While still lagging behind the levels of activity recorded in February 2018, India's diamond trade last month rebounded from a remarkably poor showing in January 2019. According to figures from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), exports of cut and polished diamonds from India fell by 3.51% year-on-year during the month of February 2019 to $2.34 billion as compared to the $2.43 billion exported in February 2018. However, February's exports represent a 34% increase over the $1.75 billion shipped out in January, which will come as a welcome sign to the Indian industry.
Imports of rough diamonds to the manufacturing hub followed a similar pattern, lagging 18% behind the same month last year in value terms at $1.38 billion compared to $1.68 billion, but seeing a 61% rise from the $858 million worth of rough imported last month. In volume terms as well, rough imports fell from 16.16 million carats during February 2018 to 15.0 million carats in February 2019, but this marked a dramatic upturn from the 8.4 million carats imported in January 2019. Imports of cut and polished diamonds, meanwhile, fared very poorly, falling to $94 million in February 2019 from $158 million in the same month a year earlier.
For the fiscal year to date (April 2018 - Feb 2019), polished diamond exports are up slightly by just over a percentage point at $21.95 billion as against the $21.70 billion exported over the same months last year, while imports of polished diamonds fell by 40% to $1.22 billion this year as compared to $2.04 billion for the same period of the previous year. Meanwhile, imports of rough diamonds have experienced a sharper, 17% decline $14.31 billion from $17.21 billion a year earlier. In volume terms, rough imports for the year have fallen by 12% from 171 million carats in April 2017 – Feb 2018 to 150 million carats in the same period in the current fiscal year.