The spread of Covid-19 has brought about considerable economic uncertainty. The mining sector is no exception in the recent global market failure that has got every asset class takes a bath due to the Pandemic. There’s panic from investors who flock to buy safe-haven metals like silver to gain protection from volatility during times like these. Using the S&P Global Market Intelligence, it is possible to determine how the Silver market has evolved amidst the crisis.
Demand for Silver
There was a 2% reduction in the total demand to 1035.1 million oz. in 2019. The decline was due to a decrease in silver used in industries and jewelry. However, this was offset by a rise in retail investment due to global uncertainty, with both coins and bars recording safe-haven demands. Although the demand for silver has recovered, most areas are experiencing heavy annual losses. There’s a prediction that industrial fabrication will reduce by 9% to 466.5 Moz this year. The lockdown restrictions in different countries have disrupted the supply chains, with end-users adopting a tactical approach to stock replenishment.
Mining companies globally have started to take precautionary measures by reducing their operations amidst the Pandemic. The silver mine production declined to approximately 853.7 million oz, with Europe and North America recording a higher output than Oceania and South America. However, most Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in May, with most silver mines returning to full production rates. If the virus continues to spread, the output is likely to decline from individual operations later. The scrap supply rose to 160.3 million 0z with the high price of scrap stimulating scrap supply across the major markets.
As investors purchase more silver as a haven asset, silver prices have increased in 2020. There are also improvements in the gold: silver ratio. The silver price was about US$16.21 per oz. in 2019, which is 3% higher than the previous year. The prices have increased by 18% to US$19 per oz. in September for the first time in 3 years.
However, silver lost its value to the dollar in the first three months of March, trading at approximately US$12 per oz. which is the lowest in more than ten years. The prediction is that with bargain hunting, silver prices will recover from the lows and later move higher once again. The global silver market is set to see another surplus of 31.5 Moz in 2020, the highest in 3 years.