India's woes continue as more COVID-19 cases in Surat, which some deem a veritable infection hotspot, forced a week-long closure of manufacturing units. Meanwhile, the GJEPC and other industry bodies are extending the voluntary ban of rough diamonds from July 10-31st and said they will be calling on large producers to continue their flexibility towards long-term customers. At the same time, as tensions continue to rise between India and China, traders are forced to reroute polished exports to Hong Kong, which are being blocked by Chinese customs.
As the tensions between India and China continue to rise after the military standoff at Ladakh, a fierce trade war between the two countries is looming, and imports and exports are already being affected. India Today reports that while in India, the call to boycott Chinese goods is sounding louder and louder, exporters are experiencing trouble to export goods to Hong Kong and Mainland China, as shipments are blocked by Chinese Customs. On Indian side, the article says, shipment containers from China are also being blocked by Indian Customs in Mumbai and Chennai.
According to Business Standard, the voluntary moratorium on rough diamond imports into the country, might be extended, citing spokespersons of the GJEPC saying that inventory levels remain high, estimated at 2.3 billion US$, with no need for imports to resume as "it would take another two or three months to service previous orders".
Economic Times India reports that fears are rising that one of Mumbai's top angadia's, according to the article "holding several millions of dollars worth of diamonds", has vanished, after closing shop early in the Bharat Diamond Bourse on Wednesday. According to the article, rumours are circulating that the person in question was in financial trouble, due to property deals falling through. In India, the angadia's are an informal but highly popular network of couriers that transport cash and rough and polished diamonds between Mumbai and the country's polishing hub in Gujarat, Surat.
Local authorities have ordered the partial closure of about eight diamond-cutting firms in Surat after 23 workers tested positive for COVID-19. Several of their staff members will also undergo a 14-day quarantine, as will the families of those confirmed to be infected.
The Indian diamond industry has lost an iconic figure, with the passing of Arunkumar R. Mehta, born in 1940, one of the founding fathers of the diamond trading and polishing industry in the country. Coming from humble beginnings, Arunbhai set up a small diamond polishing unit in 1960, which under his tenure would grow to become one of the biggest names in the industry, multinational diamond company Rosy Blue. Revered for his insight and leadership, Arunbhai Mehta served many positions in various Indian trade organizations.
As of April 1st, a new 2% tax on online sales, the “Equalization Levy” (EL), came into force in India which is having a major impact on Indian diamond manufacturing and trading companies who buy rough or polished stones via online channels, such as online auctions or tenders, trading platforms. Foreign companies that are considered an “e-commerce operator”, defined as a non-resident that owns, operates or manages a digital or electronic facility or platform for online sale of goods or the online provision of services”, will be forced to charge 2% on top of the sales amount, when selling to
While India has allowed some activity to resume in Surat, the country's polishing hub, the industry has announced that the voluntary moratorium on rough imports is delayed to June 1st, with the call to its members to not import rough diamonds for the entire month of June, possibly longer.
As many countries are easing out of strict quarantaine, GIA has announced it has reopened its labs in Antwerp, Carlsbad, Gaborone, Johannesburg and Tokyo, each with modified schedules. In Antwerp and Johannesburg, visitors are welcome by appointment, in Tokyo, Carlsbad and Gaborone, the labs will only accept submissions via shipment.
Times of India reports that India's Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai's Bandra-Kurla Complex as well as the Gems and Jewellery industry at Seepz MIDC can resume operations, albeit with a strongly reduced workforce (10%). India's diamond and jewellery industry has been suffering as the country continues to be under strict lockdown, and export shipments are blocked. Both area's are located in so-called "red zones", which is why only limited workforce can be allowed, state officials said.
Times of India reports that a 700 million US$ shipment of loose diamonds, destined for Hong Kong, is stuck at the Bharat Diamond Bourse, despite efforts to persuade government to allow the Bourse to resume activities with minimal workforce. According to a spokesperson for the Gem and Jewellery Promotion Council (GJEPC), the diamond industry in India, already heavily impacted by lockdown measures, could suffer even more because of exports being blocked; "if business would shift to China and Thailand ... it would be a permanent loss".
Revenue from India’s diamond polishing industry is set to plunge to its lowest level in a decade as COVID-19 measures in the U.S. and Europe (Belgium) has hindered sales and caused prices to fall, reports an India credit-rating agency. The agency projects sales in fiscal 2021 (April 2t020 - March 2021) to drop to the lowest level in a decade, $13-15 billion, which is 21%-32% lower than the estimated ~$19 billion in fiscal 2020 revenues and 38%-46% lower than the $24 billion earned in fiscal 2019.
In a letter signed by GJEPC Chairman Agrawal, President of the Bharat Diamond Bourse Anoop Mehta and Marendra V Gandhi, President of the Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, the industry organizations are calling on their members to implement a cessation of rough diamond imports for the duration of one month, starting May 15.
The writing appears to be on the proverbial wall: the Indian diamond industry is careening toward a temporary ban on rough-diamond imports which, if implemented, will effectively bring rough diamond trading to a halt. How can manufacturers survive without rough, you may ask? If Chaim Even-Zohar’s calculations are correct, it is because they are sitting on $1.5-$2 billion of rough diamond inventory already, with another $5 billion in polished ready for sale. The question then becomes: why buy more?
For a few days now, rumor in the industry has it that the Indian diamond industry - or at least some members - want to impose a voluntary ban on rough imports into the country. The rumours aren’t confirmed by any official body, but some sources claim the voluntary ban would start one week after India lifts the strict lockdown measures - preliminary scheduled for May 3 - and would be instated for one month, others claim the ban would last as long as three months.
The Government of India has decided to extend its nationwide lockdown until 3 May to slow down the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, but is inclined to allow some factories, including some diamond manufacturing units, to resume operations with restrictions.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, several industry initiatives are taken to provide relief across the world to all those affected by the crisis.
In the view of the current situation, the nationwide complete lockdown will be in place for 21 days. If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days, we will be pushed back 21 years.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking to the nation of India on March 24.
India’s exports of cut and polished diamonds declined dramatically compared to last year’s levels of trade, declining by 41% during the month of February 2020, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The GJEPC attributed the decline mainly to the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat, India, is facing a potentially massive liquidity crisis as a result of overdue payments owed by diamond traders in China and Hong Kong in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, writes The Times of India. Industry estimates estimate the value of those overdue payments at Rs5,000 crore, about $670 million, in the past month alone.
Mumbai Customs in India has seized two shipments of diamonds from Antwerp – one rough, one polished – on very questionable grounds, according to a trusted source. Another sixteen shipments are on hold.
India’s exports of polished diamonds continue to fall short of last year’s levels, declining by 5.7% during the month of January 2020, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The value of rough-diamond imports for manufacturing fell again as well, despite a notable increase in volume. Meanwhile, India's synthetic-diamond imports (rough) and exports (polished) continue to grow rapidly.
Indian diamond manufacturer and exporter Star Rays announced it is working towards becoming India’s first carbon-neutral diamond company, highlighting its commitment to sustainable business practices.
India's representative body for the diamond and gem trade, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), has appealed to the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India to revise credit terms for exporters and importers in the gems and jewelry trade which has been badly affected by the Hong Kong protests last year and the subsequent recent novel coronavirus outbreak.
Concern about the impact of the coronavirus on the diamond and jewelry trade is growing, not only in China, but also in the markets that supply China, like Hong Kong and India. Events have been concelled, retail sales have plummeted and the outbreak of the virus in China has already had a ripple effect on diamond supply chains as the death toll passes 1,000. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the larger Indian diamond manufacturers, importer/exporter and De Beers Sightholder M. Suresh has opened a diamond cutting and polishing center equipped with high-end technology in the Free Port of Vladivostok, says the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. Russian miner Alrosa will supply them with rough diamonds for polishing.
India's polished-diamond exports declined in value by 15.5% over the full course of 2019 on a 13% decline in the volume of goods exported, according to statistics published by India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The decline in the polished trade triggered a slowdown in manufacturing, and consequently of their demand for rough imports, which declined 18% in value on a 9% decrease in the volume of rough imported.
The Titan Company announced in its Q3 FY ’20 update that jewelry sales in December were were better than expected despite “the general economic slowdown in the economy leading to poor consumer sentimenthit." The company said its revenue growth was "possibly due to a good wedding season" and that the jewelry industry as a whole witnessed “reasonable growth” in the festive Diwali season this year. The company itself did better, the statement reads, while also gaining market share.
The Bunder Diamond Mine, located in Chhattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, India, has been sold to Essel Mining, a company owned by the Aditya Birla Group, which will acquire mining rights with a 50-year government lease. The Bunder mine is estimated to have reserves of about 34 million carats.
In its latest report, Canada-based NGO IMPACT claims India has become the world’s hotspot for conflict gold originating from Africa and South America. According to IMPACT, the country imports roughly a 1,000 tonnes of gold per year, 25% more than the official figures state.
In their research, IMPACT says it has revealed how illicit gold, potentially linked to conflict, human rights abuses and corruption, is smuggled into India – one third of the world’s gold passes through the country – primarily via the United Arab Emirates.
Former CEO and now chairman emeritus of Rosy Blue Alliance, Dilip Mehta, has announced a new venture into synthetic diamonds, partnering with his sons to launch a business in Surat. Mehta is just the latest of many diamond veterans to test the synthetic-diamond waters. Speaking to the Times of India, Mehta made clear that the venture was fully independent of Rosy Blue. "This one is our own venture and nothing to do with Rosy Blue," he is quoted as saying.
India's exports of cut and polished diamonds in October declined by 15.4% year-on-year to $1.95 billion as compared to $2.30 billion in October 2018, according to the provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India. The $1.95 billion is the same amount exported in September, which represented an 18% decline from the year prior. The volume of polished diamonds exported declined 8% to 2.8 million carats, as the average price per carat for the month fell 22% to $689 per carat. For the fiscal year to date (April - Oct.
With the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary starting next week in New Dehli, KP Observers are saying the certification scheme has reached the moment of truth as to whether it will expand its definition of 'conflict diamonds', a move many see as critical to the KP's continued relevance.
India's cut and polished diamond exports declined by 25% year-on-year, totalling US$1.64 billion during the month (August 2018: US$2.18 bn) as the average export price tumbled by 19% to $658 per carat, the lowest level in two years. The August results do indicate a modest 9% upturn from July, when India's polished-diamond exports fell to their lowest point in 2019, at $1.50 billion. All figures are from India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
The Government of India has succumbed to internal and external pressure and lowered the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate for wide variety of products and services - including 'job work' in the diamond industry - in an attempt to revive the economy. The announcements come as welcome news and should provide a much-needed boost to the gems and jewelry industry in India, hopefully stemming the tide of job losses in the sector.
The ongoing slump in the global diamond industry is having a negative impact on jobs in the expansive diamond manufacturing industry of India. The world's largest cutting and polishing centre appears to be heading toward an employment crisis, at least in the short-term. Estimates from industry insiders are that the diamond industry in Gujarat have seen job losses of up to 10%-15% already, with more on the way if consumer demand does not pick up in the near future.
Tiffany & Co. earlier this month announced plans to enter the India market, and recently said they would be increasing their presence in China following a quarter in which they saw double-digit growth with local customers in Mainland China, together with a decline in tourist purchases which impacted their Q2 results.
India's cut and polished diamond exports declined by more than 18% year-on-year in July, representing the lowest level of polished exports since December 2018. India's exports reached only $1.50 billion last month as compared $1.84 billion during the same month a year ago, as manufacturing has slowed significantly and traders try to move goods from stock while facing the headwind of an existing glut on the market.
India has introduced a specific, 8-digit HS (Harmonized System) code for synthetic rough diamonds in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the diamond pipeline, an issue for which the Indian diamond industry has been subject to criticism in recent years.
To the chagrin of the gem & jewelry industry in the county, the Indian government last Friday (July 5) announced it would increase the import duty on gold and precious metals to 12.5% from current level of 10%. The move will raise the price of gold, silver and other precious metals on the domestic market, with concerns that smuggling may rise and tourists may seek to purchase their gold elsewhere. India is one of the largest gold importers in the world, arising mainly from demand from the jewelry sector. India imported gold worth $32.8 billion during 2018-19.