Lazy eyes listen
The diamond industry in India is proposing a two-month freeze in rough stone imports, according to local media, citing a joint statement from the country’s five largest trade associations.
The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Bharat Diamond Bourse, Surat Diamond Bourse, The Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association (MDMA), and the Surat Diamond Association met to make the decision. The proposed import halt will last until mid-December, but trade authorities have stated that they will examine the situation in the first week of December to see whether the restriction should be extended.
“It was suggested that members may be advised to halt import of rough diamonds beginning 15 October to 15 December 2023. It was assessed that halting imports of rough diamonds will help industry better manage the balance between demand and supply, thereby protecting the value of assets and increase consumer confidence,” the trade bodies said in a joint statement signed by Vipul Shah, chairman of GJEPC.
The move comes amid a sharp drop in exports of precious stones from India, which caused an oversupply of polished diamonds in the country’s inventories and, consequently, a slump in prices.
India’s polished diamond exports fell by more than 25% between January and August as demand for loose polished diamonds and jewellery from key consumers such as the United States and China has been materially affected, which is why we have appealed to our members to halt rough imports,” Shah said in response to the decision. He also stated that polished diamond prices are currently down around 15-20%.
The trade associations stressed that the action will be “voluntary,” rather than an obligatory import restriction.
India is the world’s largest rough diamond processor, cutting and polishing over 90% of the world’s stones. At the request of India’s GJEPC, one of India’s leading suppliers of raw stones, Russian mining giant Alrosa, temporarily suspended exports in September and October earlier this month. The decision was made in an attempt to address the oversupply.
This is not the first time India has taken action to block rough diamond shipments in order to stabilise the market. When trading nearly ceased due to Covid-19 pandemic-related lockdowns in 2020, the country’s diamond business followed similar actions.