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Exports Restart at India’s Bharat Diamond Bourse

May 14, 2020 8:53 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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RAPAPORT... Mumbai has dispatched its first diamond exports since India’s lockdown started, after the regional government allowed limited activities to resume at the city’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).

The first shipments took place on Tuesday, with 80% to 85% of the goods destined for Hong Kong, BDB president Anoop Mehta told Rapaport News Thursday. The rest went to Dubai, Antwerp, the US and Thailand, he noted.

The BDB is the heart of Mumbai’s diamond trade, as all exports must go through the Precious Cargo Customs Clearance Centre (PCCCC) located within the bourse complex. On Monday, the Maharashtra state government allowed members of the exchange to enter the site to manage shipments, enabling them to trim a backlog of orders resulting from coronavirus-related restrictions.

Companies must limit their workforces to 10% of capacity and enforce social distancing, and may only remain in the bourse for the time it takes to fulfill their existing export commitments.

“We are glad to inform [that] export has been successfully commenced from…PCCCC by following all the safety norms,” Sabyasachi Ray, executive director of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), said in a note to members on Tuesday.

Surat, India’s polishing hub, began exporting on April 29 after the government allowed manufacturing and shipments to recommence. Those initial parcels were Hong Kong-bound, but India’s next batches of exports are likely to reach a broader range of destinations as trade routes reopen, Mehta explained.

Belgium’s imports and exports have resumed, while Dubai, Thailand and parts of the US market are also able to accept goods, he noted.

“It’s not a question of demand — it’s a question of which centers are open,” Mehta said.

With exports restarting, India’s diamond trade is also expected to reduce its rough intake significantly.

Last month, the GJEPC and other industry bodies urged members to pause rough imports voluntarily for 30 days, beginning this Friday, to avoid an oversupply. Following that plea, De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said it was “counterproductive” for anyone to “compel” the miner’s clients not to buy, and assured manufacturers the company wouldn’t require them to make purchases.

“There’s no compulsion,” Ray said Thursday in an interview with Rapaport News. “We did an assessment based on the extraordinary situation, and we [told] members that this was our assessment.”

Image: The Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai. (Rapaport News)
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Tags: Anoop Mehta, Antwerp, BDB, Bharat Diamond Bourse, Bruce Cleaver, Dubai, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, GJEPC, Hong Kong, Joshua Freedman, Maharashtra, mumbai, PCCCC, Precious Cargo Customs Clearance Centre, Rapaport News, Sabyasachi Ray, thailand, US
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