|Tick Size||$0.005 per troy ounce ($25.00 per contract) (Settlement $0.001)|
|Daily Limit||10% above or below previous settlement|
|Contract Size||5,000 troy ounces|
|Months||Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Dec (H, K, N, U, Z)|
|Trading Hours||5:00p.m. - 4:00p.m. (Sun-Fri) (RTH 7:25a.m. - 12:25p.m.) (Settles 12:25p.m.) CST|
|Value of One Futures Unit||$5,000|
|Value of One Options Unit||$5,000|
|Last Trading Day||Third last business day before the maturing delivery month|
Silver is a white, lustrous metallic element that conducts heat and electricity better than any other metal. In ancient times, many silver deposits were near the earth's surface. Before 2,500 BC, silver mines were worked in Asia Minor. Around 700 BC, ancient Greeks stamped a turtle on their first silver coins. Silver assumed a key role in the U.S. monetary system in 1792 when Congress based the currency on the silver dollar. However, the U.S. discontinued the use of silver in coinage in 1965. Today Mexico is the only country that uses silver in its circulating coinage.
Silver is the most malleable and ductile of all metals, apart from gold. Silver melts at about 962 degrees Celsius and boils at about 2212 degrees Celsius. Silver is not very chemically active, although tarnishing occurs when sulfur and sulfides attack silver, forming silver sulfide on the surface of the metal. Because silver is too soft in its pure form, a hardening agent, usually copper, is mixed into the silver. Copper is usually used as the hardening agent because it does not discolor the silver. The term "sterling silver" refers to silver that contains at least 925 parts of silver per thousand (92.5%) to 75 parts of copper (7.5%).
Silver is usually found combined with other elements in minerals and ores. In the U.S., silver is mined in conjunction with lead, copper, and zinc. In the U.S., Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, and Arizona are the leading silver-producing states. For industrial purposes, silver is used for photography, electrical appliances, glass, and as an antibacterial agent for the health industry.
Silver futures and options are traded at the CME Group and the London Metal Exchange (LME). Silver futures are traded on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM). The CME silver futures contract calls for the delivery of 5,000 troy ounces of silver (0.999 fineness) and is priced in terms of dollars and cents per troy ounce.
Prices - CME silver futures prices (Barchart.com symbol SI) rallied through Q1 of 2022 and posted a 1-1/2 year high of $27.32 per troy ounce in March. Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February sparked a surge of safe-haven demand for precious metals. Also, global supply concerns pushed silver prices higher as many countries stopped imports of Russian goods and commodities. In 2021, Russia was the world's fifth-largest silver producer. Silver prices trended lower into Q3 and posted a 2-1/2 year low in August of $17.32 per troy ounce. The Federal Reserve's aggressive 4.25 percentage point hike in interest rates in 2022 sparked a rally in the dollar to a 20-year high, which undercut silver prices. Also, other major central banks tightened their monetary policies, fueling concern that global industrial metals demand would decline as economic growth slowed. However, silver prices rebounded into year-end after China abruptly ended its Covid restrictions, which bolstered expectations the reopening of its economy would lead to an acceleration of Chinese economic growth and industrial metals demand. Silver prices finished 2022 up by +2.3% yr/yr at $23.86 per troy ounce.
Supply - World mine production of silver in 2022 rose by +4.0% yr/yr to 26,000 metric tons, down from the 2016 record high of 28,600. The world's largest mine producers in 2022 were Mexico with 24.2% of world production, China with 13.8%, Peru with 11.9%, Chile with 6.2%, Poland with 5.0%, Russia with 4.6%, and the U.S. with 4.2%. U.S. production of refined silver in 2021 fell by -8.1% yr/yr to 6,242 metric tons.
Trade - U.S. imports of silver bullion in 2021 fell by -9.9% yr/yr to a record 5,235 metric tons. The bulk of U.S. silver imports come from Mexico and Canada.
Information on commodities is courtesy of the CRB Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the Barchart product line. Please visit us for all of your commodity data needs.