Over the past decade, these top five countries were the leading silver investors in the world. From 2010 to 2019, citizens in these countries invested over two billion ounces of silver bars and coins. Which country was the largest investor of silver? I was surprised by the data.
Since 2010, investors from India, China, the United States, Germany, and Canada purchased a tad bit more than two billion ounces of silver bars and coins. To be precise, it was 2,004 million oz. The world’s largest investor of physical silver bullion products turned out to be Americans. U.S. citizens invested in 929 million oz (Moz) of silver bars and coins over the past decade.
Indian investors came in second at 615 Moz, followed by Germany (265 Moz), China (139 Moz), and Canada (56 Moz). While I wasn’t shocked that Americans were the largest physical silver investors, I was quite surprised at the amount purchased by the Chinese and Canadians.
According to the data from the Silver Institute’s 2020 World Silver Survey (by Metals Focus), while the Royal Canadian Mint produced nearly 26 Moz of Official Silver Coins in 2019, its citizens only purchased 5 Moz of silver bars and coins last year. Thus, most of the Silver Maple Leafs were bought by Americans or other foreigners.
Furthermore, even though there are over 1.4 billion Chinese, its citizens only invested 139 Moz in silver bars and coins from 2010-2019. Chinese tend to favor investing mostly in physical gold bullion. In contrast, India, with a smaller population than China, invested more than four times in physical silver. Moreover, Indians prefer silver bars over coins. The overwhelming majority of the 615 Moz of physical silver purchased by Indians was in bar form… most likely 90+%.
Another surprise was the amount of silver bullion invested by the Germans. Last year, Germans acquired 32 Moz of silver bars and coins, compared to 48.2 Moz for the USA, 56.5 Moz for India, 6.2 Moz for China, and as stated above, 5 Moz for Canada.
The global physical silver investment was 186 Moz in 2019, but I believe we are going to see a massive surge in 2020. Due to the worldwide contagion, investors purchased a record amount of silver bullion products in late March and April. This record-buying wiped out most of the precious metals dealers' inventories. It took 4-6 weeks before stocks started showing up once again. However, a lot of the silver bullion products from many of the leading online dealers are still “Not Available.”
If we see another large resurgence (second wave) of the global contagion, it could motivate even increased buying of physical silver bullion, causing more shortages.
About the Author:
Independent researcher Steve St. Angelo started to invest in precious metals in 2002. In 2008, he began researching areas of the gold and silver market that the majority of the precious metal analyst community has left unexplored. These areas include how energy and the falling EROI – Energy Returned On Invested – stand to impact the mining industry, precious metals, paper assets, and the overall economy.