1 min read.Updated: 07 Dec 2020, 05:28 PM ISTSwansy Afonso, Bloomberg
Exports of gems and jewelry from India, which polishes about 90% of the world’s rough diamonds, showed a sharp recovery in November, providing relief to an industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic
Overseas shipments fell about 4% from a year earlier to $2.48 billion, compared with a 99% plunge at the start of the financial year in April, according to Colin Shah, chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council. It was also milder than the 19% to 40% decline in the prior three months.
India imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March to contain the virus outbreak and the measures to control the pandemic meant jewelry and diamond-cutting production centers were either closed or operating at very low levels.
However, from November, as many as 90% of the industry’s workers have come back as business has recovered in the key manufacturing cities of Surat, Jaipur and Mumbai, Shah said.
Still, “the industry is not out of the woods" and business is expected to come back to normal or pre-Covid level only once there is a successful vaccine in place, he said. The Indian government needs to reduce import taxes on cut and polished diamonds and precious metals to aid the recovery, he added.
Exports during April to November were 44% lower at $11.43 billion, and India may ship as much as $9 billion over the remaining months of the financial year, he said. That would result in exports for the year falling by as much as 31% from a year ago.