Silver motorbikes and staggering silver imports in India
When there are curbs on gold, Indians tend to gravitate to silver, with imports posting a heady 258.65% growth in the last four months.
Posted: Tuesday , 06 Aug 2013
MUMBAI (Mineweb) -
If any further indication was needed of India's craze for gold and silver, here is more proof.
After an entire car was decked out in gold plates by a major corporate in 2012, Silver Emporium, an Indian manufacturer and exporter of silver artifacts, has handcrafted an entire motorcycle from silver.
The shiny silver vehicle is to be showcased at the India International Jewellery Show to be held between August 8-12.
India's import duty curbs on gold and the ongoing lull in the precious metal's demand has got investors veering towards silver.
At 857 metric tonnes between April to July this year, silver imports have posted a staggering 258.65% growth, as compared to 239 metric tonnes imported in the corresponding four months of the last year.
Silver imports in July, coming in at 274.92 metric tonnes, have been termed the highest in the last five years. The decline of gold imports, on the other hand, to just 8.9 metric tonnes in June 2013, is the second lowest performance over the same period.
Retailers told Mineweb that the slide in the price of silver over the last three months has helped push up imports of the white metal.
"Given the wide scale restrictions on gold, and with investors seeking bullion, we have decided to import more silver. The current gold prices are too high and there is too much confusion about the import curbs on gold. We have decided to stick to silver till things normalise in the Indian market," said Manish Jhaveri, bullion trader.
Interestingly, Jagdeep Bhaidas, owner of a silver artifact showroom said with gold prices still very high, given the rupee disparity with the dollar and despite the massive slide in the international market, people were turning to silver items as gifts as well.
"Though gold prices have fallen considerably in the international market, Indians have not been able to make merry, unlike their western counterparts. Gold is still very expensive here and most refrain from buying at these prices. Consumers are waiting for gold prices to fall before they start buying," Bhaidas said.
In the meantime, it is silver bikes that are enthralling the market. According to Silver Emporium's managing director Rahul Mehta, the bike is road worthy and fit to drive. Barring the engine, tyres and suspension, the entire body has been handcrafted in pure silver.
Targetted at the richie-rich crowd, bike enthusiasts and art collectors across the nation, Mehta told newswire agencies that the cost of the bike would vary depending upon the custom-made accessories that one would want fitted.
Though the cost varies from $81,000 (Rs 5 million) to $162,094 (Rs 10 million), depending on personal preferences and customisation, Mehta insists the bike would have many customers.
The first silver bike was created at the company's existing facility in Jaipur in Rajasthan. Mehta said another manufacturing unit is expected to be ready end-2013, to cater to the huge demand for silver bedecked artefacts