Silver Industrial Demand Expected to Outpace Global GDP Growth Through 2016
Washington, August 2014
The Silver Institute has released a report titled “The Outlook for New Electrical and Electronic Uses of Silver.” The report identifies three key potential growth areas for silver demand: flexible electronics; light emitting diodes (LEDs); and interposers. These three growth areas combined have the potential to add another 20 million ounces of silver to total demand by 2018.
The report was produced by Metals Focus, the London-based independent precious metals research consultancy, on behalf of the Silver Institute.
Highlights of the report include:
According to Metals Focus, silver industrial demand, which accounts for over 50 percent of global demand, is expected to grow 5 percent per year from 2014-2016, outpacing forecasted global GDP growth.
Within the flexible electronics sector, the report forecasts notable gains in silver use for flexible displays. Flexible displays, which incorporate silver, can be found in tablets, cell phones and e-readers.
The report indicates a healthy rise in LED demand, driven by falling costs and increasingly stringent lighting energy legislation that will accelerate LED adoption, thus leading to strong growth for silver demand.
Interposers that include silver could hold considerable promise for future silver demand. Interposers enable far greater functionality in the next generation of semiconductor chips. Given the greater technical demands made of interposers, glass, with the addition of silver, is being considered as an alternative material. Metals Focus maintains that should glass (and therefore silver) prevail as the interposer technology of choice, silver demand is on course to benefit.
The report also examines the outlook for established end-uses, such as silver’s use in ethylene oxide (EO) production, which is a key building block chemical in the production of detergents, solvents and plastics. Silver demand in the EO sector has enjoyed near uninterrupted growth over the past 30-40 years, primarily due to the growing demand for a range of consumer and industrial products. The EO category could witness even greater silver demand, especially in the United States, with the advent of shale gas, potentially yielding new EO plants.
Metals Focus also reports that silver’s use in photovoltaics for solar power installations may well surpass its previous demand peak, registered in 2011, as early as 2016-17.
“With the introduction of these advanced uses of silver in the electrical and electronics category, which last year provided over 40 percent of total silver industrial demand, along with growth in established uses, we should see silver industrial demand develop even further, especially as economies grow globally,” stated Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute.
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