* Gold jewellery shipments rise for second month
* Climb comes as more banks allowed to import bullion
* Some Indian jewellers opening stores abroad
* Exports dropped around 40 pct in last fiscal year
(Adds comment, detail)
By Siddesh Mayenkar
MUMBAI, April 30 Gold jewellery exports from
India rose for a second straight month in March as raw material
supply improved after the central bank allowed more banks to
import bullion, with industry officials saying the upward trend
looks set to continue.
Struggling with a ballooning trade deficit, India last year
imposed a record duty of 10 percent on overseas purchases of
gold, the second-biggest expense in its import bill. That hit
gold jewellery exports, with shipments in the fiscal year that
ended in March dropping around 40 percent.
But the country shipped $992.03 million worth of gold
jewellery in March, up 6.1 percent year-on-year, the Gems and
Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said. It exported
$718.36 million worth of jewellery in February.
Indian jewellers such as Gitanjali Gems, Malabar Gold and
Kalyan Jewellers have opened stores abroad to limit the slump in
sales caused by the import rules.
"There is also a fair amount of demand so exports are rising
... We are releasing new designs and entering newer markets to
boost exports," said Rajesh Mehta, chairman of Rajesh Exports,
which mainly ships jewellery to Dubai.
"I expect a jump of 10-12 percent in India's gold jewellery
exports this fiscal year," said Mehta.
Several government officials, including the Reserve Bank of
India Governor Raghuram Rajan, have hinted at a gradual removal
of import restrictions as the current account deficit is under
control, a move that could coincide with the formation of a new
government after elections end this month.
Gold imports almost doubled in March to 50 tonnes after more
banks were allowed to import the yellow metal, a move that many
saw as the first significant step towards easing the tough
The amount of gold jewellery shipped by India is directly
related to its imports after the country enforced the so-called
80/20 rule in July, making it mandatory to export a fifth of all
"The outlook is very positive for exports as difficulties in
getting supplies have gone," Pankaj Kumar Parekh, vice-chairman
of GJEPC told Reuters.
SILVER AND GOLD
Gold jewellery exports from India dropped 39.6 percent to
$7.86 billion in the last fiscal year, while total gem and
jewellery exports also fell 11 percent to $34.75 billion.
Exporters are eyeing the outcome of the country's general
elections, with the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party
having spoken against the gold import restrictions.
Meanwhile, silver jewellery exports during the 12 months to
March 2014 rose 58.6 percent to $1.46 million from the year
before, and industry officials expect further growth.
"There is also a huge demand (for silver) in the
international market, so we expect a boom in silver jewellery
exports," said Parekh.
(Editing by Michael Perry and Joseph Radford)