India's silver imports exploded during the first half of 2013
The silver imports in India are on pace to touch multi-year highs. The imports during the initial six month period suggest a notable shift in investor demand towards the metal. According to statistics, the country’s silver imports during the first five months of the year have surpassed the total imports during the entire year 2012.
The total silver imports by India during 2012 were 1,900 tonnes. Meanwhile, the silver imports during the period from January to May this year have already reached 2,400 tonnes. There has been a significant rise in silver imports particularly during April to June. The total silver imports during the period from January to March were 760 tonnes. In the month of April alone imports surged to 720 tonnes. It further swelled to 920 tonnes in May.
The silver imports by India had touched record highs of 5,048 tonnes in 2008. The following year saw imports plunging to 1,285 tonnes. The imports during 2010 and 2011 were 3,029 tonnes and 4,087 tonnes respectively. Going by estimates, the silver imports may cross 4000 tonnes by July this year. Even if imports see slowdown during the remaining months of the year, it would well surpass the 2008 highs.
There has been a distinct shift from gold to silver among investor community in India ever since the sudden drop in gold prices during mid-April. The tight import curbs imposed by the Indian government on gold imports also have led to increased imports of silver which is not exposed to any sort of import restrictions.