As silver realized its seventh consecutive annual rise in value last year, 2008 also marked the fifth successive year in which silver jewelry production dropped. Last year silver jewelry fabrication dropped 3.2% compared to the previous year, according to the recently released World Silver Survey 2009 from the Silver Institute and GFMS Limited, the authors of the report.
Global silver fabrication dropped only 0.9%, a slight decrease to 832.6 million ounces (Moz.) in 2008. But silver fabrication was buoyed by coins and medals fabrication, which jumped an astonishing 63 percent to a record of 64.9 Moz.
As a fabrication sector, jewelry manufacturing took a more noticeable drop when production fell 3.2% to 158.3 Moz. last year. Weaker off-take in Italy and Thailand accounted for 75% of the gross losses as exports were hit by lower consumption in major Western markets.
Meanwhile, growth in the silver jewelry production sector was most pronounced in India, China and Russia, driven by the fast growing demand in the modern silver jewelry segment in local markets for 2008, according to the survey.
Silver prices averaged $14.99 per ounce in 2008, a 12% increase compared to the previous year. This gave the precious white metal its seventh consecutive annual rise in value.
In 2008, investor demand pushed silver prices to a March high of $20.92 per once with strong production demand. But, the economic outlook in the second half of last year quickly drove the prices down for all precious metals. Silver’s price in the first quarter of 2009, however, recovered a solid portion of the lost ground.
For more information, go to the Silver Institute’s website at www.silverinstitute.org.