• The strength in silver ETP and coin/bar demand that characterised last year carried over into early 2021.
  • Net managed money futures have returned to growth this year after declining sharply in 2020.
  • In contrast, silver mining equities have eased back this year (after enjoying a very strong 2020), while silver jewellery demand (a form of investment in many price sensitive markets) should achieve a strong recovery after being ravaged last year.

Introduction

In this note, some of the key developments in silver investment are assessed, principally this year, focussing on exchange-traded products (ETPs), coins and bars and the futures market. The demand figures in this report are taken from the Metals Focus Five-Year Silver Forecast. Final investment figures for 2020, and for all other areas of global silver supply and demand, will be available in the Silver Institute’s World Silver Survey 2021, released on Thursday, 22 April 2021. For ETPs and coins and bars the spotlight will be on the social media buying frenzy, and the pressure this brought to bear on the supply chain. In the futures market, the analysis looks at the impact of the pandemic on the exchange for physical premium (EFP) and the potential for this dynamic to be repeated should another widespread lockdown emerge.

The past 12-18 months have witnessed some incredible developments in the silver investment market, including a dramatic improvement in investor activity. Looking at the combined value for ETPs, coin and bar demand and net managed money positioning offers some indication of how investment has fared. For 2020, this is estimated to have risen by around 20% to around $10bn, the second highest total recorded by Metals Focus over the past decade, and bettered only by 2012. Although the above figures do not include some key elements — such as futures trading in China or India, nor over-the-counter activity — they are still representative of the overall strength in silver investment last year.

Silver Investment*