Gem and jewellery exports fell marginally last fiscal due to a 5.5% fall in outbound shipments of cut and polished diamonds, but the gold jewellery segment rebounded with a 17.8% rise.
According to data released by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) on Thursday, gross outbound shipments of gems and jewellery were $39.9 billion in 2014-15 compared with $40.15 billion the year before. The downturn in China, unrest in West Asia, slowdown in Europe and the depreciaiton of the Russian ruble affected exports, the council said. Still, the 0.6% drop bettered the 1.2% fall in the country’s overall exports in a “difficult year”.
In rupee terms, exports grew just 0.4% to Rs 2,43,885.81 crore. The overall imports of gems and jewellery grew marginally to $31.47 billion in 2014-15 from $31.07 billion a year earlier. India, the world’s biggest diamond polishing hub, imports rough diamonds and exports them after refining.
gross exports of cut and polished diamonds dropped to $23.16 billion last fiscal, against $24.50 billion a year before, thanks primarily to a 9% decline in rough diamond imports. However, since rough diamond prices had gone up last fiscal due to a supply-demand mismatch, their imports, in value terms, went up by 6.2% from the 2013-14 level.
After a 36% decline in 2013-14 to $8.37 billion, gold jewellery exports rose to $9.85 billion last fiscal. Silver exports surged 39.3% to $1.48 billion. However, exports of gold medallions and coins dropped to $2.84 billion from $3.06 billion a year earlier.
The RBI’s November move to scrap the controversial 80:20 rule, which mandated that at least a fifth of the imported gold must be reserved for re-exports, gave exports a fillip, the council said. Many jewellery exporters had complained of red tape and high-handedness of customs officials in clearing import consignments, which led to huge gold premiums. Conseuqnetly, the competitiveness of Indian exporters was hurt as raw material prices went up in the domestic market. However, jewellers have been seeking a duty cut on gold imports to further boost exports.