Koos Jansen
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Koos Jansen
Posted on 26 Jan 2015 by

India Silver Import 2014 At 7,063 Tonnes, Up 15 %

India’s customs department, the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCIS), just released the QUICK ESTIMATES FOR SELECTED MAJOR COMMODITIES for December 2014. According to DGCIS the figures for December are provisional and subject to change, however, I’ve been tracking these quick estimates for months and they are reasonably accurate – compared to the official numbers that lag a few months.

In December India imported $182.31 million in silver; divided by an average price of $16.3 an ounce this accounts for 11,188,095 ounces, or 348 tonnes, down 72 % from 1,254 tonnes in November. The total gross amount of silver imported in 2014 accounted for a whopping 7,063 tonnes, up 15 % from the shocking 6,125 tonnes in 2013. As far as my data goes back (2009) net silver import 2014, 7,055 tonnes, is a record.

Bullion Bulletin released a report in 2014, called An Empirical Study Of Silver Markets In India. In the intro it states:

Why has the silver import into India increased in 2013? We started talking to the industry. We could identify two causes – investment demand and jewelry demand. Investment demand was largely due to demand switch from gold and relative attractiveness of silver to gold.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.30.32 AM
Courtesy of Bullion Bulletin

The quick estimates do not disclose any silver export; the official numbers do, but these are negligible as we can see in the next chart.

India Silver Import December 2014

India Yearly Net Silver Import 2009 - 2014

Note, the previous charts are build from numbers on silver as disclosed by the DGCIS, I do not know how much silver is exported in the form of jewelry or silverware. There are numbers available about the value of silver jewelry exports from India, published by the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), however these values can capture fabrication costs, gems and other precious metals. There for I don’t feel comfortable deriving exported silver tonnage from GJEPC data.

According to Bullion Bulletin total silver demand in India has been strong in recent years, 3,381 tonnes in 2010, 5,519 tonnes in 2011, 3,890 tonnes in 2012 and 5,822 in 2013. This demonstrates little silver import, as disclosed by DGCIS, is exported in the form of jewelry, silverware or industrial products.

Large inflows of silver into India are often supplied by the UK; we can see a clear pattern if we compare India gross import with UK net export to India.

India vs UK Monthly Silver Trade 2009 - 2014
Eurostat has not yet released any data from December 2014

Meaning the UK, the London Bullion Market, is drained from silver by the East just like it’s drained from gold by the East. I don’t see any silver shortages in the near term in the UK, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

Koos Jansen
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  • rowingboat

    there’s a massive difference between silver and gold, and that is the UK continues to be a net importer of silver. Silver stocks in London would have hit a new record in 2014, while gold holdings (2001-12 net imports) have declined by about one-third in 2013/14. Hence silver’s poor price performance vs gold in recent years.

    • KoosJansen

      Exactly, the UK is a net importer. However, did you compare the monthly tonnage of 2009 disclosed by Eurostat to the tonnage calculated from the value disclosed by Eurostat? LARGE discrepancies!

      • rowingboat

        Do you mean silver and what kind of differences between tonnage & value are we talking about? (I have computer/access issues this week so can’t check the silver data).

        Rather than a “discrepancy” it could reflect something fundamental happening. E.g. in % terms, gold had a great run from late 2005 to mid 2006 and the UK imported 1700mt gross in 2006… 837mt from Germany! When I convert to fine form, imports were “only” 791mt that year, still a record at that time. Could this price run have enticed so much impure gold to move to London, and why to London not Swiss refineries (with Germany also having one of the world’s largest refineries)?
        Net imports to Switzerland+UK were their greatest in 2009, presumably due to QE and investors pulling so much gold into these countries. Could this have induced a lot of impure silver to move to London like 2006 for gold? In the GFC a plethora of gold shops opened around Australia for people to sell their jewelry, which were presumably melted making their way to London/Switzerland.

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