US Mint Postpones Silver Coin Pre-Orders amid Global Silver Shortage
The comments below are an edited and abridged synopsis of an article by Virgilio Marin
The US Mint delayed pre-sales of its non-circulating silver coins amid a global silver shortage. In a statement on May 27, the Mint said that its supply of silver blanks is not able to keep up with the demand for its coins.
Silver demand has been rising after a decline last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in May, silver spot prices increased by 74% from a year ago, outperforming gold, which rose only by 6.4% in a year.
The Mint said that huge demand drove an extraordinary volume of traffic to its website during the pre-order window for the 2021 Carson City Morgan dollar and the 2021 New Orleans Morgan dollar. This caused the website to crash, and many customers were unable to complete their transactions.
The Mint postponed the pre-order launch dates of June 1 and June 7 for the four remaining 2021 Morgan and Peace silver dollars to fix the glitch. It will announce revised pre-order launch dates as soon as possible. It added that not everyone will be able to purchase silver coins this season because the demand remains greater than the supply.
Industrial and investor demand for silver shows no signs of waning
The Silver Institute forecasts that silver demand for printed and flexible electronics will increase by 5% over the next 10 years. It estimates that demand for silver will increase from a predicted 48 million oz this year to 74 million oz in 2030.
In total, the printed and flexible electronics industry will consume 615 million oz of silver this decade.
Investor demand for silver will also remain high, due in part to inflation concerns. Precious metals such as gold are seen as hedges against rising prices of consumer goods and a decreasing dollar. And while silver is not as stable an inflation hedge as gold, the metal tends to track with the latter over time.
Silver also stands to benefit from the reopening of the global economy due to an increase in industrial production and maintained investment demand.
The pandemic resulted in decreasing US real interest rates and a shift in allocations out of wealth and household savings into gold and silver. This more than offset the weakness in industrial consumption, and continues to do so.