Exports of gems and jewellery grew by 11 per cent to $14.43 billion during the first five months of the current fiscal, driven largely by demand in India's major markets like the US.
In April-August period of the last fiscal, exports from the sector were at $13 billion, according to the data from Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Gems and jewellery contribute about 14 per cent to the country's overall exports.
The rise in April-August period was mainly supported by exports of cut and polished diamond. It rose to $9.19 billion during April-August 2016-17 from $8.64 billion a year ago. Exports of silver jewellery grew by 52.6 per cent to $1.67 billion during the five months period of this financial year. "In the traditional market destinations including the US and Europe, the demand is gradually picking up and it is helping exports," an official said.
Continuous increase in the outbound shipments of this labour intensive sector would help the country's overall shipments to come out from the negative zone. Shipments of gold jewellery however contracted by about 30 per cent to $1.14 billion during the period under review, from $1.61 billion a year ago. Exports of gold medallion and coins too dipped by 12.3 per cent to $1.93 billion.
The government is hoping that incentives such as 3 per cent interest subsidy and enhanced rate for duty drawback would further help contain the decline in exports.
Further according to GJEPC data, imports of rough diamonds grew by 19.37 per cent to $7 billion in April-August 2016. Imports of gold bars too grew by 34.51 per cent to $1.98 billion.
Overall, the country's exports were in negative zone between December 2014 and May 2016 due to weak global demand and slide in oil prices. Shipments witnessed growth only in June this year but again entered into negative zone in July and August.