Silver in India comes next to gold in the jewellery buying preference of Indians. With the current downward spiraling of gold prices, silver is the new-found love of Indians. The shiny metal has been able to hold its price and even seen appreciations in a time when gold has been continuously losing shine for the past 2-3 years.
Silver in various forms is popular in the Indian culture. The most significant role is played by it in weddings and birthdays. Other ceremonies which see silver being used as gifts and puja item are naming ceremony of babies, engagement ceremonies and pujas during Indian festivals like Diwali and Holi.
Importance of India in the Global Silver Jewellery Market
India is a huge exporter of silver jewellery and silverware. Huge demand for silver is seen from countries like the United States and those in the Middle East. Silver export companies in India are trying to expand to newer pastures like markets in China, Russia and Australia. In terms of silver jewellery, India is the third largest fabricator of silver jewellery in the world. The popularity of silver in India also stems from the fact that it is cheap in comparison to gold and other precious metals like platinum. This makes it easier for people to buy silver for themselves as well as for gifting purposes.
Silver jewellery in India is currently popular not just due to its lower prices but also because several designer stores and jewellery designers have entered this space. These new-age designers are giving a new and trendy look to silver jewellery and gifting articles and have clearly created substantial demand for the white metal. Surveys done in this regard have revealed that youngsters especially have started appreciating silver better than gold because the current jewellery designs are so much more chic and aptly proceed as compared to the same designs made out of gold or platinum.
Data compiled by the precious metals consultancy Smaulgld.com showed India’s total silver import at 5,819 tonnes during the January-September period. On annualised basis, however, total silver import in 2015 is estimated at 7,759 tonnes - the highest ever India has imported in any calendar year so far, and a rise of 10 per cent from the previous year. During 2014 (calendar year), the total import of silver was recorded at 7,083 tonnes.
“As the trend shows from the volume of import between January and September, silver import in India will set a new record this year,” said Mohit Kamboj, president of India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), on the sidelines of World Silver Council inauguration here.
After a staggering 19.31 per cent decline in 2014, silver prices fell nearly eight per cent in 2015. This means, the downward cycle in commodities has made silver affordable for consumers with a price decline of over 26 per cent in the past two years to $14.32 an oz now from the level of $19.47 on January 1, 2014.
Similar price decline was seen in local currency as well. Silver price in Zaveri Bazaar here is quoted at Rs 34,200 a kg now, a decline of 22 per cent from the level of Rs 43,800 a kg on January 1, 2014.