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7 Feb, 2020 11:36

India’s struggling diamond industry could be hurt further due to coronavirus outbreak

India’s struggling diamond industry could be hurt further due to coronavirus outbreak

Supplies of India’s cut and polished diamonds to its biggest export market Hong Kong have fallen 23 percent in the nine months to December from a year earlier to $5.4 billion.

Data showed that the country’s total exports of gems and jewelry to Hong Kong were down nine percent to $7.4 billion in the period.

According to India’s Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council, the outbreak of coronavirus is expected to decrease the overall exports of India’s diamonds.

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“Exports to Hong Kong during this quarter would be significantly down,” the council’s Vice Chairman Colin Shah told Bloomberg. “December was better so we all felt that it would recover, but from January onward the coronavirus issue has surfaced.”

“So January exports have been hit and it may take at least a month or two to recover, as we have seen in the past during the SARS virus when it took a quarter to recover,” he added.

Eighty percent of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in India, where the industry employs a million people. The country’s polishers are the link between African mines and jewelry stores in New York, London and Hong Kong.

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The diamond industry has been already crippled by the anti-government protests in Hong Kong and the US-China trade war, gem producers say. They have been raising concerns about their businesses, saying all of those factors will continue hurting consumer demand and the country’s overall diamond industry.

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