The 1109-carat rough Lesedi La Rona diamond. AFP
India's gems and jewellery exports fell 38% in July from a year ago to $1.36 billion as shipments of cut and polished diamonds plunged because of the novel coronavirus, a trade organisation said on Thursday.
The industry was hit twice because of the coronavirus, with export orders evaporating and then a shortage of workers caused by a national lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.
India's cut and polished diamond exports in July fell 39% from a year ago to $918.4 million, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said in a statement.
In the April to July period, cut and polished diamond exports plunged 46.5% from a year ago to $2.7 billion, it said.
Thousands of workers employed in polishing diamonds went back to their homes after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus in late March and many of them had yet to return, said Colin Shah, chairman of GJEPC.
"Today, there's enough work, but not enough manpower," Shah said.
Falling exports of cut and polished diamonds prompted polishing units to cut imports of rough diamond, which during April to July fell 82% from a year ago to $712.6 million, the trade body said.
Annual diamond shows used to help Indian exporters sell polished diamonds to foreign buyers, but the pandemic forced the GJEPC to postpone main shows to next year.
The GJEPC has now organised a virtual buyer and seller meet up on Aug. 27-28, with buyers from various countries expected to participate, it said.
Globally, demand for diamonds has plummeted during the pandemic, freezing sales and squeezing prices.
The jewellery industry of India, which is going through a slowdown in consumption demand amid the pandemic would require digital strategies for its growth post the Covid-19 crisis, according to a report by the World Gold Council (WGC).
Global diamond supply chains convulsed by the coronavirus pandemic and most workers in India’s diamond industry switched to other jobs. Miners seek new supply deals to boost margins and mines from Canada to Lesotho are still shuttered.
MUMBAI: India’s cricket selectors on Sunday named Rishabh Pant as their preferred wicketkeeper for all three formats for next month’s tour of West Indies with the future of long-serving glovesman Mahendra Singh Dhoni still shrouded in mystery. Dhoni, 38, has been the subject of intense speculation on his
Dr Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, chaired the virtual meeting of the Industrial Cooperation Committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council on Thursday.
An index of stocks across the globe fell on Thursday and the dollar rose for a fifth session running on lingering concern about another economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
The UAE confirmed its commitment to supporting all global efforts to reinforce international trade and investment. This statement was made during the country’s participation in the closing meeting of G20 trade and investment ministers,