02-Dec (Quartz) — Indians’ famous love for gold has created serious and ongoing economic issues for the nation. In 2011, Australian investment bank Macquarie estimated that 78% of India’s household savings were held in gold.
…And it seems a return to silver as a major investment for consumers in India may be on the cards. Following the recent import tax hikes for gold, 2015 saw Indian silver imports grow to almost 8,000 tonnes, 14% up on the previous 2014 record. At the same time, demand for gold jewellery, which accounts for 75% of all Indian gold demand, is down 30% for the 12 months to the end of September 2016, according to the World Gold Council. This points to a possible shift back to silver as a more prominent investment in India.
…Even a small substitution from gold to silver would result in a massive increase in the price of silver. A 10% reallocation from gold jewellery investment to silver in India would nearly double world silver jewellery demand. Mines and other sources would not be able to fill the gap immediately; prices would rise, further fuelling demand and creating a new, shiny headache for those trying to marshal India’s unusual economy.
PG View: The silver market is indeed substantially smaller than the gold market. If this trend continues (and is allowed to continue) the price implications will be significant.