Indian gold jewellery exports surge; local demand drives imports




India’s gold jewellery industry – which was hit hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – experienced a surge in exports and domestic sales in 2021 with positive indicators pointing towards rebound and recovery.

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) reported that gold jewellery exports have increased by 49.88 per cent at $US8.8 billion ($AU12.07 billion) from January to December 2021 when compared with the same period in 2020 at $US5.9 billion ($AU8.09 billion).

However, studded gold jewellery exports in 2021 surpassed pre-COVID period sales dollars marked by an increase of 102 per cent at $US5 billion ($AU6.8 billion) when measured against 2019 figures at $US3.4 billion ($AU4.66 billion).

Plain gold jewellery also increased by 10.7 per cent in 2021 at $US3.7 billion ($AU5.07 billion) when compared with $US3.37 billion ($AU4.62 billion) in 2020.

According to Colin Shah, chairman, GJEPC, “We are witnessing a correction in import/export of gold that was affected due to the pandemic.

“During 2020, due to the restrictions in key sourcing countries for gold imports, there was a shortage of yellow metal supplied to India which resulted in de-stocking by the country’s jewellery manufacturers.”

Shah pointed out that as pandemic-related restrictions gradually eased worldwide in 2021, “the disrupted supply of gold was corrected and jewellery manufacturers in India could replenish their exhausted stock.”

India imported 1,067.7 tonnes of gold in 2021 which surpassed the 836.38 tonnes imported during the 2019 pre-COVID period.

Gold imports in 2020 dropped to an all-time low at 430.11 tonnes during the height of the pandemic when travel restrictions and lockdown measures were at their peak.

“The past decade has seen India’s gold imports come close to the year-prior figure,” Shah added, noting that the volume of gold imported in 2021 “is comparable to gold imports of 1047 tonnes in 2015 and 1032 tonnes in 2017.”

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