BANGKOK Dec 16 Thailand's gems and jewellery
exports will likely decline for a second straight year amid
increased competition and a global economic slowdown, Kasikorn
Bank's research firm said on Friday.
Thailand's jewellery segment has traditionally been a major
export revenue earner. The Southeast Asian country is a regional
manufacturing base known for its extensive network of diamond
and gems artisans.
But Thai exports of gems and jewellery, excluding gold,
would be down 3 percent this year, Pimonwan Mahujchariyawong,
senior economist at Kasikorn Research Center said in a note
emailed to Reuters. Shipments declined 1.6 percent in 2015.
"In 2017, growth of this sector would be limited because of
high market competition in the midst of a global economic
slowdown," she said.
Suttipong Damrongsakul, president of the Thai Gem and
Jewelry Traders Association, said some firms have shifted their
production bases away from Thailand to key rivals including
Vietnam and Myanmar where production costs are cheaper.
"We have skilled labour but production bases tend to shift
to places where costs are lower," Suttipong told Reuters.
Naruephon Noopan, a business investment specialist at
Gemopolis, an industrial estate in the Thai capital Bangkok that
hosts about 200 diamond, gems and jewellery firms, said Thailand
should focus on product design.
"We need to add sparkle by focusing more on product design
to create market value," said Naruephon.
(Reporting By Pairat Temphairojana; Editing by Amy Sawitta
Lefevre and Manolo Serapio Jr.)