Silver prices increased by 22% in 2021 and reached a nine-year high of $25.14 per Troy ounce in 2021, when global demand for the precious metal rose by 19% year on year, according to the “World Silver Survey 2022,” which was recently published by the Silver Institute.
The report also reveals that silver was sold at the $24 to $28 range during the first half of last year, and reached then a lower range of $22 to $26 during the second half.
Global silver demand surpassed pre-pandemic levels and reached 32,627 tons, which represents the highest level since 2015. Industrial fabrication grew by 9.3% to 15,807 tons last year.
“This mainly reflected the effects of a resumption of industrial operations and the re-opening of businesses as economies began to recover from Covid. Other supportive factors included the demands of the home working economy, a boom for consumer electronics, 5G infrastructure investment, inventory build along the supply pipeline and rising end-use in the green economy, chiefly in photovoltaics,” said the Silver Institute.
The report also reveals that silver demand in the solar industry grew by 13% to 3,536 tons last year. It is expected to climb by another 12% to 3,950 tons this year.
The researchers said that the current transition to TOPCon modules and the ongoing adoption of HJT heterojunction cells, which require 30% to 80% more silver than current panels, may push the PV industry towards higher silver consumption.
“As such, it is forecast that PV silver demand will stay healthy as growing capacity additions counter the negative of the finger width being expected to drop a further 30% to 25μm by 2025,” the Silver Institute said, noting that the “finger width” is the width of the lines of silver paste that are printed onto the front and rear of panels.
Looking forward, the Silver Institute said that the boost to precious metal prices from the war in Ukraine will prove short-lived. It claimed that silver’s traditional macro drivers will soon take center stage.
“We believe the silver price will keep to its recent trading range over the next few months, even after support from the Ukrainian conflict wanes,” it warned. “Later in the year, however, liquidations and price downside will be hard to avoid.”
Overall, the Silver Institute forecast the silver price will average $23.90 per Troy ounce in 2022.
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