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Italian jewellery exports drop 8.3 percent in 2008

MILAN, April 1, 2009 - Exports of jewellery from Italy, the world's top exporter, fell 8.3 percent in value terms to 4.38 billion euros in 2008 compared with a year earlier, due to the impact of the global economic crisis, industry body Club degli Orafi said.
The figure, which includes gold and other jewellery exports, was in line with an earlier estimate from Italy's major goldsmiths' association Federorafi
Club degli Orafi said revenues from exports to the United States showed a 30 percent decline due to the recession.
The United Arab Emirates emerged as the number one market for Italian jewellery exports, overtaking the United States.
Sales of Italian jewellery to the UAE rose by 24 percent in 2008, Club degli Orafi said.
"The continuing deterioration of the world economy, as is also evidenced by the further jump in gold prices, places more question marks over 2009, which looks like it will be an even tougher year for the Italian jewellery industry," Club degli Orafi said in a statement.

The Italian jewellery sector has faced severe competition in recent years from emerging economies where labour costs are lower.

"Prospects look bad at the start of 2009 and companies are suffering and worried in the face of an almost unprecedentedly uncertain and unpredictable situation," Club degli Orafi said.

"A turnaround depends on the one hand on the recovery of the world economy as a whole. On the other hand in this ‘economic war’ the survivors will be the companies with the most solid assets, able to modernise, restructure and innovate in terms of products and business practices."