Looking ahead, the ongoing negative interest rate environment, with European and Japanese central banks cutting benchmark rates deeper into the red to promote growth, could push investors toward precious metals as a more stable store of wealth.

Importantly, silver production is declining.

“In fact, production from silver mines peaked in 2015, according to GFMS Thompson Reuters. And it should keep going down,” reports ETF Daily News. “Silver is an industrial metal as well as a precious metal. Industrial fabrication makes up about 50% of silver demand each year, vs. less than 10% for gold demand. Silver is used for all sorts of things, from wiring in cell phones to chemical reagents to the paste used in solar cells.”

For more information on the silver market, visit our silver category.