What does a 17 per cent drop in diamond exports in 2019 tell you?

Lack of ease of doing business, U.S. China trade war and unrest in Hong Kong have played a major role in decreasing exports in 2019
What does a 17 per cent drop in diamond exports in 2019 tell you?

Cut and polished diamonds has been underperforming and consistently dropping in 2019. According reports furnished by the GJEPC, exports of polished diamonds fell by 17.89 per cent to  $14,666.48 million during April – December 2019 from $17,863 million in the same period in 2018. In December 2019, exports of cut and polished diamonds stood at $1253.98 million as opposed to $1313.56 million in the same period in 2018. 

 The ongoing crisis between U.S. and China and the protests in Hong Kong may be major reasons for this downfall; however, one of the biggest impediments for the industry has been the difficulty they have been facing from the customs. Rise in import duty on C&P diamonds combined with a lack of ease of doing business when it comes to rough imports have damaged the overall sentiment.Owing to the consistent hostility from the Customs Department, many businesses have shifted their bases to China.

 On the other hand, exports of cut and polished lab-grown diamonds has doubled in April – December 2019 by 106 per cent to  $312 million from $155 million in the same period in 2018. The superlative increase in lab-grown diamonds exports indicate that the demand for the same is far from negligible in growing markets like the U.S. and China, countries to which India exports its C&P lab-grown diamonds. What is also interesting is the fact that the number of players who deal in manufacturing of C&P lab-grown diamonds has drastically increased. 

The only way ahead for the diamond industry is if the Government decides to show some benevolence in terms of creating more favourable policies (in terms of duty) and an aggressive strategy to market natural diamonds, not just in India, but globally.

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