Indian Silver Imports Were Nearly 275 Million Ounces in 2015.
Total Global Silver Mining Supply was Approximately 850 Million Ounces in 2015
Indian silver demand has increased exponentially over the past ten years. India, however, has historically been known as a nation with a penchant for gold. Indeed, India has gold giving holidays as the yellow metal is revered for its beauty and as a store of generational wealth. Yet, the Indian government has placed import duties on gold, added a sales tax and initiated a gold monetization scheme designed to get Indians to turn in their gold to in exchange for interest bearing bonds.
While the Indian government’s anti-gold initiatives have dented official gold demand in India, black market sales and imports continue. Silver has been a direct beneficiary of the campaign against gold. Indians prize silver for its beauty and also give it as gifts. It’s not substitute for gold but it is viewed favorably.
Solar, Jewelry, Adornment and Investment Demand For Silver In India
In addition, 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 is such that it now constitutes nearly a third of annual global silver mining supply. India has virtually no operating gold mines and a small silver mining industry. As such, silver demand has to be met from imports. India’s surge in demand has not been offset by any decrease in demand elsewhere in the world. Demand for silver for investment and industrial purposes is increasing, especially in the silver coin and bar sector which, according to the Silver Institute was up nearly four fold from 2005-2015. In the first quarter of 2016, the United States Mint sold a record 15 million ounces of silver in the form of American Silver Eagle and America The Beautiful coins.
Indian Silver Imports vs. Global Silver Mining Production
To put India’s demand in context, India imported about 273 million ounces of silver in 2015. This is about a third of the approximately 850 million ounces of silver mined in the world in 2015. India’s silver demand shows no signs of abating. In January 2016, India imported 649 tons or approximately 21 million ounces of silver, which is nearly 30% more than the U.S. Mint’s record first quarter 2016 sales of silver.
Rising Silver Demand in a Country with Rising Population and Incomes
Global silver mining production is expected to decline about 9% in 2016, while Indian and world-wide silver demand is exptected to remain robust.
This article by BGASC is not, and should not be regarded as, investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular course of action.