Dubai: The ongoing blockade of Qatar by its neighbouring nations has raised concern among Indian jewellers who have operations in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Jewellers said sales dropped in the region because buyers from Qatar, who are known to prefer high value items, are absent from the market.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have cut off ties with Qatar.
"There has been a drop in gold jewellery off-take since the blockade was declared," said Mr. Rajiv Popley, director of Popley Group, which has presence in Dubai. "Qatar is a mature market as far as off-take of luxury items is concerned. Residents from Qatar buy a lot of jewellery from Dubai."
Mr. Saurabh Gadgil, chairman of PNG Jewellers said, "We have operations in Dubai as well. During Ramadan, purchases may not pick up, but post Eid people want to splurge in West Asia. We hope by that time the problem will be sorted out."
In the first quarter of 2017, gold demand in West Asia was 54.6 tonnes, almost the same as that a year ago, according to a World Gold Council report. Iran, however, saw a 27 per cent spurt in jewellery demand to a four-year high of 12.9 tonnes, helped by a growing economy.
Mr. Joy Alukkas, chairman of retail jewellery firm Joyalukkas group, which has a strong presence in West Asia, said that as of now there is no impact on the business because of the Qatar blockade. "We are keeping a close watch on the development in the GCC," he said. Praveen Shankar Pandya, chairman of Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council said, "Any disruption in the region will impact exports."