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The vibrant IIJS fashion show is one of the fair's main attractions
The vibrant IIJS fashion show is one of the fair's main attractions

Indian jewellery industry upbeat despite global slowdown

The India International Jewellery Show closed yesterday (Monday) with organisers buoyant even though the industry is currently suffering. 
Visitors packed the aisles of the five-day event in Mumbai on the opening day (Thursday) and the show seemed busier than usual. In fact, at the international media conference the next day, Vipul Shah, chairman of Gems and Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC), the fair organisers, announced that by the first day the event had achieved 29,000 registrations, a far higher amount than previously recorded.
With final visitor numbers due shortly, the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) usually records slightly more than 30,000 attendees over the entire event, hence Shah believed the large increase in registrations held them in good stead for a record crowd.
That was the good news; he then had to deliver some bad news. 
Shah announced that the Indian gems and jewellery export market had fallen sharply by 40 per cent, from US$40 billion in June 2012, to just under US$24 billion by June 2013 (A$43.8b to A$26b).
“I can be open and frank and say that there has been a slowdown in the global market but I can say that the US market is currently picking up. The encouraging side is that they [US] are coming up with good numbers and consumer confidence is improving,” Shah said.
“We are expecting a large number of orders to come from the US and we have a lot of hope and dependence on that market,” he added.
Vipul Shah, chairman of IIJS
Vipul Shah, chairman of IIJS
Shah also said that diamond manufacturing had slowed because the prices of polished diamonds were no longer supported by the rising prices of rough. In addition, the rupee had declined by about 11 per cent against the US dollar since mid-May.
Shah conceded there were many reasons for the current slowdown, including the continuing financial crisis in Europe, but said: “We are quite confident that things are slowly changing and it will soon start to improve for the whole gems and jewellery industry.”
He predicted that although the current decline was around 40 per cent, and was being impacted by India’s current account deficit which had resulted in the government increasing the gold tax, the industry would recover by the end of the year to post a 15-20 per cent decline.
Regardless of the economic conditions, no one can accuse the Indian jewellery industry of not looking to the future. The GJEPC announced that it was providing considerable seed funding to the establishment of the World Diamond Mark, an international marketing and advertising fund. (See separate story)
The current problems with the Indian and international jewellery trade were not evident on the exhibition floor which was crowded over the first two days, though foot traffic does not necessarily translate into sales. However, this year’s show did seem busier than the past.
Another reason why the doom and gloom was not apparent was due to the enormous success of India International Jewellery Week (IIJW), a four-day consumer-focused event leading into the trade show.
The IIJW is a continuous catwalk style show combining jewellery and fashion and, of course Bollywood stars. Even though the venue seats well in excess of 1,000, it has become so popular that the final presentation – The Best of the Best – runs twice on the final night to cater for the demand for tickets.
Coleby Nicholson attended the IIJS courtesy of the fair organisers.
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