorded since 1990, but a 4 percent decline from the 2013 total. A main factor in the decrease in physical demand was a fall in coin and bar demand from 2013, which had been a record year.
The largest component of physical silver demand, industrial applications, which accounted for 56 percent of total physical silver demand, was marginally lower by 0.5 percent. On a regional basis, a modest increase in industrial demand in developing countries, led by 4 percent growth in China and Taiwan, was offset by weaker demand in advanced countries in 2014. This marks the fifth consecutive year of Chinese industrial demand growth. Last year’s industrial demand total for Taiwan was 23 percent above their 2009 figure.
Silver demand for photovoltaic applications rose 7 percent in 2014 while silver demand for ethylene oxide (EO) grew 6 percent. On the latter, GFMS estimates that 128.6 million ounces (Moz) of silver resided in EO plants around the word at year-end, equivalent to 15 percent of last year’s total mine production. Additionally, brazing alloy and soldering demand increased by 3 Moz in 2014. Photography demand slid by 5 percent in 2014, experiencing its slowest pace of decline since 1999.
Globally, silver jewelry fabrication had a second consecutive year of growth, increasing 1.5 percent to achieve a new record. This was a reflection of high levels of restocking and a strong performance from India, which surged 47 percent from 2013 levels. Gains were also noted in Europe, up 9.3 percent, and North America, up 2.2 percent. Total silverware fabrication rose 3 percent to levels not seen since 2006, primarily due to a 20 percent increase in demand from the Indian Subcontinent
Material and statistics in this section were adapted in part from the Silver Institute’s World Silver Survey 2015.