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India’s March Polished Exports -24%; Net Diamond Acct. +151%

23 april 2009

India’s polished diamond exports fell 24 percent to $1.1 billion in March, according to data published by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Polished imports declined 17 percent during the month to $616 million, and the country’s net polished exports, the excess of exports over imports, dropped 31 percent to $524.1 million.
India’s rough imports slumped 57 percent to $311.3 million, while rough exports fell 13 percent to $60.1 million. Net rough imports — rough imports less exports — declined 61 percent to $251.3 million. India’s March net diamond account, measuring total exports less total imports, increased 151 percent to $272.8 million.
For the quarter that ended March 31, 2009, RAPAPORT records show that India’s polished exports fell 33 percent to $2.8 billion, while polished imports dropped 12 percent to $1.6 billion. The country’s rough imports decreased 71 percent to $738.6 million, and its rough exports were down 5 percent to $164.7 million. India’s net diamond account rose to a positive $589.5 million, compared with a deficit of $57.3 million in the same period a year earlier.
With the end of India’s fiscal year in March, Vasant Mehta, GJEPC chairman, noted the negative impact that the slowdown in the U.S. economy had on India’s gem and jewelry sector in the second half of the year. “Decrease and cancellation of orders from [the] U.S. and other major markets have led to retrenchment to an extent in the sector,” Mehta said.
The organization reported that during the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2009, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was India’s largest export destination for the gem and jewelry sector, which includes exports of diamonds, colored gemstones and gold. The UAE accounted for 31 percent of India's total exports, followed by Hong Kong with 25 percent and the U.S. with 20 percent. Total gem and jewelry exports rose 2 percent to $21.1 billion for the fiscal year.
Mehta reported that the GJEPC has undertaken focused initiatives “to help traders boost exports in challenging times.” These include hosting a by-invitation buyer-seller meeting in August in Mumbai between Indian diamond and colorstone manufacturers and select overseas and domestic jewelry manufacturers and retailers. The GJEPC is also planning to raise its marketing profile on behalf of the gem and jewelry sector, and is expanding its role to become an educator, in order to expand the skill sets of workers in the industry. In line with this aim, the GJEPC has entered into memoranda of understanding with the Gujarat government and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to set up and run educational institutes in the country.