India and Silver

Silver In India.

Indian Silver Demand.

Silver is India’s “second metal” after gold.

Investment and industrial silver demand are on the rise in India.

Update: India Imports 1,542 Tons of Silver in May 2015 (see charts below)

Update: India Imports 662 Tons of Silver in June 2015 up 94% year over year.(see charts below)

Update: September 10, 2015: India Imports 1,400 tons of Silver in August.

Silver and India

Images: CanStockPhoto

Silver in India.

Much of the press regarding India and precious metals has focused on Indian gold demand and the status of import restrictions in India. Indian silver demand, however, is strong and perhaps has benefited from the gold import restrictions.

While there may be no substitute for gold, silver is often considered the next best thing as a monetary asset or for jewerlry and adornment. When gold is too expensive or hard to get, many, including Indians, look to silver.

India’s prodigious gold consumption is legendary. In 2013 Indians bought 22 million ounces of gold, remarkable for a country that has almost no domestic gold mining production. Indians bought an impressive 90 million ounces of silver in 2013 for a silver to gold sales ratio of about 4.1:1.

While silver is not revered like gold in India, there is a strong tradition of use and demand for silver in jewlery, silverware, coinage, adornments, fabrics and industry.

Indian Silver Demand

Indian Silver Demand and Uses 1975-2014

indian silver demand

A good portion of Indian silver demand comes from silverware (which includes silver coins for investment) and jewelry.


Indian silver tea set.

Global Silver Demand

Global Silver Demand chart

India is the third largest consumer of silver in the world behind China and the United States.

indian water jug

Indian silver water jug and cup.

India’s Explosive Population and Per Capital Income Growth

More Indians with more money to buy more silver

With a rising population and increasing income, India is set to start consuming a greater percentage of the world’s silver in the coming years.

Indian population and per capital income shown in chart from 2005-2013

From 2005-2013 India’s population grew 11% (from 1.127 billion to 1.252 billion) and income per capita exploded 81% (from $2,860 to $5,238) during the same period.

Poverty has been reduced the past twenty years from 45.43% of the population in 1994 to just 21.9% in 2012.

Indian population and income source: World Bank

India Durgiana Hindu Temple. Detail of ornate silver panels

Indian Durgiana Hindu Temple. Detail of ornate silver panels.

While Indians have more money than they’ve ever had, gold is still very expensive. Silver in contrast is cheap. Here why Indians are buying silver.

Silver for Personal Use


According to CPM Group demand for silver for jewelry has remained constant at around 20 million ounces a year from 2011-2014. Silver demand for silverware has averaged around 18 million ounces during the same time period. In contrast, United States silver demand for silverware during 2011-2014 averaged about three million ounces and about seven million ounces for jewelry. Chinese silver demand for jewerly was nearly 50 million ounces in 2013.

silver plate

Indian silver plate.


According to CPM Group, Indians bought an estimated 25.7 million ounces of silver for investment purposes in 2013. For a country with India’s population (3X that of the United States), silver investment demand is relatively small considering the United States Mint sold over 40 million one ounce American Silver Eagle coins in 2013.


Silver is woven into fabric in India. Jari is a textile made from threads of silver and gold. Jari is used the making of sarees, suits, bridal wear and other clothing for special occasions. Indian silver demand for Jari has averaged about two million ounces the past few years.

silver and gold jari

Indian silver and gold jari.

Silver for Industrial Use

Industrial use for silver is projected by the Silver Institute to reach 680 million ounces by 2018. Indian industrial demand will form a large part of that demand.


India’s silver demand for electronics has nearly doubled from 8 million ounces in 2005 to an estimated 15.5 million ounces in 2014.

Solar energy

Chinese solar demand according the CPM Group has grown from 200,000 ounces in 2004 to a projected 44.7 million ounces in 2014. India is following the same trajectory with respect to silver demand for solar panels. India has announced plans to build the world’s largest solar plant. It’s estimated that this plant alone will boost silver demand by 20 million ounces a year.

Rajastan, india site of the world's largest solar power plant

Rajastan in Northern India will host the world’s largest solar plant.

Indian Silver Imports

Most of India’s silver demand is satisfied by imports. Much of the silver heading to India is sourced via Switzerland often originating from the United Kingdom.

Indian silver imports from Switzerland

India is Switzerland’s largest silver export partner.

Silver imports to India surged in 2014 to nearly one quarter of the global annual mining silver supply.

Indian Silver Imports 2009-2014

indian silver imports

Indian silver imports 2009-2014.

Chart courtesy of Koos Jansen of Bullion Star

Click here for updated Indian Silver Imports Chart

Indian Silver Imports UPDATE

Strong silver imports during the first nine months of 2015 have India on pace for a record year.

indian silver imports 2008-2015

Indian silver imports 2008-2015.

Click here for updated Indian Silver Imports Chart

Indian Silver Mining Production

India has virtually no gold mining production but does have a modest silver mining industry. The 75th largest silver mine in the world is in India and produces about two million ounces annually.

indian silver production

India has boosted its silver production in recent years to about ten million ounces annually.

Indian Silver Scrap Production

A small portion of India’s silver demand is satisfied by recycled silver.

Indian Silver Scrap Prodution 1977-2014

indian silver scrap production

India’s silver scrap production has declined in recent years.


Indian silver rosewater sprayer and perfume holder.

Indian Silver Reserves

India is one of the few countries that still maintain strategic silver reserves.

Indian Silver Reserves 1993-2013

indian silver reserves chart

Indian silver reserves have declined to a near insignificant amount in recent years.


Indian God Ganesha

Silver vs the Indian Rupee

Indian rupee

Silver vs the Indian Rupee has declined steadily since 2011.

What’s next for India and silver?

Indian Silver Jari

Indian Silver Jari.

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Charts: All charts, unless otherwise noted produced for Smaulgld, by Nick Laird of Sharelynx – The Gold Standard in Precious Metals Charts
Images: Indian Durgiana Hindu Temple, Indian silver and gold jari and Rajistan, Can Stock Photo. Indian silver items from the private collection of a friend.
Silver data: CPM Silver Year Book 2014

Further Reading:

India and Gold

Silver Supply and Demand

Gold and Silver Price Manipulation – Suspected

Gold and Silver Price Manipulation – Actual

How to Buy Silver

Silver vs. the Dollar

Silver vs the Dow

Silver and Gold Short Positions on Comex

Short Interest of Traders September 30, 2014

Short Interest of Traders July 29, 2014

12 Ways Silver Is Different Than Gold

China Hoards Most of its Silver Production

Royal Canadian Mint

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