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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

China Silver imports hit record 3500 tons in 2010

Silver is getting hot in China as imports of the white precious metal is soaring thanks to increasing demand for the commodity for industrial use and jewellery purposes.

For the first time, China's net imports of silver hit a record high as it quadrupled in 2010 to 3,500 tonnes (112 Million ozs). Precious metals analysts view this as a shift in the Chinese demand for silver as traditionally China used to be a silver exporter.

Lee Kui, a precious metals dealer in Beijing, said that a few years back, China used to export silver in big quantities. “For instance, in 2005, China made net exports of 3,000 tonnes of silver. In five years, the exporter of silver has become the importer of silver. This shows that Chinese demand for silver is soaring,” he said.

China was a net exporter of silver for many years and the Chinese export used to be a major component of global silver supply. This changed in 2007 when China became a net importer of silver. The demand figures being released by the General Administration of Customs in China has been showing the massive turnaround in China from large silver exporter to large silver importer.

China has gross exports of 1,575 tons of silver in 2009, down 58 percent from a year earlier. China’s gross imports of silver increased 15 percent to 5,159 tons in 2010.

A longer term perspective is as ever important as are the net figures. In 2005, China was a net exporter of nearly 3,000 tonnes (3 million kilogrammes) of silver. Last year, in 2010, China imported more than 3,500 tonnes of silver. Incredibly, Chinese net imports of silver surged four fold in just one year from 2009 to 2010.

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