Silver prices are expected to only suffer modest losses this year despite the Covid-19 crisis, according to the World Silver Survey 2020, published by the Silver Institute.
Total silver supply is expected to fall 4% from 1,023.1 million ounces in 2019 to 978.1 million ounces this year, while demand in the global PV industry is forecast to drop 3% from 98.7 million ounces to 96.1 million ounces.
In 2019, the total silver supply increased by only 4 million ounces from the preceding year, while demand in the PV industry grew by 7% from 92.5 million ounces in 2018.
According to the report, the price of silver fell to its lowest level in more than a decade with the onset of the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting panic in global markets around mid-March.
“Looking ahead, roughly 80% of silver’s demand comes from areas likely to suffer as a result of the Covid-19 crisis,” the authors of the report said. “We also envisage sizable declines for supply, as restrictive measures affect a large number of mines.”
They also said that current uncertainties linked to the Covid-19 crisis mean that the silver market outlook for the rest of this year is “incredibly challenging. “The broad assumption we have taken is that some sort of lockdown will be in place across most major markets for a period of six to eight weeks and that this will be followed by a month of a gradual return to normality,” they stated.
Overall, the global silver supply is expected to its lowest point this year since 2009. Despite the drop in demand, the average silver price for 2020 is set to decline by just 3% to $15.70 per Troy ounce.
“By year-end, we would not be surprised to see the white metal’s price testing the $19 mark,” the researchers said.
In February, when the pernicious economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were still unfathomable, the Silver Institute predicted that silver demand in the solar industry would fall slightly this year, but remain near recent record-high levels. Under such an outlook, the Silver Institute had said that the annual average silver price was expected to rise 13% to a six-year high of $18.40 in 2020.
In a report published in June 2018, the Silver Institute highlighted how the amount of silver needed by the PV industry could fall from 130 mg per cell in 2016 to approximately 65 mg by 2028.