Industry

Surat’s diamond trade hit by coronavirus, holiday in Hong Kong

Industry insiders estimate that 37-38% of the diamonds exported to Hong Kong from India are from Surat. Reuters

Industry insiders estimate that 37-38% of the diamonds exported to Hong Kong from India are from Surat. Reuters  

Exports unlikely to go up in Q4

The outbreak of the coronavirus in China has adversely affected Surat’s diamond industry, which was expecting a spike in volumes following the China-U.S. trade treaty.

But, with the sudden outbreak and rapid spread of the pandemic exports are unlikely to go up in the fourth quarter, as per the assessment of industry players in the diamond city.

Now, with Hong Kong declaring a holiday till March 3, the Surat diamond industry would suffer a further blow, as the city imports rough gems from Hong Kong and exports polished diamonds to Hong Kong and thereon to China.

Industry insiders estimate that as much as 37-38% of the diamonds exported to Hong Kong from India are from Surat, and the jewellery made from polished diamonds is also exported to Hong Kong from Surat.

According to the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), a majority of exports of polished and cut diamonds to China is done via Hong Kong and now, the prevalence of coronavirus may dent consumer demand, resulting in a dip in exports. Diamond companies having offices in Hong Kong and China have asked their staff to return in view of the vacation.

With Hong Kong reportedly witnessing one casualty from the virus, diamond and jewellery exporters and traders here presume that the international jewellery exhibition scheduled to be held in Hong Kong in March would be postponed.

“What is bothering the trade is the outbreak of coronavirus in China, as it will affect sales of cut and polished diamonds,” Colin Shah of GJEPC said. He added that if the scenario did not change in 2-3 weeks, prices of polished diamonds would not rise and margins could face a squeeze.

Regional chairman of GJEPC and former chief of the Surat Diamond Association Dinesh Navadiya said that earlier, pro-democracy agitation in Hong Kong had hit the diamond industry and now with the coronavirus scare, losses could run into several hundred crores of rupees.

The overall export of cut and polished diamonds in the first 9 months of the current fiscal was already down 17.14% from a year earlier.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:12:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/surats-diamond-trade-hit-by-coronavirus-holiday-in-hong-kong/article30736801.ece

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