New Delhi, Oct 12 (PTI): India's gems and jewellery exports declined by 14 per cent year-on-year to $3.72 billion in September, due to the sluggish demand in the western markets.
In September 2011, exports added up to $4.33 billion.
During the April-September period this fiscal, exports declined by 11.7 per cent to $19.90 billion, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council said on Friday.
“Still, demand has not improved in the India's major markets like Europe. This is hitting our exports,” an official in the Commerce Ministry said.
Gems and jewellery constitute 17 per cent of India's total exports, being one of the single largest sectors, and employs 1.5 million people.
The major markets for the country's gems and jewellery are Europe, the US, the UAE and Hong Kong.
The council has estimated that the country's gems and jewellery exports would touch $40 billion in the current fiscal.
During 2011-12, these exports aggregated at $43 billion.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, GJEPC Chairman Vipul Shah told reporters that exports are declining because of the euro zone crisis.
He said, however, the demand in US is still robust and ”we expect exports will recover in the last two quarters of this fiscal”.
Shah added, “The exports were also affected due to a huge decline in imports of raw materials like the cut and polished diamonds.”
Imports were affected by the two per cent duty imposed in January, he said.
GJEPC is now tapping new markets such as Australia and neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
”The traditional markets like the US and the Middle East (West Asia) are doing really well. Even China is doing well. Now we are planning to focus on markets like Australia and our neighbouring countries, where there is tremendous potential,” Shah said.