Keith Neumeyer serves as CEO of First Majestic Silver Corp. The company ranks as the second largest silver producer in Mexico – the world’s leading country in silver production. Neumeyer told Bloomberg a major Japanese electronics maker approached the company last month seeking to lock in future silver stock.
This is a sign that supply concerns could significantly boost the price of the white metal – perhaps as much as nine-fold:
“For an electronics manufacturer to come directly to us — that tells me something is changing in the market I think we’ll see three-digit silver.”
Neumeyer said he believes the price of silver could surge to $140 per ounce as early as 2019.
Increasing demand and rapidly shrinking supply led to a third straight annual silver deficit last year. Demand set a record in 2015, while mine production growth slowed to 2%. Scrap sales were also weak. As a result, the gap between silver supply and demand was 60% larger than in 2014.
Silver has actually outperformed gold so far in 2016. As of publication of this article, the white metal was up nearly 18% from Jan. 1.
According to Bloomberg, industrial demand for silver will grow significantly over the next few years:
“Industrial demand is set to increase, driven by rising incomes and growing penetration of technology in populous, developing nations, as well as thanks to new uses being found for silver’s anti-bacterial and reflective properties in everything from hospital paints to Band-Aids to windows.”
The boom in electronics is helping drive demand for silver. Analysts predict that by 2020, there will be a billion more smart phones and tablets in China and India alone. Neumeyer says the demand will continue to outstrip supply, putting upward pressure on the price.
“Over the next 10 or 20 years, more and more people are going to be using these devices, and silver is a very limited commodity. There’s just not a lot of it around.”
Investor demand for silver is also robust. The US Mint has been selling American Silver Eagles at a torrid pace. The mint sold over 4 million of the silver bullion coins in April. That compares with 2.8 million American Eagles sold during the same month of 2015.
Neumeyer said the silver rally over the last few months is just the start.
“What we’ve seen in the last two months is just the beginning of the next bull market.”