The country’s gems and jewellery exports contracted by 8 percent to about $32.72 billion in 2017-18 owing to demand slowdown in major markets, including the U.S.
According to the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) data, exports stood at $35.47 billion in 2016-17. The labour-intensive sector contributes about 14 percent to the country's overall export.
The drop in shipments is mainly due to negative growth in the export of silver jewellery; gold medallions and coins along with a sharp rise in the return of consignments.
The industry has asked for support concerning increasing incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme to boost the shipments.
Exporters have also flagged concerns over blockage of working capital due to Goods and Services Tax, which is impacting exports.
As per the data, silver jewellery shipments in 2017-18 dipped by 15.8 percent to $3.39 billion.
Similarly, export of gold medallions and coins contracted by about 63.56 percent during the last financial year.
However, total gold jewellery shipments went up about 11 percent to $9.67 billion during the period.
Shipments of rough diamonds too reported a negative growth of about 5 percent. But exports of cut and polished diamonds grew by 4.17 percent to $23.74 billion in 2017-18.
India’s leading export destinations are the U.S., Europe, Japan and China. America accounts for about one-fourth of the country's total gems and jewellery exports.
During the last fiscal, consignments worth $8.26 billion were returned compared with $7.7 billion in 2016-17. China is the biggest competitor of India in the sector.
On the other hand, imports of gems and jewellery recorded a growth of 9.7 percent in 2017-18 to $31.52 billion.
Imports of rough diamonds and gold bars rose by 10.6 percent and 34.28 percent, respectively during the last financial year.