Gem exports regain glitter
5% gain in shipments foreseen for this year
Thai gem and jewellery exports are expected to recover, growing at least 5% this year because of an economic recovery among big global buyers and the government's recently approved tax incentives.
Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Thai Gem and Jewellery Traders Association, said the industry was estimated to fetch US$7.5 billion worth of shipments this year, an increase of over 5% from 2015 when shipments were flat.
"We're seeing a gradual recovery in the key markets like the US, India and China, as well as the Middle East, which has started to see improving purchasing power," he said.
"The Thai government's tax incentives will also give a boon to Thai shipments."
The cabinet on Feb 9 approved value-added tax waivers for unprocessed gemstone imports and a personal income tax exemption for individual traders who sell such gemstones. The move aims to help promote the country's gems and jewellery industry.
The importation of gemstones is essential as domestic supplies cannot meet commercial and industrial demand.
There are 15,777 gem and jewellery entrepreneurs, 90% of whom are small and medium-sized enterprises, with 1.3 million workers employed.
To promote Thai gems and jewellery, the Commerce Ministry is holding the 57th Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair, a five-day event that runs until Feb 28.
Last February, the fair received over 30,000 visitors from more than 130 countries, including buyers from Dubai, Russia, China, Bahrain, Brazil and Canada. The biannual event is regarded as the world's fifth-largest and Asia's second-largest trade show for gems and jewellery.
In a separate development, Pranda Jewelry Plc, a SET-listed jewellery manufacturer and exporter, said yesterday its operating results were expected to bounce back to the positive this year, with revenues set to grow by 20%.
Chanat Sorakraikitikul, Pranda's chief financial officer, said the company envisaged improving purchasing power in key buying countries after various concerns have stabilised, including the Chinese and US economies as well as oil prices.
For the first nine months of last year, the company reported sales revenue dropped by 17.3% year-on-year to 1.97 billion baht because of a lower production base in Thailand and of those in Europe and the US.
For the period, the company posted a net loss of 24.3 million baht, an improvement from a net loss of 65.1 million baht in the same period a year earlier.