New Delhi: The country's gems and jewellery exports contracted by 8 per cent to about USD 32.72 billion in 2017-18 owing to demand slowdown in major markets, including the US.
According to the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) data, exports stood at USD 35.47 billion in 2016-17. The labour-intensive sector contributes about 14 per cent to the country's overall export.
The drop in shipments is mainly due to negative growth in the export of silver jewellery; gold medallions and coins along with a sharp rise in the return of consignments.
The industry has asked for support in terms of increasing incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) to boost the shipments.
Exporters have also flagged concerns over blockage of working capital due to Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is impacting exports. As per the data, silver jewellery shipments in 2017-18 dipped by 15.8 per cent to USD 3.39 billion.
Similarly, export of gold medallions and coins contracted by about 63.56 per cent during the last financial year. However, total gold jewellery shipments went up about 11 per cent to USD 9.67 billion during the period.
Shipments of rough diamonds too reported a negative growth of about 5 per cent. But exports of cut and polished diamonds grew by 4.17 per cent to USD 23.74 billion in 2017-18.
India's main export destinations are the US, Europe, Japan and China. America accounts for about one-fourth of the country's total gems and jewellery exports. During the last fiscal, consignments worth USD 8.26 billion were returned compared with USD 7.7 billion in 2016-17.
China is the biggest competitor of India in the sector. On the other hand, imports of gems and jewellery recorded a growth of 9.7 per cent in 2017-18 to USD 31.52 billion. Imports of rough diamonds and gold bars rose by 10.6 per cent and 34.28 per cent, respectively during the last financial year....