Indian trade bodies call for two-month halt to rough diamond imports

LONDON/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s diamond trade bodies have urged their own members to halt imports of rough diamonds for two months to manage supplies and aid prices amid slow demand, a letter seen by Reuters says.

The letter from five organisations including India’s Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) calls for rough diamond imports to be halted between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15, to “better manage the balance between demand and supply, thereby protecting the value of assets and increase consumer confidence.”

Exports of gems and jewellery by India – which cuts and polishes 90% of the world’s rough diamonds in an industry that employs millions of people – fell nearly 4.4% to $12.4 billion by value between April to August this year, compared with the year before, according to government data.

Exports were affected by relatively muted demand for polished diamonds from major consumers, the United States and China.

Earlier this month, Russian diamond producer Alrosa suspended rough diamond supply for September and October after a request from India’s GJEPC.

GJEPC has also asked top diamond producer De Beers, a unit of Anglo American, to restrict supplies. In response De Beers pledged to “provide complete flexibility to all their clients.”

The moves come as the Group of Seven (G7) countries is expected to announce an import ban on Russian diamonds soon to help tighten a squeeze on Russia’s capacity to finance the war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt in London and Shivangi Acharya in New Delhi; Editing by David Holmes)