Silver jewellery manufacture resilient in 2012

A woman makes silver rings at IBB's factory in Bangkok. Silver jewellery manufacture in 2012 was on par with 2011. (ITP)

The Silver Institute has released its World Silver Survey 2013, with demand for silver in jewellery manufacture remaining effectively unchanged in 2012 compared to 2011.

The survey, researched and compiled by London-based Thomson Reuters GFMS, described silver as “more resilient than gold”.

While Western demand for silver in jewellery manufacture softened last year, a growing appetite in India and China for the white metal helped to offset the slower Western market.

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In total 185.6 million ounces of silver was used in worldwide jewellery manufacture in 2012, while the silverware dipped to 44.9 million ounces “due to ongoing structural factors and economic weakness”.

Investment demand for silver is recognised as the dominant driver of the increasing silver price, accounting for almost a quarter of total silver demand in 2012. According to the World Silver Survey the “robust” investor demand pushed the average silver price up to US$31.15 (£20.33) per ounce, the second highest on record, behind the average reached in 2011.

Silver investment rose in 2012 to a total of 252.7 million ounces, representative of about US$8 billion (£5.22bn) on a net basis, substantially above the annual average of $1.2 billion (£783m) recorded in the 2001 to 2010 timeframe.

Buoyant investor interest was also found in demand for coins and medals totalling 92.7 million ounces in 2012, the third highest level ever recorded. Coin minting in China posted a strong increase, growing 47% on 2011’s totals.

In terms of silver fabrication demand, the World Silver Survey notes a fall in demand to 846.8 million ounces with industrial silver fabrication slipping by 4% in 2012 to 465.9 million ounces, said to be the result of the challenging economic environment seen in many industrialised countries. India, however, recorded a 4% gain while China experienced a small increase in industrial demand.


World Silver Suppy and Demand in 2012 (million ounces)

Supply

Mine Production  2011: 757.0        2012: 787.0
Net Government Sales  2011: 12.0         2012: 7.4
Old Silver Scrap  2011: 258.1        2012: 253.9
Total Supply  2011: 1039.4        2012: 1048.3

Demand

Industrial Applications  2011: 487.8        2012: 465.9
Photography  2011: 66.1        2012: 57.8
Jewellery  2011: 186.5        2012: 185.6
Silverware  2011: 48.3        2012: 44.9
Coins & Medals  2011: 118.3       2012: 92.7
Total Fabrication  2011: 907.1        2012: 846.8
Total Demand  2011: 1039.4        2012: 1048.3

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