NEW DELHI, India: After a decline in prices reaching a 2-year low encouraged investors to purchase silver in 2022, India's silver imports are set to triple from one year ago to record highs.
Higher demand in India, the world's largest silver consumer, could support global prices and enable silver to outperform gold in the coming years.
Chirag Thakkar, CEO of Amrapali Group Gujarat, a leading silver importer, said, "Investment demand has been boosting imports. Investors are anticipating poor man's gold will beat gold in the coming years," he said, as quoted by Reuters.
India's silver imports in 2022 could jump to a record 8,200 tons, he added.
In the first seven months of 2022, silver imports surged to 5,100 tons from just 110 tons during the same period one year ago, according to provisional data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
In 2020 and 2021, Indian investors and industry sold off silver stocks after strong imports in 2018 and 2019, Thakkar said.
"Since silver is not available in the country, imports are rising," he said, as reported by Reuters.
In 2020 and 2021, Indian silver imports were 2,218 tons and 2,773 tons, respectively, down from 5,969 tons in 2019.
Meanwhile, local silver futures were trading at around 57,900 rupees per kilogram, after reaching a record high of 77,949 rupees in 2020.
According to investor Umesh Patel, prices have corrected too much and will rebound soon.
"Silver is underperforming, compared to gold. I am hoping it will rise sharply, like in the 2009 to 2011 period," he said, according to Reuters.
Patel said he saw returns of more than 200 percent from silver during that period.