Gem and jewellery exports set for further growth

Gem and jewellery exports set for further growth

Thailand's gem and jewellery exports are expected to fare better than expected this year despite increasing challenges, including the slowing economies of key trading partners, uncertain economic prospects, persistently high inflation caused by the energy crisis and the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to Sumeth Prasongphongchai, director of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), the industry is more active this year, driven by accelerated demand and investment expansion of gemstone and diamond mines to refill stocks which significantly declined during the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years.

The outstanding export products are silver, gold jewellery, artificial cut diamonds, and hard and soft gemstones.

"Overall gem and jewellery exports were found to have increased gradually since last year," said Mr Sumeth. "We expect the growth momentum will be maintained throughout this year, with exports expected to outstrip the 20% projection for 2022 made earlier this year."

Last year, Thailand's gem and jewellery exports, excluding gold, rose by 26.9% over the previous year to reach US$6.16 billion. When including gold, which is volatile, exports decreased by 44.8% last year to $10 billion.

Markets that saw strong export growth included the UK (up by 135% year-on-year), Switzerland (up 70.4%), India (up 60.7%), the US (up 51.3%), the United Arab Emirates (up 29.8%), Belgium (up 21.2%), Australia (up 10.7%) and Japan (up 6.49%).

Important export products that recorded significant growth were platinum jewellery (up 51.9%), polished hard gems (up 38.5%), polished and cut diamonds (up 35.1%), gold jewellery (up 31.8%), silver (up 24.1%), silver jewellery (up 21.7%), sapphires (up 17.4%) and polished artificial jewellery (up 9.7%).

Gem and jewellery exports ranked fifth in total shipment value last year, trailing automobiles and auto parts, computers and parts, rubber products, and plastic pellets. The industry employs more than 700,000 people.

In the first five months of this year, gem and jewellery exports rose 46.9% year-on-year to $3.28 billion. Including gold, shipments soared by 114% to $7.58 billion driven by a recovery in tourism and a weaker baht.

Markets with healthy export growth include India, Switzerland and Italy, with shipments increasing by 158%, 124% and 104%, respectively, in the first five months.

In a related development, Mr Sumeth said GIT vows to continue building up consumer confidence in the quality and standard of the country's gems and jewellery through the promotion of the "Buy With Confidence" scheme offering GIT certification.

The scheme allows consumers to check the quality and authenticity of gems and jewellery products before making any purchase. Amid the global economic slowdown, there are a lot of consumer complaints regarding fake gemstones, gold and diamonds.

In terms of online purchases, he said GIT is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding with eBay to promote the Buy with Confidence scheme during the 67th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair set for Sept 7-11 at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

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