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India to End Freeze on Rough Imports

December 6, 2023  |  Joshua Freedman
Employee using loupe to analyse rough diamond, Kimberley 1280 USED 061223

Leaders of India’s diamond industry have decided to stop the country’s voluntary rough-import pause on December 15, citing an improvement in market conditions.

Senior trade figures came to the decision at a meeting on Tuesday, agreeing not to extend the freeze beyond its planned end date, Vipul Shah, chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told Rapaport News Wednesday.

A strengthening of sales in the US ahead of the holidays and a reduction in manufacturers’ inventories have put the sector in a better position than when the two-month moratorium began, Shah explained. The GJEPC will urge miners and manufacturers to remain cautious about how much rough enters the supply chain, he added.

The GJEPC and four other Indian organizations issued a plea in late September calling for the country’s diamond industry to stop importing rough for two months beginning October 15. At the time, the trade bodies said they would review the situation in the first week of December before deciding how to proceed.

They also stressed that the pause was not mandatory, and some companies have continued to bring rough into the country. India’s rough-diamond imports rose 9% year on year to $1.02 billion in October, partly reflecting activity in the first half of the month.

Polished prices stabilized last month, with the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat stones rising 0.8%. It was still down 20.7% for the year to date.

“The natural-diamond oversupply situation, which has been pressuring retail prices, is beginning to abate,” Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos said Tuesday in an earnings call for investors.

Image: Rough diamonds under a loupe. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)

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Employee using loupe to analyse rough diamond, Kimberley 1280 USED 061223 India to End Freeze on Rough Imports

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