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Market Commentary

Vicenza – High end exporters flourish, Italian goldsmith sector struggles
By Tom Wildhern/September 9, 2008

VICENZA - High end wholesale jewellers continue to fare well in commodity-rich export markets, such as East Europe and the Gulf, but for the bulk of the Italian goldsmith export sector, markets remain difficult.

Top tier diamond jewellery exporters are holding ground in the United States and are doing well in Eastern Europe, although competition amongst jewellers is picking up in the Gulf, which has been targeted aggressively by exporters for its market potential because of the surge in oil-based wealth in the region.

However, with Italian gold jewellery exports down 15 percent by value year-on-year in the first half of 2008, the outlook for the rank and file Italian exporter looks extremely challenging, against fierce competition from low-cost gold jewellers in the developing world.

The market outlook for Italian gold jewellery exporters will be closely tied to the state of the world economy for the foreseeable future.

Design excellence and skilful marketing will help to some degree, but there is bound to be some impact from the gloomy macroeconomic forces battering the sector, notably volatile precious metals prices, soaring inflation, squeezed incomes, and worries over jobs.