Diamond Trading Company
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The market for diamonds turned very quiet in July 2012, with unusual slowdown both in the domestic and export demand.
This fall in demand exerted considerable pressure on prices of both the rough and polished diamonds. Besides the shrinkage in business, this led to accumulation of stocks as well as money stringency.
Manufacturing Activity Plummets:
A number of small manufacturing units in various parts of Saurashtra (Gujarat) were reported to have rolled down their shutters, while larger ones located in Surat and elsewhere were reported to be operating at very reduced levels. Continued weakness of the Indian rupee also added to the industry's problems.
Lack of Adequate Demand:
According to trade sources, the main problem faced by this business currently is lack of adequate demand even at reduced prices. During the first six or seven months of 2011, almost every one wanted to buy diamonds even at continuously rising prices. However, when prices were down, it was becoming difficult to locate buyers.
Reduced Demand for Rough:
Indicating the difficult situation facing the industry at present, trade circles said, that certain sightholders were reportedly reluctant to lift the allotments made to them at the June DTC Sight. Also, some of them were of the view that under the present subdued demand for diamonds, it would be better for producers to restrict rough supplies.
Discounts in Secondary Market:
Meanwhile, some sight-boxes were reported to be selling at varying discounts in the secondary market. Prices of rough diamonds obtained from other sources were also reduced considerably.
Polished Offtake Subdued:
Polished prices were also subdued. One of the reasons for this was that the domestic demand was down in view of the absence of auspicious wedding days, according to astrologers, until November 2012. Moreover the overseas demand was also quite weak. Until recently, Hong Kong had been an important overseas buyer of polished diamonds, but its offtake had also come down of late, probably in view of economic slowdown in China. Furthermore, there were reports about some slowdown in the demand for diamond-studded Swiss watches. That naturally caused some concern to diamond manufacturers who were supplying small polished diamonds for that industry.
Severe Job Losses:
Almost until recently, the diamond manufacturing industry had been complaining about shortage of diamond workers. That was because many workers who lost their jobs earlier during the lean period, did not return, as they were absorbed elsewhere. Manufacturing units tried their best to recruit fresh workers. Suddenly, the business conditions deteriorated further in the industry and more workers again lost their jobs.
Severe Setback in External Demand:
The fact that the overseas demand for cut and polished diamonds from India has suffered a severe setback is clear from the fact that shipments of cut and polished diamonds from the country in the first quarter of 2012-13 have been just around US$ 4,045.70 million (Rs. 21,902.41 crore), compared with US$ 6,517.79 million (Rs. 29,145.02 crore) in the same period of the earlier year, showing a sharp decline of 37.93 per cent in dollar terms and 24.85 per cent in rupees.
Rough Imports Impacted:
Imports of rough diamonds during the period amounted to US$ 3,911.69 (Rs. 21,065.69 crore), compared with US$ 4,344.79 million (Rs. 19,429.39 crore) in the same period of the preceding year showing a decline of 9.97 per cent in dollar terms but an increase of 8.42 per cent in rupees.
Gold Jewellery Exports Upswing:
Net exports of gold jewellery for the first quarter of 2012.13, however, rose to US$ 5,511.95 million (Rs. 30,140.85 crore), compared with US$ 3,782.01 million (Rs. 16,918.54 crore), in the same period of the earlier year, revealing a rise of 45.74 per cent in dollar-terms and 78.15 per cent in rupees.
Hopes that the US Federal Reserve might announce some stimulus seemed to be providing support to bullion at present. In the overseas market, gold was placed on July 17 at US$ 1,587.8 per ounce, while silver was quoted at US$ 27.28 per ounce. In the domestic market while standard gold was placed around Rs. 29,220 per 10 grammes, silver was traded around Rs. 52,860 per kg.
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