The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT) has forecast a bright future for Thai precious stone exports in 2022.
The positive projection came after data showed January exports reached $767.48 million, a leap of 50.89% from the previous month. Jewellery contributed to 3.61% of Thai exports in January.
Excluding unrefined gold, the export value of the sector reached $580.29 million for a 48.16% increase. These figures indicate recovery in the sector following a slump brought about by the global pandemic.
Positive factors affecting the gem and jewellery industry during the month include the recovering global economy and expanded COVID vaccine coverage in Thailand.
Markets that saw strong export growth included the UK (up by 135% from last year), Switzerland (up 70.4%), India (up 60.7%), the US (up 51.3%), the United Arab Emirates (up 29.8%), Belgium (up 21.2%), Australia (up 10.7%) and Japan (up 6.49%).
Important export products that recorded growth were platinum jewellery (up 51.9%), polished hard gems (up 38.5%), polished and cut diamonds (up 35.1%), gold jewellery (up 31.8%), silver (up 24.1%), silver jewellery (up 21.7%), sapphires (up 17.4%) and polished artificial jewellery (up 9.7%).
Gem and jewellery exports are Thailand’s third-largest export category by value, trailing automotive and parts and computer components. In 2019, gem and jewellery exports, including gold, exceeded US$15.7 billion, up 30.3% from 2018 (486 billion baht, up 26.6%). Key export markets included ASEAN, India, the Middle East, and Hong Kong. The industry employs more than 700,000 workers according to the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT)
The institute noted, however, that the Omicron COVID variant, inflation, increasing household debt, the income gap and the ongoing war in Ukraine continue to be major negative factors for the sector.
It also recommended that dealers consider relying more on e-commerce to stay afloat and capitalize on the rising popularity of online shopping trends.
The economy of Thailand is dependent on exports, which accounted in 2019 for about sixty per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Thailand itself is a newly industrialized country, with a GDP of 16.316 trillion baht (US$505 billion) in 2018, the 8th largest economy of Asia, according to the World Bank.