Major Buyers Continue To Stockpile Silver As U.S. Silver Imports Surge In April

As the situation in the global financial system deteriorates, large U.S. buyers continue to stockpile silver.  How do I know this?  Well, according to the most recently released USGS data, U.S. silver imports surged even higher in April.  How much?  Let’s look at the chart below:

U.S. Silver Imports JAN-APR 2014 vs 2015

As we can see, U.S. silver imports surged to 531 metric tons (mt) in April, up from 459 mt in March.  Total U.S. silver imports in the first four months of the year are up a stunning 505 metric tons (2,035 mt) compared to the same period last year (1,530 mt).

As I mentioned in my previous article, Why Is The U.S. Importing So Much Silver?:

Well, if we look at the three major market indicators below, we can certainly see, they don’t justify an increase in silver bullion demand:

1) U.S. Industrial silver consumption continues to decline

2) U.S. Silver Eagle sales were flat year-over-year.

3) Comex silver inventories Jan-Feb net build was only 1.3 Moz

According to the recently released 2015 World Silver Survey, U.S. industrial silver fabrication continued to fall in 2014.  Total U.S. silver fabrication declined from 138 Moz in 2011, to 132.7 Moz in 2012, 127.4 Moz in 2013, and down again in 2014 to 125.4 Moz.  So, if the U.S. Q1 2015 GDP growth was only 0.2%, I would imagine U.S. industrial silver consumption also declined.

Now, if we look at the change in U.S. Silver Eagle sales… this doesn’t help us either.  The U.S. Mint sold a total of 8.5 million Silver Eagles in the first two months of 2014 and 2015.  As we can plainly see, no need for more silver at the U.S. Mint.

The data above was just for the first two months of the year, but nothing really changed in U.S. silver demand during March or April to account for 33% more silver imports.  If this trend continues, the U.S. will import over 6,000 mt of silver in 2015. 

Why is this amount significant?  Because U.S. annual silver imports ranged between 3,500-5,300 mt from 2009 to 2014, except for the surge in 2011 of 6,400 mt.  U.S. silver imports were high in 2011 due to higher industrial silver demand as well as record physical silver investment (due to silver reaching a high of $49 in May that year).

However, industrial silver consumption in the U.S. is lower this year compared to 2011 and overall physical silver investment demand is less than it was during the same period last year when Jan-Apr U.S. silver imports were only 1,530 mt vs the 2,035 mt so far this year.

Which means, some large buyers must be acquiring a great deal of silver on the HUSH-HUSH.  There has been speculation that JP Morgan is one of the big buyers.  If they are, they are buying SILVER BARS, not Silver Eagles or Maples.  I know this as my contacts in the industry tell me that none of the Authorized Dealers that they do business with have heard anything that would lead them to believe that JP Morgan is buying large lots of Silver Eagles or Maples.

So where is all this silver coming from that the U.S. is importing?  Let’s look at the chart below:

Total U.S. silver Imports April 2015

Mexico and Canada accounted for 78% (413 mt) of the total 531 mt in April.  The U.S. imported a staggering 233 mt of silver from Mexico and 180 mt from Canada.  Interestingly, the U.S. imported 36 mt of silver from South Korea and 18.5 mt from Poland.  If we go back several years, these two countries did not export any silver to the United States.  They are new (recent) sources of U.S. silver imports.  The remaining silver imports were from the typical Central and South American countries. 

While this information is from a few months ago, I would imagine U.S. silver imports will probably remain elevated or increase in June and July due to the financial turmoil stemming from the Greek “No” vote.  I will post updates when the new data is released by the USGS.

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37 Comments on "Major Buyers Continue To Stockpile Silver As U.S. Silver Imports Surge In April"

  1. canadian dirtlump | July 10, 2015 at 9:57 am |

    Good but puzzling news for stackers. The increasing question being asked by even experts, pardon me ” Experts ” is.. Where is it all coming from?

    This means either that the idea of a tight physical market is a lie ( as many trolls would say ) or that we’re getting close to the end of the line.

    I would think and hope we are getting closer to the end of the line. Either way, I’m comfortable with my stack now, so bring it on already.

    • As a fellow CDn I hear you. Tired of Harper tired of C51 let the madness begin so everything can get into the light of day
      Gods speed all

  2. Great work Steve.

    I totally agree that if JPM was piling silver, they wouldn’t do it via coins. They would do it via 100 oz bars. It just doesn’t make sense.

    I believe I read that Mexico’s silver production will be down this year by 13%, further complicating things. Any idea why? Is it the economics and silver price forcing Mexican miners to cut back?

    • Darnell,

      Mexico actually updated their April figures from 426 metric tons up to 453 mt. Normally, they don’t adjust that much this soon, but I just checked. Regardless, Peru’s May silver production is down 15%. I don’t believe Mexico will be down that much… maybe 3-5%. But, they could turn around in the next few years to show even higher production.

      Not quite sure why production declined in April. Don’t think it’s due to cost, but it might be due to drought and falling water availability.

      steve

      • So there will not be shortgage within several years even with a silver in the single digit.

  3. Steve,

    I wonder why if sales were flat YOY for silver eagles that US Mint sales for ASE’s were suddenly suspended until August? Maybe sales spiked since May, but I heard from Mike Maloney that suppliers of gold & silver have experienced depleted inventories as well. With the debt issues in Greece and Puerto Rico brewing it’s almost funny how the paper prices keep falling for PM’s despite with record global demand!

    Also, he stated that Chinese stock holders have sold gold & silver futures to cover margin calls during their stock crash since mid-June. Despite the halted ASE sales you can still get Maple Leafs, Philharmonics or rounds at lower premiums with the same purity. I’ll be waiting for the YTD sales through July to see if this matter makes anymore sense.

    • Mark,

      For the first four months of 2015, total Silver Eagle sales were 14.9 million compared to 17.7 million the same period last year. This is the time-period I am currently focused on in this article as it pertains to U.S. Silver imports Jan-Apr.

      I think the reason U.S. silver imports spiked this year is due to large buying by certain institutions or individual buyers. If we are seeing elevated U.S. silver imports in the first four months of 2015, then they may even be higher in May-June-July when the data is published.

      steve

      • I analyzed All-in sustaining cash cost per ounce based on finance reports from a couple of silver mines. It seems that prices are in range 11 – 17 dollars per ounce.
        Could someone refer to this data and tell how can it impact on supply.

  4. People in the know are aware that the fiat system will collapse this fall…thus they are aware that there will be a need for a replacement…silver.

  5. There is two other alternatives.
    1. War preparation
    2. Flood the market to smash the price.
    I hope they are both wrong.

  6. Hello,
    From your data you said “U.S. Industrial silver consumption continues to decline”
    Last time you talk about US import a lot of silver. I think on this matter and have a suggest answer:
    Weather US is prepare for WW3 or not. Laser weapon will be a new trend. I suspect US is import
    silver to manufacture this weapon. If my suspect is real silver demand will be very very high.
    Therefore bullion banks must press silver to a very low price in order to accumulate enough silver
    before this kind of news come to public.

    • There is no doubt the large industrial users want the silver price to stay low, and have been involved or complicit in keeping their price of purchase down. Who knows how much is military demand, or for what purposes?

      Silver’s triple role as money for thousands of years [related to current investor demand], Jewelry for about as long, and it’s much more recent history as an industrial metal, will deplete it thoroughly in the future years.

      It is the big corporations [industrial and banking], in league with the government[s] they control, that are suppressing the physical price for as long as they can. They say silver is a bad thing for an investor to accumulate, but they know the supply is very tight and increased purchase demand will create profound shortages and make the price go up.

  7. Silvrwillwin | July 10, 2015 at 7:02 pm |

    There seems to be something missing in the United States which has to be in place in order for it’s citizens to be able to realize the importance of individual freedom. This has to do with moving forward , not about today or yesterday. Greece is in the middle of that very reality right now. They are in the throes of ripping away from the central banks , IMF , and governmental grip. It isn’t going to happen without unity from the people. Austerity is a form of slavery . Relying on the debt laden chains and shackles accomplishes but one thing , a slow death to the imagination of an individual , a true crime !
    If only the population would gather physical silver in a worthwhile sum and then in unison turned their backs to the big groups that desire them for their slaves , only then would there be any chance for real freedom. One can only that the American people heed the warning signs being sent out by Greece.

  8. Do not worry about lasers! With Obama and Putin feuding, Putin will launch (1) EMP. That will fry all electronics, power grids, cars etc. Have a nice day.

  9. Silvrwillwin | July 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm |

    I would think that industry would see the writing on the wall regarding future scarcity of physical silver supplies due to how the paper silver has done such a great job of smashing any real physical price .
    This is primarily why the CFTC should have done their job right in the first place but failed to.
    Mines are cutting back and even closing up. Better buy some now Intel and the like before it’s all gone …and hey ( ! ) …physical silver’s prices couldn’t be better right now too !

  10. If JPM is accumulating physical silver they will buy whatever they can get their hands on including coins. The physical silver market is getting tighter by the day and that is most especially true for large quantities. One thing is for sure if JPM is behind the massive silver eagle purchases they would not do so directly but through a number of proxies who can’t be linked to JPM. They know better than anyone what is coming and at this point they are buying everything they can get their hands on and the last thing that will stop them is a couple dollar premium for silver eagles.

    • I somewhat agree. I think it is very unlikely that JPM is buying silver eagles from Authorized dealers. I cant believe they need to go that route. I think JPM is buying silver eagles directly from US Mint and would need no proxy for that.

      • I agree that JPM is accumulating from all their sources : Intl., the SLV ETF they run, and from the mint directly as the volumes of Mintage has increased while the retail market has been slow for quite some time. Ted Butler believes they have hoarded over 350 M ozs.

  11. If a big bank like JPM were buying up large amounts of silver couldn’t they use that as collateral to sell 10 or 20 times (due to fractional reserve banking) the paper contracts on the futures market to drive the price down??

    • Their accumulations being talked about are outside of the COMEX and ETF’s. It is their personal physical stockpiles they will make earnings on later when the price goes up. Might they sell it to industry? Yes. Might they sell a bunch of physical for fiat currency to suppress price? Yes. Whatever they do it will be for profit. They aren’t starting another ETF with that stockpile.

  12. silverfreaky | July 11, 2015 at 3:55 am |

    I don’t understand this:We have to big partys East and West.
    The silver market is so small, that it would even for russia be very easy to corner the market.
    That russia and the usa are not the best friends, most of you would probably agree.

    This simple statements leads to the conclusion that the leader of the big countries work all together to benefit from the actual debt money system.A system that creates money out of thin air and helps to accumulate more and more money when you sit at the sunny side of the road.

    The USA itself shows us the Paradoxon very strong, where the different between rich and poor grow more and more.
    Once there where the slogan in the USA:”You have to work hard and then you have a good life”.

    And today.A total dependence from th FED.But the FED do not serve the real economy, they serve the big major.

    Once i read Kennedy was murded because he wants to bring back the ruling of the money system
    to the government.

    I don’t know if it is true.A housekeeper of the Kennedys said many years later that he heared his father saying:”When you do that they will kill you”.It was some month before they shot him.

    By the way did everyboy know how much derivates the USA-banks has placed again a falling €.
    I’am relative shure that Obama call Chancler merkel not to finish the €.

    What i tried to say is that fundamental datas are no more valid.With money you can manipulate everything.

    • You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignorig reality.

    • Kennedy was assassinated by Murder, Inc. of the Jewish Mafia assisted by Lyndon Johnson and Jackie Kennedy all of whom wanted him dead. When Castro took over Cuba and ran out the Mafia, Kennedy was ordered by those who put him in office to get rid of Castro and put all of Cuba back into the hands of Mafia. You know about Bay of Pigs followed by Russian protection of Cuba. Kennedy backed down In the May standoff with USSR and agreed to no US military intervention in Cuba ever leaving only the futile embargo that failed. So, Mafia gave the “kiss of death”. Lyndon & Jackie set him up. Lone gunman did the hit but not the one accused. Lee Harvey Oswald was an innocent nobody used for the cover-up. That’s the true story. Has nothing to do with silver. Just thought “silverfreaky” would like to know.

  13. Tom Collins | July 11, 2015 at 4:09 am |

    If the ECB can loan another 70 Billion Euros to Greece, who already owe some 350 Billion, then, there’s a story in there, somewhere! The euro is a doomed currency and we all know about the fiat dollar. PMs will be the only game in town!

  14. silverfreaky | July 11, 2015 at 4:23 am |

    You miss one point.Only when there is inflation.In a snow ball system you can with low interest rate make debts to the moon.Look to the FED or the ECB.

    The debts from the european south are at the ECB.A central bank can not break down.
    The only limit factor is the inflation.

  15. Tom Collins | July 11, 2015 at 6:11 am |

    What goes up, must come down, and vice versa! America owes around $20 Trillion but the Derivatives swamp that figure. China and Russia have the gold (and silver). What does America and Europe have – very little. If you keep printing money something will have to give. Interest rates WILL rise and then? I believe that the Day of Reckoning can’t ‘be that far off.

  16. silverfreaky | July 11, 2015 at 7:12 am |

    We have different times to history.The world economy doesn’t grow anymore.The interest rate can not go up.
    Think about the USA.A little bit more interest rate and the USA is broken.The debts are to high to raise interest rate.They will do it a little bit for cosmetic.

    So they drive the economy in slow motion down.This will not work endless.But maybe longer then some silver bugs believe.

    The fault I made was that i thought all this money goes to the economy.This money is only for bank bilances and debts.

    When the politician can handle the inflation the PM -owner are the loser.I’am not a basher because i bought enough silver.But this is my experience i made in the last time.
    Why should i lie to myself?

    The system crash maybe happens because of the ketchup effect .When you want to knock out some ketchup out of a bottle, first 3 hits happens nothing.At the fourth hit it’s possible that nearly the whole bottle content is out.

    This is the only danger.But in the moment every where is recession.
    bottle

  17. silverfreaky | July 11, 2015 at 7:40 am |

    Funny!

  18. Silvrwillwin | July 12, 2015 at 9:59 am |

    Rome fell in 1 day.

  19. Have we got to the point when the ‘Silver Squelchers’ have finally squelched all the silver they needed to out of the system and are now changing direction?

    • Their greed probably has no end, so they will continue what works for short, medium, and long-term profit.

  20. silverfreaky | July 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm |

    http://traderdan.com/?p=5746

    Here is the right analysis.Silver needs Inflation.What did i told you?When china struggles you have the next 10% down.And it looks like that, when not soon some will boost the chinese market.

    The charts how many coins are selled says nothing.PM are good in high phases in recession times it’s money burning at his best.Mark my words.

  21. silverfreaky | July 12, 2015 at 2:10 pm |

    Obama must make a new QE-programm then we can hope for the ketchup-effect.
    That’s what silver and gold needs.Not recession and depression around each corner.

  22. silverfreaky | July 13, 2015 at 2:51 am |

    What did i say?All debts will be bought by the ECB.This is a snowball-system.
    Same story like the FED.

  23. James Cougan | July 13, 2015 at 5:01 am |

    I wonder what’s your opinion on this:

    http://www.senderoblog.com/the-end-is-nigh/

    I’m fed up with all the fearmongering that there’s everywhere about the collapse, but at the same time looks like an eroi driven global crises is unavoidable, and just take a look at the world’s energy consumption historical data, it’s a clear exponential curve and we’re going vertical…

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