Diamond business bleeds in Surat due to Ukraine War, down by 55%
Over one lakh diamond workers in Surat have lost their jobs
Surat (Gujarat) : Women in the United States and Europe, traditionally the world’s two largest consumer markets for diamond jewellery, appear to have shied away from the stones’ glimmering sparkle. Thanks to the ongoing war in Ukraine, diamond business in the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat is down by almost 55% due to highly depressed demand from the international markets.
The last two weeks have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases in China, the world’s third-largest consumer market for diamond jewellery, as a result of the loosening of Covid restrictions. While China receives about 20% of the polished diamonds exported from Surat and Mumbai, the USA and Europe receive a whopping 65% of the total.
Over one lakh diamond workers in Surat have lost their jobs, according to the Diamond Workers Union of Gujarat (DWUG), an umbrella organisation of diamond workers in Gujarat. Diamond factories have slashed output by one-fifth due to weak international demand, leaving diamond workers unemployed or earning less.
At least one lakh diamond workers have lost their jobs in the last fortnight, according to Bhavesh Tank, vice president of DWUG, who made this statement to The Blunt Times. Due to low demand in international markets for polished diamonds, “the vast majority of workers have no choice but to accept lower wages.”
There may be a significant number of layoffs in the diamond industry in 2023, according to Tank’s estimates. We brought up the issue of diamond workers’ unemployment and massive job losses before the Gujarat Assembly Elections. Surat’s diamond trade is emerging from a difficult period brought on by the conflict in Ukraine. It is time for the Central and state governments to announce aid for the diamond industry in Gujarat, said Tank.
Nilesh Bodara alias Bodki, a diamond manufacturer in Varachha, Surat said, “Ukraine war has cast a dark shadow on Surat’s diamond industry. While the prices of rough diamonds have skyrocketed, the polished diamond prices are falling with each passing day. Our business is down by almost 45% compared to previous year”
In Saurashtra region, where tens of hundreds of small and medium diamond cutting and polishing units are operating, are facing even tougher days. Scores of diamond workers have been left without work as the diamond units in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Visavadar, etc. are not getting job work from the diamantaires in Surat.