By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
EXPORTS of gems and jewellery were expected to shrink 1 per cent due to the economic slowdown in many countries and the impact on consumer confidence, industry experts predicted.
“Gems and jewellery trading could face difficulties in many markets, as consumers are saving money to spend on other needs,” Vibul Hongsrichinda, president of the Thai Silver Exporters Association, said yesterday.
“However, sales of non-luxury items such as gemstones and fashion ornaments have continued to rise,” he said.
Trading of gems and jewellery, excluding gold, would be sluggish this year, but the sales outlook for next year would be brighter, he added.
With the boom in tourism, gems and jewellery sales in the domestic market are also increasing, he said.
The International Trade Promotion Department, however, expects gems and jewellery shipments to grow 10 per cent to US$7.89 billion (Bt278 billion) this year, emerging as one of the top five export champions of the country.
Malee Choklumlerd, director-general of the department, said sales of jewellery and ornaments to many overseas markets this year should grow strongly, as Thai gems are highly regarded for their quality and good designs.
Last year, exports of jewellery and ornaments reached $7.18 billion. In the first half of this year, exports of gems and jewellery excluding gold fell 1.3 per cent to $3.61 billion.
As part of the government’s policy to promote the gems and jewellery industry, the department will work to make the 58th Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair one of the world’s top three major trade exhibitions that international dealers should not miss. The event, from September 7-11 at Impact Muang Thong Thani, is expected to draw 30,000 visitors from around the world and generate Bt15 billion in immediate sales.