The PV industry, along with jewelry, coin and bar sectors helped to boost global silver demand to the record 1.17 billion ounces last year.
According to the Washington-based Silver Institute, last year’s supply and demand scenario led to the third successive annual silver market deficit, reaching 129.8 million ounces, more than 60% larger than in 2014 and the third largest on record.
The largest component of physical silver demand, industrial applications, which accounted for 50% of total physical silver demand last year, was 4% lower, totaling 588.7 million ounces.
There were several highlights within the industrial segment, the Silver Institute says. One of them is in the increasing demand in the PV sector, driven by strong growth in Chinese solar installations. Silver demand for photovoltaic applications rose 23% in 2015 to 77.6 million ounces, marking the second consecutive year of increases in this sector.
An average annual silver price in 2015 dropped to US$15.68 per ounce. This lower price environment helped to boost physical demand, particularly as long term investors viewed lower prices as key entry points in expectation of future price appreciation, the Silver Institute said in the announcement.