A year ago, we predicted a slowdown in global growth from 3.8% in 2017-2018...
2019-08-29 39 ENGLISH REPORTS
In the silver market, as for any commodity, physical imbalances both explain and influence price action, physical premia, margins, and logistical areas such as lead times and scrap recycling patterns. Silver is no exception; indeed it also attracts varying attention from the investment and speculative fraternities with, for example, ETP total holdings shifting from modest inflows in 2017 to a 3% decline to 649.5 Moz (20,203 t) in 2018, while bar and coin consumption jumped by over 20% to 181.2 Moz (5,637 t). In addition to physical investment, and in order to deal with risk and price management, silver also has a very active Over-The-Counter (OTC) market, in which (a broad rule of thumb is) that LBMA loco London volumes are approximately twice the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) published transfer numbers.
In order to estimate the global OTC volume we assume that loco London now accounts for approximately 70% of the total. Taking this into consideration, silver implied OTC transactions in 2018 increased for a sixth consecutive year, rising by 2% to 165 bn ounces (4,852,142 t). At that level, global OTC transactions are estimated to be approximately on par with the last peak recorded in 1997, the year when the LBMA started making its data publicly available. As a result of the weaker silver price last year the notional value fell 6% year-on-year to $2.6 tr. Indeed our full assessment of the impact of investment flows can be found in Chapter 3. A further element that differentiates silver from purely industrial metals is that it is held as an aboveground asset by private and institutional investors, users, dealers, banks, and other entities. Increases or decreases in these stocks (whether accumulations or sales into terminal markets) can be both price takers and price makers. Indeed, old jewelry scrap, coins and bars make up a significant part of the scrap pool (and they are arguably the truly price-sensitive elements in the whole silver market) as opposed to scrap collected from recycled electronics, for example.
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