The Silver Institute, a global organization focused solely on silver, forecast jewelry demand to rise 11% this year.
Above all, India remains the driving force, aided by improving consumer confidence.
Although the Omicron wave hit Indian demand in early 2022, the expected easing of Covid-19 restrictions and efforts by jewelery retailers to increasingly bring silver to urban consumers will support sales of jewelry throughout India.
Meanwhile in the United States, after a significant rebound in 2021, the expansion of jewelry sales is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace.
The Silver Institute projected that silverware manufacturing will expand 21% this year. Again, India will account for most of the increase in silverware in line with jewellery.
Chips and 5G
Despite prolonged chip shortages around the world, the outlook for demand for silver in automotive and 5G-related applications remains strong this year.
The former has been supported by increased vehicle electrification, leading to higher silver loads per vehicle.
In turn, the latter has been assisted by accelerating infrastructure build-out to support 5G networks and strong demand for mobile devices.
In addition, as bottlenecks in chip manufacturing are forecast to gradually decrease in 2022, growth in demand for silver for these and other electrical and electronic applications is expected to increase.
The Silver Institute also projected that the total world supply of silver will increase 7%, to 1,092 million ounces in 2022.
The main contributor is silver mine production, which is forecast to grow 7% to a six-year high this year.
This will be driven by increased production from primary silver mines, in particular from several large existing operations, and will be supported by large new projects coming online.
The increase in silver recycling should be more modest in 2022, with volumes likely to increase 3%, with the increase due entirely to increased industrial recycling.
All other areas are expected to see lower volumes as reduced forced sales weigh on jewelry and silver scrap.