Silver Prices Over the Last 10 Years: What Investors Should Know
Where precious metals are concerned, gold usually steals most of the attention. However, people have used silver as a form of money for more than 4,000 years, and it’s made a name for itself as one of the most popular safe-haven assets.
Investing in this lustrous metal does come with some turbulence, though, as the market is notoriously more volatile than it is for its denser yellow sibling. This is attributed to a few different factors:
- Silver has a smaller market.
- Silver has lower market liquidity.
- The industrial demand fluctuates widely, as does the store of value.
Read on to find out how the price of silver has changed from 2011 to 2021.
The Price of Silver: A 10-Year Timeline
“Notoriously volatile” is accurate indeed. Here is how the price of silver has risen and fallen throughout the past decade.
2011: Silver at Its Peak
Ten years ago, silver was in its heyday. Peaking at $48.58 per ounce, 2011 marked the highest price of the last decade.
The rise in price had much to do with the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis, which resulted in a hit to consumer confidence, the federal government’s credit rating and the country’s economic recovery from the Great Recession.
2012: Fluctuating Price, High Demand
By the start of 2012, the price of silver had fallen by more than $20 per ounce. The price fluctuated heavily throughout the remainder of the year. The demand for silver, on the other hand, reached a new high after its brief fall in the year prior.
2013: A Colossal Decline
This year marked the beginning of a steady four-year decline in the price of silver. Up until 2013, silver saw 12 consecutive successful years. However, in that year silver’s price fell by more than $10, moving from $30 per ounce to below $20 — a colossal 36% decrease.
This drop paralleled that of gold, as both precious metals took a plunge during two days in April due to worries about an imminent change in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.
2014: Soaring Interest Rates
Due to the Federal Reserve tapering bond buying in 2013, the interest rates for silver increased throughout the following year. This contributed to a steady decline in the precious metal’s price.
2015: A Steady Fall
Although investment forecasters such as Commerzbank, HSBC, Citi Research and TD Securities predicted silver would make a mighty return in 2015, their wishes went unfulfilled.
Instead, the price continued to decline, albeit at a slower rate. The relatively minor fluctuations all stayed within $4.
2016: A New Low
Unable to foresee the catastrophic events waiting for them in 2020, investors thought they had encountered the lowest possible price for silver in 2016. At its lowest, the price sat at less than $14 per ounce. However, with the dropping oil prices and falling stock market, some investors headed for precious metals such as silver as a safety play.
2017: Record-Setting Demand
This was a steady-going year for silver prices. The price fluctuated often, but never more than a few dollars. At its highest, the price was slightly above $18. At its lowest, the price was close to $16.
Despite this stability, the demand for silver grew in 2017 due to the role the metal played in the major industry sectors contributing to the ongoing shift from fossil fuels to green technologies, such as automotive and solar. The demand hit a record-setting 92 million ounces. At the same time, overall coin demand nearly halved in 2017, while the global mine supply dropped for the first time since 2003.
2018: Ups and Downs
Halfway through 2018, the price of silver took a dive. Between June and September, the price fell from nearly $17 to just over $14. Before and after this volatile period, the price remained steady.
2019: A Stable Year
Although silver prices stabilized in the range of $14 to $16 per ounce for the first half of 2019, they reached close to $20 shortly thereafter.
2020: A Surprising Uptick
The unforeseen events of 2020 wrought havoc on numerous markets, yet silver rose by almost 50%. That’s not saying much, though, as the price had dropped to its lowest point of the decade due to COVID-19’s initial impact: a meager $11.74 per ounce.
Midway through the tumultuous year, the volatile price shot up at an alarming rate, eventually reaching a peak of just over $28, the highest it had been in seven years.
2021: Sights Set on Silver
In the world of investments, this year certainly started with a bang. The skyrocketing price of GameStop shares stole headlines throughout January. Suddenly, retail investors around the globe began to pay closer attention to the stock market. As some of the GameStop hype wore off, they briefly set their sights on silver, spurred on by a Reddit message board.
On the first day of February, the price of silver jumped up 11.5% in early trading — its highest level in over eight years. This surge led to a retail buying binge, with many silver retailers selling out or experiencing backed-up orders.
As of April 2021, the price of silver stands at $25.47 per ounce. As far as the rest of the year? Some institutional investors expect silver to outperform gold in 2021.
How Shiny Is the Future of Silver?
Unfortunately, a slow economic recovery paired with high unemployment rates will likely translate into decreased demand for the industrial, jewelry and silverware sectors.
However, the popular online forecasting resource Wallet Investor predicts a long-term increase in the price of silver, suggesting that it will bounce back to over $31 per ounce by March of 2023 and more than $40 by March of 2026. Overall, it categorizes silver as a good long-term investment.
If you’re considering investing in silver, familiarize yourself with the stock and commodities exchange before making any moves. When you’re ready to begin, opt for small quantities of premium-grade silver as opposed to large quantities of a lower grade.
Data is accurate as of April 8, 2021, and is subject to change.
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- SilverPrice.org. "10 Year Silver Price History in US Dollars per Ounce."
- U.S. Money Reserve. "Silver Prices Today & Silver Price History."
- JM Bullion. "Silver Spot Price & Charts."
- The Silver Institute. 2018. "2018 Silver Market Trends."
- Wallet Investor. "Silver Forecast, Silver Price Prediction."