As the Russian economy worsens and the crisis between Turkey and the Russian Federation remains in deep freeze, Turkish jewelry exporters are looking for new markets for their goods. Producers aim to expand exports by 30% to $3.5 billion this year by focusing on new markets, after seeing decreases of around 15% on the year in 2015 as demand from Russia plunged, reported the Hurriyet newspaper. “Russia and the Turkic republics have been our key markets, but Russian economic activities have ground to a halt since the Ukraine crisis. This has also negatively affected Russia’s neighboring countries including the Turkic republics,” said Jewelry Exporters Association (MİB) head Ayhan Güner, adding that the shooting down of a Russian air force jet by Turkey last November had worsened relations.
According to MİB data, jewelry exports, excluding plate gold sales, fell by 14.6 percent on the year to $2.65 billion in 2015 though exports increased by 9.8 percent on a weight basis to 3,500 tons. Güner said the main reason behind the drop in exports on a value basis was the plunge in the gold price. "If the gold price had not declined, our exports would have increased by 30% on a value basis,” he said. The biggest declines were posted in jewelry exports to Russia, which fell by around 71 percent in 2015. The sector also saw a fall in sales to Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Belgium and Kazakhstan. The new markets being targeted include the Far East and the Americas as well as Europe, Güner said. The country is also aiming to boost its diamond cutting and processing industry, by taking 10% of the business being transacted in the main global markets of Belgium, Israel and Dubai, he said.