Throughout history, silver bullion has served mankind as a primary monetary metal. It is durable, divisible, convenient, has utility value, and cannot be created by fiat.
However, unlike its fellow monetary metal—gold—silver is most commonly used today as an industrial commodity. Industrial demand for silver has grown consistently for the past three decades because of silver's many unique properties, including its strength, malleability, and ductility...its unparalleled electrical and thermal conductivity...its sensitivity to and high reflectance of light...and its ability to endure extreme temperature ranges.
In addition to its industrial uses and qualities, silver is also used in numerous health care products because of the unique antibacterial characteristics that it possesses. The "Silver Bullet" is used by hospitals to prevent bacterial infections in burn victims. Wound dressings and other wound care products incorporate a layer of fabric containing silver for prevention of secondary infections. In a world that is showing increasing concern about the spreading of disease and potential pandemics, silver is increasingly being tapped for its microbicidal qualities.
It is estimated that more than 95% of all the silver ever mined throughout history has already been consumed by industrial use. That silver is gone forever, unrecoverable at any price. In 1900, there were approximately 12 billion ounces of silver in the world. Today, according to The Silver Institute's ''World Silver Survey 2013,'' identifiable silver bullion stocks worldwide (not including bullion held in depositories on which information is not available, or in private investor vaults) totaled just 1.366 billion ounces at the end of 2012.
Anyone who follows world headlines is certainly aware of increasing and ever-present geopolitical instability. This, combined with the evolving macroeconomic landscape, can be viewed as bullish catalysts for the silver market. Silver's historic role as a store of value and investment, and its increasing demand in an environment where growing industrial use exceeds available new supplies, further suggest a bullish trend for this versatile metal.
Some of the world's leading financial analysts believe that silver is one of the world's most important commodities, with unparalleled investment opportunity for the future. Silver's unique properties, which make it ideal and essential for global industry, create a situation where there is simply no substitute. In addition, silver prices at times have been extremely volatile, making silver an attractive investment and trading vehicle.