Industrial demand for silver has increased substantially over the past two decades and is expected to soar to a new record level in 2013. Speaking at the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto, Michael DiRienzo, executive director for the Silver Institute, said that demand for silver is broadening in many directions. Industry’s widening use of the precious metal is expected to average more than 483 million oz from 2012 to 2014, a level 53% greater than the average annual industrial fabrication demand of 313.4 million oz from 1992-2001.

Silver provides a unique combination of properties that make it ideal for applications in industries ranging from health and medicine to electronics, communications, solar power, batteries, superconductors and computers, as well as jewelry and silverware. Silver withstands extreme temperatures, serves as an excellent reflector of light and conductor of heat and electricity, and is a natural anti-microbial agent.

“Silver helps make today’s interconnected lifestyle possible and is a vital component of virtually every automobile, cell and smartphone, computer and laptop, appliance and electronic device we use. Further, silver’s antibacterial properties are finding new uses in textiles, medical instruments and hospital equipment, providing an effective tool in combatting infection and bacteria,” DiRienzo said.

As industry continues its wide-ranging use of silver, investors are also increasingly acquiring silver bullion, seeking the safety of the precious metal as a store of value. Investor demand for silver can be seen in the record-shattering sale of 7.5 million American Eagle Silver Bullion coins by the U.S. Mint in January of this year. In fact, over the first two months of 2013, investors purchased 10.9 million American Eagle Silver Bullion coins, up by 43% over the sale of the coins in the first two months of 2012.

Further, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that track physical backed silver are at a record high. As of March 8, total silver ETF holdings were 653.7 million oz, up by 22 million oz from year-end 2012. “Clearly, investor demand for silver remains buoyant by any measure,” DiRienzo said.

Established in 1971, the Silver Institute serves as the industry’s voice in increasing public understanding of the many uses and values of silver.

(March 28, 2013)

Precious Metals ($/oz) Base Metals ($/mt) Minor Metals ($/mt) Exchange Rates (U.S.$ Equivalent)
Gold $1,595.80 Aluminum $1,881.50 Molybdenum $24,500 Euro (€) 1.2821
Silver $28.67 Copper $7,582.50 Cobalt $26,000 U.K. (£) 1.5209
Platinum $1,572.00 Lead $2,094.00 Canada ($) 0.9832
Palladium $770.00 Nickel $16,540.00 Iron Ore ($/dmt) Australia ($) 1.0423
Rhodium $1,230.00 Tin $23,150.00 Fe CFR China $137.00 South Africa (Rand) 0.1084
Ruthenium $85.00 Zinc $1,870.00 China (¥) 0.1596
Gold and silver prices provided by KITCO Bullion dealers ( Platinum group metals prices provided by Johnson Matthey (
Non-ferrous base and minor metal prices provided by London Metal Exchange ( Iron ore prices provided by Platts Iron Ore Index. Currency exchange rates were provided by the