Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Even as the export scenario continued to maintain its downtrend with carpet exports declining for the 11th consecutive month plunging by 28 per cent to $41.5 million in August this year over the year ago period, exporters are pinning their hopes on Christmas orders in the jewellery sector.

“We are getting very less orders compared to last year due to less demand from the U.S. and the European Union, which account for the bulk of the country’s carpets exports,” Carpet Export Promotion Council Chairman Ashok Jain said.

“Carpet is a luxury item and not a necessity. At present, people have economic insecurity and I feel that they will buy carpets only after meeting their basic needs,” he added.

In the April-August period this year, exports of carpets stood at $177.34 million against $240.58 million in the same period last fiscal.

Demand is expected to pick up by January 2010 as there are signs of recovery in some Western economies. Exporters are pinning their hopes on the carpets exhibition ‘India carpet expo’, an annual event, to be held in October at Varanasi.

Exports of carpets and rugs woven in Srinagar, Jaipur, Udaipur and Varanasi stood at $600 million in 2008-09, giving employment to about 2.5 million artisans and unskilled labourers. The U.S. and Europe together account for about 80 per cent of the country’s total carpet exports.