Chennai: While gems and jewellery exports were down 50 per cent till July this fiscal, silver exports have doubled during the period.
Every segment, except silver jewellery, in the pandemic-hit gems and jewellery basket recorded de-growth in exports between April and July this year.
Silver jewellery worth $510.82 million were exported during the four-month period this year against $252.64 million during the same period last year – a growth of 102 per cent.
According to Prakash Pincha, chairman, eastern region Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, around 30 – 40 silver jewellery fabrication units were set up in Surat in the past one year and they have been contributing to the increased exports of silver jewellery. “We have started exploring the global silver jewellery market. Hence the growth,” he said.
A few years back, silver jewellery exports have been witnessing exponential growth, mainly due to round-tripping. Some of the regulatory measures brought in by the government and exit of a few key players had curbed the round-tripping of silver to almost nil. Industry insiders find that this time genuine exports and not round-tripping is the reason behind the growth of silver jewellery exports.
Higher silver jewellery exports helped the Surat SEZ and the Gujarat region clock positive growth while all the other regions and SEZs kept de-growing. Gujarat region grew exports by 101 per cent to $1236 million and Surat SEZ too grew exports by 43 per cent in April-July period.
Among other special economic zones, Cochin SEZ saw the steepest fall of 99 per cent to $22.45 million against $2235 million in the same period last year. Cochin SEZ, which mainly exports gold jewellery, has been affected by the gloom in the Middle East market.
“The Middle East market is almost closed. The jewellery business in Dubai thrives on tourists and the pandemic has brought the businesses to near standstill,” said Pincha.
While gold jewellery exports were 73 per cent down, gold bar imports have declined 83 per cent. Despite the growth in silver jewellery, silver bar imports were down by 50 per cent to $4.96 million.
“Finding it tough to procure duty-free silver, the jewellery units are procuring silver bars from the Domestic Tariff Area and then claiming duty drawback. Hence the silver bar imports do not reflect the demand of silver for export purposes,” said Pincha.