x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Pearl trade bucks trend in jewellery

The pearl trade in Dubai bucks the slowdown in jewellery sales, rising by about 5 per cent to Dh99.6 million last year.

The pearl trade in Dubai has bucked the decline in jewellery sales caused by consumers cutting back on luxuries in the economic slowdown. Trade in pearls, once the biggest generator of revenue for the emirate, advanced by about 5 per cent to Dh99.6 million (US$27.1m) last year, from Dh95m in 2008. The figures were relatively flat compared with the growth experienced by the industry in recent years, as the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority (DMCCA) aimed to revitalise the traditional trade in the UAE. In 2007, sales of natural and cultured loose pearls were Dh22m.

But pearl sales were a bright spot for Dubai-based jewellery retailers, who saw their overall business decline by up to 30 per cent, said Chetan Karani, the managing director of Pearl Enterprises and the deputy managing director of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group. "What we see is that in 2009, for jewellery in general, it was a very difficult year," Mr Karani said. "If [the DMCCA] is showing an increase in pearl sales, I think that's commendable. Everywhere else though, we're seeing substantial drops in business by about 20 to 30 per cent."

Boosting the pearl trade in Dubai was a 30 per cent rise in imports. The growth in the trade was also due to a rise of about 50 per cent in the natural pearls segment. dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae