Declining for the fourth month in a row, gems and jewellery exports in February fell by 4.15 per cent to USD 3.59 billion due to sluggish demand in key markets such as the US and Europe.
The exports were at USD 3.74 billion in February 2013.
According to exporters, the overseas shipments are also contracting due to the curbs imposed by the government on gold imports. The imports declined 71.4 per cent, year-on-year, to USD 1.63 billion in February.
The gems and jewellery sector accounts for over 15 per cent of the country's total exports.
For the 11-month period of the 2013-14 fiscal, the shipments have declined by 7.15 per cent, year-on-year, to USD 35.73 billion, an official in the commerce ministry said.
After registering a growth of 21.8 per cent in October, gems and jewellery exports started contracting. In January, the exports were down by 24.4 per cent.
In order to curb the current account deficit (CAD), the government has taken several steps to contain gold imports. It has raised import duty to 10 per cent on the metal and also made it mandatory for traders to export 20 per cent of the imported gold, thereby creating supply crunch in the domestic market.
The local supply shortage has hit exports as well with volumes declining on a monthly basis.
Gems and jewellery exports sector employs 1.5 million people.
The Commerce Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to relax curbs on gold imports.