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The country's gem and jewellery exports contracted by 38.10 per cent in July to USD 1.35 billion (around Rs 10,185 crore) due to weak global demand on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

The exports stood at USD 2.2 billion (around Rs 15,112 crore) in July last year.

The labour-intensive sector contributes about 15 per cent of the country's overall exports.

GJEPC chairman Colin Shah had recently stated that there was a steady decline in exports as the demand has been going down following global economic slowdown and several restrictions in many countries to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

During April-July this fiscal, the exports dipped by 50.36 per cent to USD 4.11 billion as against USD 8.27 billion in the same period last year.

The decline in shipments is mainly due to negative growth in the export of gold jewellery, and coloured gemstones.

As per the data, gold jewellery exports during the first four months of 2020-21 declined by 73.62 per cent to USD 494.92 million.

Similarly, outbound shipments of coloured gemstones contracted 69 per cent during the period.

But, exports of silver jewellery grew to USD 510.8 million during April-July this fiscal from USD 252.64 million in April-July 2019-20.

India's main export destinations are the US, Europe, Japan and China. The US accounts for about one-fourth of the country's total gems and jewellery exports During the four months, imports of gems and jewellery declined by 69.8 per cent USD 1.53 billion.

Import of rough diamonds during April-July 2020 too dipped by 81.63 per cent to USD 712.55 million.

The newly-appointed GJEPC Chairman has said that he will focus on promoting ease of doing business for the sector as it would help in pushing manufacturing and exports both.

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