Silver is an element which possesses highest electrical and thermal conductivity as compared to other metals. Silver is harder than other metals such as gold. It is obtained from ores and native form. Lead, copper, copper-nickel and lead-zinc are the principal ores from which silver is extracted. It is also very malleable and ductile. It is considered as one of the precious metals and is used to make ornaments, coins, jewelry and utensils among others. Silver is used in various industrial applications such as electroplating and as a catalyst in some of the chemical reactions. Silver compounds such as silver nitrates are used in various applications such as biocides and disinfectants. Some of its compounds such as silver iodide, silver chloride, silver nitrates are also used in paints and coatings especially for anti-microbial coatings.
The growing consumption for silver was mainly driven by huge demand from the industrial applications market. The industrial application involves auto catalysts, super capacitors and water purification among others. Jewelry is anticipated to be the second largest application for the silver market. Silver is majorly used in ornaments, coins and tableware. Silver finds application in dentistry where it is used as filler. It is also used in the development of photos. Silver is also used in electronics, optics & mirrors and medical applications among others. It is also used in high capacity batteries, cell phones and thick film PV in smaller amounts.
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Investments have been one of the major opportunities for the growth of the silver market over the past few years and the trend is expected to continue into the forecast period. Silver iodide is used for producing artificial rain. Silver nitrates are used in photography and silver plating and intermediate in silver based chemicals. Silver is also used in mirror and coatings. Silver coated mirrors have been one of the oldest applications in the market. In spite of so many applications, fluctuating prices can act as a major restraint for the silver market in upcoming years. Additionally, silver get easily tarnished when in contact with hydrogen sulphide, ozone or air with sulphur content.
In terms of demand, North America was the leading region in silver market. Growing demand for silver from industrial applications has been the major driver for the growth in the market. The U.S. and Mexico are the major consumers of silver in North America region. The major application for silver market in the U.S. is for photography followed by industrial applications. North America was followed by Asia Pacific where the demand for silver is anticipated to grow in the upcoming years. The demand is huge owing to huge silver fabrication market in India and China. Additionally, due to increasing number of high-net-worth individuals (HNIWs) in this region there is more investment in silver. There is huge investment in silver from countries such as China, Japan, India, Malaysia and South Korea among others.
Europe is expected to be lucrative market for silver in near future. The demand is likely to grow from industrial applications such as photography, high capacity batteries and chemicals intermediate among others. The demand for silver is huge from European countries such as Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Russia among others. The Rest of the World market is expected to show greater potential for silver market in upcoming years. Latin America and Africa is anticipated to be the major markets for silver in near future.
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Some of the key producers in the silver market are Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation, Industrias Peñoles, Fresnillo Plc, S.A.B. de C.V., Silver Wheaton Corp and Pan American Silver Corp. among others.