Italy's nine-month jewellery exports up on Middle East and Asia demand
Italy's jewellery exports rose in value terms in the first nine months of last year, boosted by higher demand from Asia, the Middle East and the United States, as manufacturers look to design and innovation to help fuel growth. An industry report on Saturday showed that exports from Europe's top jewellery producer were up 6.9 percent in value from the same period of 2012 to 4.3 billion euros ($5.83 billion) despite a sharp fall in gold prices and a drop in volumes, a report released at the VicenzaORO trade fair showed.
Copyright Reuters, 2014
In terms of quantity, exports fell 1.4 percent to 3,173 tonnes, it said. "The full year (2013) should confirm these trends and we're upbeat on 2014 since key countries in the Middle East, the United States and China, though not India, are showing good growth signs," Vicenza trade fair managing director Corrado Facco told Reuters. Sales to the United Arab Emirates, which soaks up almost 22 percent of Italy's total export production, jumped by 35.4 percent in the year to September while business with China grew 4.3 percent and Hong Kong 11.2 percent. Sales to the United States grew 5.3 percent.
The UAE and Switzerland accounted for more than 40 percent of Italian jewellery exports in value terms in the period. France was the top importer in terms of quantity. Export-focused Italian jewellery is known for its design and quality but has lost its dominance as China, India and Turkish rivals undercut it on costs and improve the quality of their wares.
In response to the competition, Italy's jewellery industry is targeting top-end products where the price of the metal accounts for a lesser part of the value, focusing on design, brand and innovation. Domestic consumption remains weak as Italy's longest recession since World War II as well as political uncertainty take their toll. "Italian demand fell around 20 percent last year and remains weak because of the crisis and high taxes. We have to wait and see what the government can do to relaunch the economy," Facco said. He said he expected Italy's fragmented jewellery sector to consolidate, adding there was a lot of interest in Italian companies from foreign manufacturers.