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.
In January 2020, polished-diamond exports totalled US$1.65 billion compared to US$1.75 billion in January 2019. For the first nine months of the fiscal year (April 2019-March 2020), polished exports have fallen 17% to US$16.3 billion compared to US$19.6 billion during the same months last year. Imports of polished diamonds rose by 9% to US$1.22 billion as compared to US$1.12 billion for the same period of the previous year.
Rough imports during the month of January also declined, falling 11% to US$763 million as compared to US$ 857.60 million worth of rough imported in January 2019. In volume terms, however, rough imports increased 23% to 10.3 million carats from 8.4 million carats in January 2019. For the fiscal year to date, imports of rough diamonds have declined by 16% to US$10.9 billion from US$12.9 billion a year earlier. In volume terms, imports fell by 6% from 134.7 million carats to 127.1 million carats in the same period in the current fiscal year.
Imports of polished diamonds jumped by 86% to US$160.3 million in January 2020 from US$86.3 million in the same month a year earlier, while exports of rough diamonds totalled US$74.5 million in January 2020 as compared to US$101.6 million a year earlier. The volume of rough exported fell 33% to 2.16 million carats, down from 3.2 million carats a year earlier.
Growth in synthetic trade
Just as with diamonds, India is the leading polishing center for polished synthetic diamonds. Consistent with recent months, in January 2020, the value of India's polished synthetic exports more than doubled, growing 111% year-over-year to $44.1 million from $20.9 million in January 2019. Their lab-grown polishing activities are also clearly not slowing down, as India tripled its synthetic rough imports, importing 194% more synthetic rough this January than it did in January last year. Synthetic rough imports reached $42.4 million during the month, up from $ 4.4 million a year ago. India nearly doubled its rough synthetic imports in 2019, according to the GJEPC, while it exported more than $445 million worth of polished synthetic stones, up 72% year-over-year. By volume, polished synthetic exports grew by 119% to 4.4 million carats.