* Silver imports seen above 5,000 tonnes in 2012, up 4 pct -
* Prices seen in 45,000-100,000 rupees range
(Adds quotes, background)
By Siddesh Mayenkar
MUMBAI, Feb 21 Silver imports into India,
the world's biggest bullion consumer, could rise a mere 4
percent in 2012, compared with a 70 percent rise in 2011, as
investors cash in on the price increase, said Prithviraj
Kothari, president, Bombay Bullion Association.
He expects silver imports in 2012 to top 5,000 tonnes from
4,800 tonnes in 2011.
The prices of silver in India have more than doubled in two
"Investors who had bought chunk of silver last year will
come forward and sell now," said Prithviraj Kothari, president
of the Bombay Bullion Association.
The imports could also depend on monsoon, which drives
income in rural areas, a major market for the white metal.
Silver prices could range between 45,000 rupees and 100,000
rupees in 2012, while gold prices could be in the range of
26,000-35,000 rupees, Kothari said.
Silver for March delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange
(MCX) was at 56,483 rupees per kg on Tuesday, up 0.29 percent.
Kothari, who is also the director of RiddhiSiddhi
Bullion, added the company's platinum coins had witnessed "good
response" from investors in the past six months.
The expectation of a rise in platinum price is more than
gold, said Kothari. RiddhiSiddhi Bullion has so far sold 100 kgs
of platinum in the form of coins.
Gold in the global market was trading at $1,740.88
an ounce, lower than platinum's price of $1,670.50 an ounce on
India imports 10-15 tonnes of platinum annually for use
mostly in the auto industry. The metal is used in the production
of catalytic converters by automakers.
(Editing by Rajesh Pandathil)