Silver Institute: Coin demand is expected to be robust once again in 2016

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The U.S. Mint set a new all-time record for silver American Eagle sales in 2015, moving 47 million of the 1-oz. coins by December. With silver up about 8% on the year so far, this years sales could be just as impressive, The Silver Institute is predicting.

January sales of the 2016 issues already are the fourth-highest ever since the coin series debuted in 1986. The Mint reported that 5,954,500 were sold last month.

Elevated demand for silver: Now, in its new 2016 Silver Market Trends report, The Silver Institute says this year could be another blockbuster. Not only did the Mint reach record-level Eagle sales, but globally the total of silver coins purchased hit an all-time high of 130 million troy ounces.

Coin demand is expected to be robust once again in 2016, the institute said. Demand will remain elevated this year as investors take advantage of relatively lower metal prices in the first few months of the year.Increased interest in safe-haven assets, as already seen in the first few weeks of the year, will also be positive for physical silver investment demand. In 2015, coin demand made up an estimated 12% of total physical demand.

The institute also is expecting silvers use in jewelry fabrication to rise 5% this year.

Silver use for solar power to hit record: Silver is well-known for its dual properties as both a monetary metal and a commodity that is heavily used in manufacturing, for solar-power, medical, and computer applications, to name just a few. Despite the current global economic slowdown, the institute sees more silver being gobbled up for industry.

Silver industrial demand, the largest component of total silver offtake, is set to increase its share of total demand in 2016, the institute predicted. Its particularly bullish on silvers use in solar power, projecting that the white metal will surpass the 2011 record of 75.8 million ounces used for photovoltaic applications.

India, which imported a record 228 million ounces of silver in 2015, is expected to keep growing and offset any declines in Chinas demand, thanks in part to its increasing favor among Indians in the wake of government efforts there to curb gold demand.

5% decline in production seen: Meanwhile, on the supply side, the institute is predicting a 5% decline in global mine production because of industry cutbacks in exploration. And the supply decline wont end this year. Many analysts expect global silver mine production to fall through 2019 as primary silver production from more mature operations begins to drop, it said.

As a result, the silver market deficit (total supply less total demand) is expected to widen in 2016, drawing down on above-ground stocks. The larger deficit is expected to be driven by a contraction in supply.

And as a natural result of this imbalance, the silver price is expected to find solid ground this year on the back of increased safe-haven demand amid volatile and weakening equity markets across the globe.

In other words, now is the time to get into silver. Blanchard and Company offers a range of silver-investment options, including 2016 American Eagles, PCGS-certified MS70 First Strike silver Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaf coins, generic silver rounds, circulated Morgan dollars and Peace dollars, plus silver bars of various sizes. And for the silver investor who wants a truly distinctive investment product, consider a sealed green Monster Box of 500 silver Eagles from the U.S. Mint.