India is a Voracious Consumer of Silver.
India is well-known for its love of gold. Less is known, however, of India’s other love affair with silver. Indian silver demand has increased exponentially over the past ten years.
Indian Silver Imports are up 35% year over year through July.
Indian silver imports through July were 2,972 tons or approximately 95,500,000 ounces up from 2,201 tons or approximately 70,775,000 ounces in 2016 during the same time period. During record year 2015, nearly 275 million ounces of silver were imported into India.
Solar, Jewelry and Investment Drive Silver Demand in India
Silver is prized in India as an industrial metal that helps fuel its growing solar industry. Silver is also valued as for jewerly, as decorative metal and to a lesser extent as an investment metal. Indians prize silver for its beauty and also give it as gifts. It’s not substitute for gold but it is viewed favorably.
There are many solar energy projects under way in India that require silver for the construction of solar panels. India’s silver requirements for its solar industry are estimated to be in the tens of millions of ounces a year. Indians also purchase tens of millions of ounces in the form of jewelry, silverware and silver coins and bars.
Overall demand for silver in India in recent years has reached as high as 30% of annual global silver mining supply. India has virtually no operating gold mines and a small silver mining industry. As such, silver demand, like its gold demand has to be met largely from imports.
Indian Silver Imports vs. Global Silver Mining Production and American Silver Eagles
To put India’s demand in context, India is projected to import about 165 million ounces of silver in 2017. Total annual global silver mining product is expected to be about 825 million ounces. Indian silver demand therefore will constitute about 20% of overall silver demand in 2017.
To date, India has already imported more than twice as much silver as it took to mint the record 47 million American Silver Eagles sold in 2015.
This article by BGASC is not, and should not be regarded as, investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular course of action.