India raises silver import duty to align with gold

A shopkeeper waits for customers inside his gold and silver shop in Delhi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India raised total taxes on silver imports 15% and on silver dore to 14.35%, the government said in a statement on Wednesday, in an effort to align the duty structure of the metal with gold.

The south Asian country is the world's biggest importer of silver.

"I also propose to increase the import duty on silver dore, bars and articles to align them with that on gold and platinum," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said as she presented the 2023/24 budget in parliament.

India raised its import duty on gold in July 2022.

The basic customs duty on silver was raised to 10% from 7.5% and Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on the imports to 5% from 2.5%.

Silver dore will carry a 10% basic import duty and 4.35% AIDC.

Local silver prices jumped by up to 2% after the duty changes.

The import duty on articles made of precious metals was increased to 25% from 22%.

The jewellery industry was expecting a reduction on the import duty on gold as smugglers have been offering hefty discounts as illicit imports boom after COVID-19, denting the market share of banks and refiners. However, the government did not cut its import tax on gold.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; editing by Jason Neely)