Silver industrial demand will rise an estimated 6 percent to a record high next year, and will account for an estimated 57 percent of total silver fabrication that year, according to the Silver Institute.

A report entitled, "The Outlook for Silver Industrial Demand," argues that overall improving economy, growth in the automobile industry and recovery in the housing and construction industries are primary reasons for the forecasted increase in demand, according to Thomson Reuters GFMS, which produced the report for the Silver Institute.

“Overall, industrial offtake in 2014 will account for some 57 percent of total silver fabrication, its highest contribution in our 25-year data series, against a still noteworthy 54 percent share in 2011,” the report stated.

During 2012 through 2014, some silver industrial markets will outperform, including silver used in the production of ethylene oxide, a chemical used in the manufacture of products such as polyester. Silver oxide is employed as a catalyst to produce ethylene oxide.

Geographically, China has seen growing demand for silver, accounting for 8 percent of global demand in 2000 and last year contributing to 18 percent. United States demand will remain high, enhancing its position as a leading manufacturer of high-end silver materials.

The report highlighted the use of silver in products that had not existed in prior years, such as smartphones and tablets. While each item uses a small amount of silver, their cumulative effect could be substantial over time. “It is worth noting that some products did not exist until just a few years ago, so although their individual silver content is modest, they nonetheless represent silver demand that simply did not exist before,” the report noted.

“Furthermore, there are many uses of silver which may be considered niche or novel now, such as in biocides, printed inks and superconductors. Should such markets, however, achieve a greater commercial role, they may come to cumulatively account for an increasingly important share of industrial fabrication.

"Overall, therefore, the development of ‘novel’ silver uses will, albeit modestly, add to the growth we expect to see in many established applications, resulting in healthy gains for silver industrial demand going forward.”