Jewellery exports beat sector slump
Shipments projected for over 1% growth
Despite tepid performance in the country's overall exports, gem and jewellery shipments are expected to eke out growth this year.
Banjongjitt Angsusingh, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said the department remains upbeat that gem and jewellery shipments including gold will grow by more than 1% from last year's US$12 billion, which was up 4.7% from 2017.
"Thai gems and jewellery are still valued for their superior craftsmanship and design quality," Ms Banjongjitt said.
"More importantly, Thai gems and jewellery have product variety."
Gem and jewellery exports including gold rank third in the country's total export value, trailing automotive/parts and computers/parts.
The industry employs more than 1.2 million workers nationwide.
According to the department's figures, outbound shipments of gems and jewellery including gold rose by 29.3% in the first seven months of this year to $9.02 billion, with key export markets including Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US and India.
The Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association earlier forecast Thailand's gem and jewellery exports could grow by as much as 5-10% this year, as the market is focused on the high-end and mid-market segments.
Thailand ranks No.1 in global silver jewellery shipments, with the US the biggest destination market.
In addition, Thailand is one of the biggest exporters of coloured stone products to China and a leading gold jewellery exporter.
Thailand's gem and jewellery exports could fetch more than 10% growth every year if local manufacturers upgrade innovation, marketing and branding, as import tariffs on most raw materials are near zero, according to the association.
The International Trade Promotion Department organised the 64th edition of the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair at Impact Muang Thong Thani during Sept 10-14.