Silver Turns Around, Perhaps Thanks to Increasing Solar Demand

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One of the factors harming silver’s slipping industrial demand has been the decline of the use of physical film in both the photography and film industries. Digital projection has replaced most movie theater film projection and movie film was coated with a thin layer of silver chloride, silver bromide or silver iodide. Movie screens were covered in paint embedded with the reflective white metal, which is how the term “silver screen” came to be.

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Forbes reports that since 1999, photography has increasingly gone digital, and as a result, silver demand in the film industry has contracted about 70%. Picking up the slack in volume, however, is a technology that also requires silver: crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) installation, otherwise known as solar energy. Silver demand in the fabrication of solar panels is set to outpace photography, if it hasn’t already done so.

Every solar panel contains between 15 and 20 grams of silver. At today’s prices, that’s about $20 per panel. When silver was hanging out in the mid-$30s range a couple of years ago, it was double that. Silver prices finally turned around on the London Metal Exchange

Weakening prices changed direction when the price of Indian silver rose 5.3% on Tuesday, November 25 to INR 38,050 ($614.91) per kilogram. US silver finished the day up 0.5% to $16.46 per ounce. At CNY 3,530 ($574.79), the price of Chinese silver finished the market day up 0.3% per kilogram. The price of Japanese silver ended a two-day climb, settling at JPY 609.00 ($5.14) per 10 grams.

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The price of Indian gold bullion closed at INR 26,867 ($434.19) per 10 grams. Following a couple days of improvement, the metal’s price weakened by 0.7%. US gold bullion prices inched up 0.2% to $1,198 per ounce. The price of Chinese gold bullion steadied at CNY 237.29 ($38.64) per gram following two-days of increases. After a couple of days of improving prices, the price of Japanese gold bullion held steady at JPY 4,517 ($38.12).

The price of US platinum bar declined 0.5% to $1,202 per ounce. The price of Chinese platinum bar declined 0.4% to CNY 256.00 ($41.68) per gram, after two days of improvement. Japanese platinum bar saw little change in its price yesterday at JPY 4,590 ($38.73) per gram.

Following two days of rising prices, the price of US palladium bar dropped 0.8% to $790.00 per ounce. The price of Japanese palladium bar remained steady at JPY 2,885 ($24.35) per gram. The price of Chinese palladium bar flattened at CNY 174.00 ($28.33) after two days of improvement.

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