The current 7,000t surplus in silver could start to shrink in the next few years as a number of emerging end-uses gain traction in various markets, according to the Fortis Bank’s ‘Silver Book’ report. The silver mine supply is expected to reach 22,700t this year, up from 22,000t in 2009, which will keep the surplus high.
However, Fortis Bank expects a rise in investment demand later on this year, which will help lower the surpluses in the next few years and could lead to an acute undersupply by 2020.
Crystalline-silicon solar cells can contain as much as 0.12 grams of silver per watt, according to the report. The solar industry is already a major silver consumer, with an estimated 18Moz consumed in 2009.