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Long shadow likely on gem, jewellery exports

Neha Kapoor

MUMBAI, Sept. 14

THE terrorist attacks in the US will cast a long shadow on the country's gem and jewellery exports which are already experiencing a slump in business .

Apart from the immediate setback ensuing from order parcels being returned since Wednesday, the long-term outlook for gem and jewellery exports seems bleak.

``The US is the largest consumer of gem and jewellery exports from India. Tuesday's attack will have a severe effect on our exports,'' Mr Sanjay Kothari, Chairman, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told Business Line.

The US market, reportedly, accounts for $4 to 5 billion worth of exports of diamonds and jewellery from India. ``As it is, the market was going through a slump; we were expecting a recovery by year-end but the process will suffer a major setback on acco unt of these attacks'', he said

Mr Amar Kothari, Director Sales, Intergold, one of the largest exporters of gem and jewellery, said that at SEEPZ alone business has fallen by around Rs 200 crore from the beginning of the year till August.

``Usually, the August-September period is the busiest time for business in preparation for sales during Christmas. But this is Black September and things will be quite difficult now. The attacks will have a domino effect on the US markets and Indian jewe llery exports will definitely be hit. There will be sale of gift stuff for Christmas but people will not spend on jewellery,'' he said.

The industry was expecting to reap benefits because of duty on gem and jewellery exports being removed this year but that will not happen now, he added.

Mr Sangani, MD, Gitanjali Jewels, too, fears that trade will not pick up till next year. ``I think we are going to have a serious problem till Christmas this year. Right now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that all the orders that were pl aced earlier will be accepted. But we are definitely going in for a recession,'' he said.

``I think market should recover by July next year but this just a guesstimate and everything depends on whether the US declares war,'' said Mr Amar Kothari.

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