Imports of Silver to India Fall in February.
Indian Jeweler Strike Curbs Demand.
Indian Silver Import Update
Last year we released a survey of India and Silver that covered supply and demand in that country. We noted that silver was India’s second metal to gold. Since we produced that report, Indian silver imports have surged.
Indian silver imports rose 20% in 2015 from 2014. January’s imports of silver were up down 6.9% from January 2015. In February, however, silver imports slid 63.4% from February 2015. February 2016 silver imports to India were just 82 tons compared to 224 tons in February 2015 and 649 tons in January 2016.
Silver imports were negatively impacted by a nationwide jewel strike began as a protest against the Indian government’s institution of a sales tax on gold.
Annual Indian Silver Imports
Monthly Indian Silver Imports
The Indian silver charts are derived from data pulled from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India by Nick Laird of Sharelynx and are updated monthly and archived on Smaulgld.com.
Indian Silver Imports vs. Global Silver Mining Production
Silver miners increased production in 2015. Their efforts however, were not enough to meet demand, much of the increased demand coming from India (the other from sovereign mint coin and privately minted silver bar and round demand).
Mexico’s silver mining production in 2015 was 189.5 million ounces up 1.7% from 2015. Peru’s silver mining production increased 10.6% in 2015 to 135.9 million ounces.
Rounding out the top twenty silver mining countries in 2015 were (in order from 11-20) Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Canada, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, Dominican Republic and Armenia.
To put India’s silver imports in context, the 8,506 tons of silver imported into India in 2015 or 273 million ounces is about a third of the approximately 870 million ounces of silver mined in the world in 2015. While India imports silver from various nations, the 273 million ounces imported in 2015 is the equivalent of the entire production of Mexico, the world’s leading silver mining country, AND the entire output of the fourth largest silver mining country, Australia.
China is the third largest silver mining country in the world and retains nearly all of their mining production. Therefore, the total global silver mining supply available to India and the rest of the word is not the 870 million ounces global mining supply estimate of the Silver Institute, but something closer to 750 million ounces.
Indian Silver Imports vs. American Silver Eagle Coin Sales
In the first quarter of 2016, the United States Mint set a record for the most American Silver Eagle coins eagles ever sold in a quarter. The U.S. Mint sold 14,842,500 American Silver Eagles in the first quarter of 2016. In January 2016 alone India imported nearly 21 million ounces of silver.
With silver mining production expected to decline nearly 10% in 2016, and Indian demand expected to remain robust, we may finally see the impact of a silver supply demand deficit on the price of silver, especially if silver coin, round and bar demand in the United States, Canada, Australian and Europe continue to surge.
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