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Silver in the 21st Century

Historical Silver Prices

The Silver Institute, a nonprofit international association, offers a detailed history of Silver prices for the last 65 years. APMEX also offers a Silver price history that can be used as a resource. They have collected yearly average prices based on the London PM Fix; we have arranged the Silver prices history for this century here.

Silver price history

As you can see in the price of Silver history, there were several record-breaking years in which spot prices topped the history of Silver prices. According to the Silver Institute, “[The 2006] Silver price reached levels not seen in 26 years and was the leader when compared with Gold (36 percent increase) and Platinum (27 percent increase)…Much of the investment demand can be attributed to the successful launch of Barclays’ Global Investors iShares Silver Trust Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)...”

Significant gains were made between 2009 and 2011, when the average spot prices were $14.67 and $35.12, respectively, which leaves one to wonder what could have led to such a dramatic spike in this brief history of Silver prices.
The answer, of course, has to do with supply and demand. The more in demand or more rare something is, the more it will cost. There were at least two major factors influencing the Silver market at that time:

  1. The global financial crisis. The financial crisis originated around 2007 and is considered to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. A result of “widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision,” (Financial Crisis Inquiry Report), the crisis led to a sharp drop of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and left people fearful of losing their homes and jobs.
    Uncertain of the economy and dollar, people invested in Precious Metals to prepare for the hard economic times ahead. An influx of investors added to the demand and helped spike the prices of Silver.

  2. Sharp changes in industrial demand. Silver has a number of industrial uses, including batteries. Japan, one of the world’s largest battery producers, experienced a steep drop in Silver consumption in 2009. This falling demand and then sudden surge in 2010 could account for the rising cost of Silver in 2010 and 2011, when the annual average spot price was at an all-time high of $35.12.

As the economy stabilized and industrial intensity increased at a steadier rate, the demand for Silver was less dramatic. A falling Silver spot price resulted, as we have seen since 2011.

Future of Silver prices: Due for a spike

With the national unemployment rate now around 5 percent, or what is considered “full employment,” the American economy seems to be back on track. However, this does not mean Silver prices will continue to fall.

Rising Silver Spot Prices

On the contrary, conditions are prime for rising Silver prices over the next few years. Here are a few things to affect the supply and demand of Silver:
  1. Low prices encourage people to buy. A strong dollar means Silver investors can buy more for their money and save for economic crises (such as the one we recently experienced). As they buy more, the supply dwindles, urging prices upwards.

  2. Industrial demand is growing. According to a 2014 report by CRU Consulting, a London-based metals consultancy, the industrial demand for Silver is expected to grow 27 percent by 2018. Silver is used for a variety of industries, including batteries, antibacterial compounds, ethylene oxide and more. See the graph above and chart below for forecasts..

  3. Global political and economic unrest is rising. The American economy seems healthy now, but geopolitical and economic conditions are uncertain at best. Andrew Zatlin, editor of Moneyball Economics, warns that China’s economic slowdown is expected to strip $34B from the U.S. economy because of a loss in exports. The impact of this has already been seen in oil and mining. Industrial goods suppliers and operating expenditures are expected to be affected next. A continued decline in exports will pinch the American economy again.

  4. Decline in mining production. The Wall Street Journal reported that Silver mining companies, affected by the recent low Silver price history, won’t have enough capital to fund new mining ventures to keep up with coming demand. “Silver mine supply lagged demand by 4.9 million ounces last year,” which means the gap between supply and demand is only going to grow.

Knowing when to invest in Silver

Of course, other factors affect the price of Precious Metals. Smart investors should stay vigilant to the influences and watch for Precious Metals trends. APMEX offers several spot price history charts for you to monitor developments, including:

  • Gold price chart history to check the Gold price per ounce history

  • Silver spot price history chart to track Silver price history

  • Platinum spot price history chart

  • Palladium spot price history chart

Gold spot price history

Our Gold price chart history details the Gold spot price history and daily Gold price per ounce history going back 30 years.

Silver spot price history

Our price of Silver history chart goes back 30 years to showcase daily spot prices.

Platinum spot price history

Our Platinum price history chart tracks the daily Platinum price history of spot prices for the last 30 years.

Palladium spot price history

Our Palladium price history goes back 30 years.

Helpful Resources

How to Invest in Precious Metals (2:38)

See how Gold, an ancient storehouse of wealth, plays a vital role in modern investment portfolios. Watch Video

The Precious Metals Guide: Insights & Services

Written to acquaint you with Precious Metals investing and all the ways APMEX helps you succeed. Read more

Market Updates

Monitor the performance of Gold and Silver with daily market commentaries. Learn More

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