World silver demand reached a record level in 2013, according to a May 14, 2014, report by The Silver Institute.
The report states that total physical silver demand rose 13 percent in 2013 to an all-time high, primarily driven by an increase in retail investment in silver bars and coins. The total physical demand for silver in 2013 exceeded a billion ounces, with the largest component of physical silver demand being for industrial applications.
In 2012, 181.4 million ounces of silver were needed for jewelry, and in 2013 this increased to 198.8 million ounces. For the production of coins and silver bars, 139.3 million ounces were needed in 2012 while that number exploded to 245.6 million ounces in 2013.
The increased demand for physical bullion coins can be seen in the increasing sales figures for the American Eagle 1-ounce silver coin produced by the U.S. Mint and available for sale to the public through dealers. In contrast, Proof and burnished Uncirculated versions are available directly for purchase through the U.S. Mint.
In 2013, the U.S. Mint reported record sales of its American Eagle silver bullion coin, with total 2013 sales reaching 42,675,000 coins. The previous record, set in 2011, was at the 40 million level. Through May 6, 2014, sales of American Eagle silver bullion coins totaled 19,173,000 pieces for the year.
The Silver Institute was established in 1971 and is a nonprofit international organization representing the interests of silver mining houses, refiners, bullion suppliers, manufacturers of silver products and wholesalers of silver investment products.