Silver: The Industrial Precious Metal Investment
People usually think of gold as the metal to invest in and silver as a distant second but this should not be the case. The many industrial uses of silver is part of why the precious metal is such an outstanding investment. The industrial demand for silver continues to increase because the applications of silver within industry continues to increase.
This includes the solar industry. Solar power is becoming a more mature industry but when solar technology was relatively new it was cost prohibitive for most people to personally implement it. The cost of solar power has gradually decreased and has led to the wider adoption of the technology. This is important in the demand of silver because the photovoltaic cells that make solar energy possible make use of the high conductivity of silver. Solar panels also use the reflective power of silver to collect sunlight. Solar power continues to progress to become a mainstream way to generate energy and as the world’s demand for clean energy sources increases so will demand for silver.
Silver has long been an integral part of the medical industry. The healing power of the precious metal has been well-documented throughout history. The reason is silver’s anti-bacterial properties, making it useful in situations where there is a significant risk of infection. Ointments used to treat burn patients include silver to help in the healing process. Water purification systems include silver for its antibacterial properties as well. Although silver aids in the purification of water, actually drinking silver will turn the skin blue.
Of course silver is used in many of today’s most popular electronics because of its high conductivity. Televisions, smartphones, cameras, clocks, desktops, and laptops all use silver so if you own one of these products, you own silver. Electronics like these are becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives. As demand for these products increase so will the demand for silver. This does not take into account the shortening life cycle of electronics, which will only add to industrial demand for silver.
Mirrors may be a given but think about how many mirrors you encounter each day. Every time you admire yourself in a mirror it is thanks in large part to silver. Most mirrors use a silver coating to create the reflective surface. The demand for mirrors is set to remain steady at worst, at best, increased based on increased real estate development.
Silver plays the role of catalyst and is used in the creation of ethylene oxide and formaldehyde. These are essential chemicals in the production of plastics, some types of clothing, antifreeze coolant, and resistant coatings. The antibacterial properties of silver mentioned earlier make it possible to use in countertops and possibly underwear and shirts as well.
Silver is used throughout various industries and some of these industries like solar, electronics, and medical are growing and becoming more important in our everyday lives which is likely to increase the demand for the precious metal for the foreseeable future.
The only issue is that the Earth does not have an unlimited supply of silver. Instead projections have us as a civilization running out of silver by 2035. Basic economics would dictate when demand for a good increases so does the price. Compound this with the dwindling supply of silver and prices according to economics, should go up in the future. Finding new mining opportunities is possible and could prevent a price increase.
Another possibility that would hinder a price increase for silver is if there was a cheaper and/or better alternative discovered. This may be possible in the solar and electronics industries but highly unlikely in the medical field. After all, silver has been used in medicine because of its antibacterial properties since essentially the beginning of recorded time.
The supply of silver has been outstripped for decades by an ever increasing demand. The world has for years used more silver than it has produced. From 1900 to 1970 the industrial demand for silver increased fourfold, from 100 million to 400 million. The increase in demand for silver was primarily a result of the urbanization and technological revolutions of life in the 20th century. Aerospace technology, electricity, cars, and even indoor plumbing all made ample use of silver. Millions of ounces of silver were used in photography alone.
The future for silver demand looks to place silver once again in a deficit situation, This would cause current silver stockpiles to be used to fulfill industrial demand. Silver demand for investment purposes has increased in recent years. There has been steady growth in the demand for three silver coins: The Austrian Philharmonic, Canadian Maple Leaf, and Silver American Eagle have all experienced an increase in demand.
A few facts to know about silver:
- Silver has been coined to be used in money since 700 BC
- Silver was more valuable than gold in ancient Egypt and Medieval Europe
- Silver is harder than gold but softer than copper
- Silver does not rhyme with any other word in the English language
The U.S. Gold Bureau has many options when it comes to investing in your future with silver, including the Silver American Eagle, America the Beautiful coins, Canadian Maple Leaf, silver bullet replicas, and silver bars from 1 oz to 1 Kilo.