BIG PRODUCTION DECLINES From World’s Largest Silver Producers

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by Steve St. Angelo, SRS Rocco:

In a stunning development, the world’s largest silver producing countries reported big declines in recent months.  This was surprising because the top two producers, Mexico and Peru, stated positive growth in the first two months of the year.  However, silver production from these two countries reversed this trend by declining in April and May.

While this was a significant drop in silver mine supply from the leading producers, what took place in Australia (world’s fourth largest silver producer), was quite a shocker.  Not only did Australian silver production fall precipitously, it was down a stunning 31% during the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year:

Australian Silver Production Q1 2015

As we can see, Australian silver production declined from 491 metric tons (mt) in Q1 2014, to 340 mt Q1 2015.  This was a 151 mt decline (31%) year-over-year (y.o.y.).  I tried to contact the Australian Government Department that provides the Resources & Energy Quarterly Reports on this figure, but did not receive a reply.

Often, the figures are revised.  However, I have never seen silver production figures revised more than 5-8%.  Furthermore, I went back to the site several times to see if there was a revision, or if the figure was a misprint… no change.  Here is the table from their June 2015 Quarterly Report:

Australian Silver Production Energy & Resouces June 2015

You will notice silver production started to decline in Q3 2014, but fell off a cliff in the first quarter of 2015.  Queensland, Australia suffered the largest declines, falling from 381 mt in Q2 2014, to 246 mt in Q1 2014.

Again, I am reporting the data put out by the Australian Government.  I will put out an update when their Q2 figures come out.  If they still show the 340 mt (or figure close to it), this will not be good news.

Okay, let’s look at Peru silver production.  Peru is the second largest silver producer in the world.  In the first three months of the year, Peru’s silver production was up a whopping 11%.  However, production was flat y.o.y. in April, and really declined in May.  Here is Peru’s silver production in the first five months of 2015:

Peru Silver Production 2014 vs 2015

Even though production was up 11% in the first quarter, when we factor in the large 14% decline in May, total production for the first five months was only up 42 mt or 3%.  This same trend (to a lessor extent), was also experienced in Mexico… the world’s largest silver producer.

Mexico’s silver production was up slightly during the first two months of 2015, but this all changed starting in March.  Silver mine supply from Mexico dropped 7% in March compared to the same month last year, a stunning 12% in April, and another 10% in May:

Mexico Silver Production Jan-May 2015

Which means, Mexico’s silver production is down 188 mt (6%) in the first five months of 2015, compared to the same period last year.  If we combine the figures for Mexico, Peru and Australia, this is the total decline of silver production in the first five months of the year:

Top Silver Producers Jan-May 2015

Total estimated silver production from these top producers in the world would be down from 4,704 mt (Jan-May) 2014, to 4,365 mt in 2015.  Again, I say estimated because I don’t have Q2 data for Australia.  I assumed a small build in production in the second quarter and estimated Australia’s silver production for the first five months of 2015.

If my assumption for Australia’s Q2 silver production is correct (or close), then total silver mine supply from these top producers will be down 339 mt (7%) compared to the same period last year.  This is a lot of silver…. nearly 11 million oz.

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