Mexico, the world's largest silver producer, has launched a massive international campaign to boost silver exports whose value has surged by more than 4,000 percent since 1983, a leading Mexican jeweler said.
Kleber Mayer Lopez, president of the National Association of Silverware and Jewelery Exporters and Importers of Mexico, told United Press International that the value of Mexico's silver exports jumped to $40 million in 1987 from $1 million in 1983."We don't have latest figures, but we are doing quite well in international markets this year as well. Our goal is to export more than $40 million this year," Mayer said.
The net value of Mexico's silver exports have increased in money terms primarily because of rising prices on international markets.
In New York silver closed at $6.25 an ounce on the Comex Thursday, up from $6.177 an ounce the previous day.
The United States is the largest importer of Mexican silver, followed by Canada, Japan, West Germany, Spain and several other European countries.
Mexico accounts for 20.9 percent of the world's total silver output. Peru is the second-largest producer, followed by the Soviet Union and Canada.
The Washington-based Silver Institute forecasts Mexico will remain the world's No. 1 silver producer at least through 1990, despite expected increases in silver production in Peru, the United States and elsewhere.
According to Mexico's Industrial Development Commission, the country' proven reserves of silver will last for at least 88 years if the current rate of production is maintained.
Industry officials estimate that if present trends continue, Mexico's silver exports will reach some $200 million by the end of 1991.
"Because of our export promotion camapigns abroad, the use of silver by local jewelery makers has increased from 15 tons in 1983 to more than 220 tons in 1987," Mayer said.
"The number of silverware factories has also risen from 220 to 1,600 during the same period," he said. "Now people are coming from every part of the world to buy our silver and that has been possible mainly because of our export campaigns abroad."
Mayer said international markets now have become the main attraction for Mexican jewelers "because of the current economic situation of the country."
He pointed out that "90 percent of silver jewelery made in Mexico is exported now. In 1983, exports accounted for less than 1 percent of all silver jewelery produced here."
Analysts say the sale of silver products in the domestic market has declined considerably in recent years because of the six-year economic slump that has eroded the purchasing power of Mexicans by about 50 percent.
One Mexican jeweler said the domestic silver market has virtually collapsed.