Stéphane Fischler, President of the International Diamond Council, founding member of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers, Vice President of the World Diamond Council and President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre talks to Manisha Gupta on India's CNBC-TV18. He shared his view of the Indian diamond industry and the road ahead for its diamond market. An abbreviated version:
CNBC: How do you see diamond consumption growth in India?
"Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, called on India to show reciprocity in its trade relationship with the United States," writes eponymous Rapaport News of their founder's “State of Diamond Industry” presentation at GJEPC's "Mines to Market" conference yesterday, marking 50 years of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
India's polished diamond trade appears to making a solid recovery as it gains distance on November's demonitization shock. The country exported $2.41 billion of cut and polished diamonds in February 2017, a rise of 3.27% as compared to the $2.34 bn in the same month a year earlier, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). More telling, however, is that February exports increased 49% over January 2017 ($1.6b) and were 63% higher than December 2016 (1.48b).
Canadian mining company Dominion Diamond Corp. received a $1.1 billion bid from a privately held conglomerate in Montana, but the two sides are at a negotiating impasse, setting the stage for a public takeover fight, writes The Wall Street Journal.
Diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky, author of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, provides his thoughts on the recent struggles of diamond mining stocks. Given what is now being widely considered as a recovery and stabilization of the diamond industry last year, an optimistic post-election U.S.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA has postponed initiation of investment diamonds trading on the Moscow Exchange until summer 2017, the company told Russian news agency TASS. "The Investment Diamonds project launch deadline is postponed in connection with the need to work out its implementation mechanisms in greater detail. We are working to address interests of all market participants and offer a liquid investment and saving mechanism to investors. The project will start in summer 2017," the official spokesperson of Alrosa said.
The Lulo alluvial diamond venture in Angola has declared US$8 million in a combined distribution and capital repayment, and Lucapa Diamond - as operator and funder of both the Lulo alluvial mining and kimberlite exploration programs – will be entitled to receive a gross amount of US$5.6 million (A$7.3 million), the company writes in an ASX statement.
Antwerp's rough diamond trade continued its steady climb in the month of February, as the volume of rough exports from Antwerp increased 17% from January, while imports increased over 23% compared to the month before, according to figures from Antwerp World Diamond Centre. The value of those exports reflected the lower-priced nature of the goods, as the dollar value of rough exports only increased 6%, while the value of rough imports actually fell 5% despite the increases in volume.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA today (Tuesday) announced that it prepaid a $600 million bank loans received from VTB Bank in 2012 and extended in 2014 until October 2018. ALROSA paid back the bank loan with its own cash funds, thus reducing its debt on loans and borrowings to $1.7 billion, while its average interest rate decreased from 6.6% to 6.3%. ALROSA has made it a priority in recent years to cut down its outstanding loans.
Stellar Diamonds plc, the London listed diamond development company focused on West Africa, has signed an agreement to operate the Tonguma mine in Sierra Leone, adjacent to the company’s own Tongo mine.
The Antwerp diamond industry is readying to send a large delegation to the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show next week, February 28 - March 4. The Antwerp Diamond Pavilion, organized by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), will host over 80 companies and occupy nearly 1,200 square meters of the Diamond Hall at the AsiaWorld-Expo. As an additional feature this year, exhibitors at the Antwerp Diamond Pavilion will have the opportunity to screen their diamond parcels using HRD Antwerp's
Anglo American and De Beers' 2016 Annual Financial Results (preliminary) confirm a solid rebound from 2015 for the rough diamond giant, with annual revenues increasing 30% to $6.1 billion from $4.7 billion, on the back of a 37% rise in rough diamond sales, which reached $5.6 billion.
Petra Diamonds Limited has announced strong results for the six months to 31 December 2016 (H1 2017), with rough diamond production, revenues and carats sold all seeing substantial increases. Revenues were up 48% to US$228.5 million (H1 FY 2016: US$154.0 million) or US$217.6 excluding exceptional diamonds, with net profit after tax up more than 35% to US$35.2 million (H1 FY 2016: US$2.2 million loss) and an EBITDA margin of 38% (H1 FY 2016: 31%), indicating increased profitability. Petra's carats sold in the first half jumped 47% to 1.9 Mcts.
Lucara Diamond Corp., which runs the Karowe Mine in Botswana and holds multiple exploration licences in the region, reports record earnings - and dividends - for the year 2016. Revenues increased 32% to $295.5 million from $223.8 million in 2015, with its EBITDA surging 38% to $184.4 million on the back of a 40% rise in price per carat achieved: $824 per carat compared to $593 per carat a year ago. However, net income declined 9% to $70.7 million in 2016, mainly due to a foreign-exchange loss of $11 million compared with a gain of $15 million a year earlier, the company.
Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) of New York is moving to the International Gem Tower on West 47th Street in New York City, from its longtime home at 580 Fifth Ave. President Reuven Kaufman said the move is, "critical to the future success and stability of the diamond industry on 47th Street in New York." The DDC's new home will be approximately 17,500 square feet on the 11th floor, including a new open trading floor with state of the art technical facilities, cafeteria and break area, according to a statement.
The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the government provide an international airport at Surat as soon as possible to facilitate smooth imports and exports of polished and rough diamonds, write The Times of India. Estimates are that polished diamonds worth $21 billion are processed in Surat and exported to various countries via Mumbai every year, while India imports approximately $14 billion in rough diamonds annually.
The Angolan state diamond company, Endiama, said it is currently negotiating with its partner ALROSA for the financing of the Luaxe kimberlite project and will not seek additional investors, reports Macauhub. The Luaxe Kimberlite was discovered in 2012 when Endiama and ALROSA carried out the correlation study to identify Angola's diamond potential. The geological research points to reserves evaluated at 350 million carats and a mining lifespan of 30 years.
Antwerp's rough diamond trade surged again in the month of January, as the dollar value of rough exports from the diamond capital rose 30% while imports kept pace with a 31% increase compared to the same period in a year ago, according to figures from Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Volumes were up as well, with Antwerp exporting nearly 18% more carats than in January 2016, while rough imports increased by 36%.
Last year Rio Tinto’s diamond revenue slid 12%, leading them to review their plans to extend the life of the Argyle diamond mine, considering the global demand for rough had otherwise strengthened, writes The West Australian. Rio Tinto spent $US2.5 billion expanding the Argyle mine below ground with an expected lifespan reaching 2021. Should they decide not to continue with the planned underground extension, the mine’s closure could come considerably sooner. They are yet to announce whether they will continue with the second stage of the underground block cave at the East Kimberley mine.
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) organized an alternative financing seminar this week - Diamond Financing 2017: New Opportunities New Realities - at the WFDB Presidents’ meeting 2017, which was held in Mumbai. Many important members of the industry were in attendance, including Sudhir Mungantiwar, Maharashtra’s Minister of Finance. At the inaugural session, many expressed their concern about the lack of bank financing, such as Anoop Mehta, President of the Bharat Diamond Bourse.
Russia’s largest cut diamonds producer Kristall was included into the 2017-2019 privatization plan, a source familiar with privatization plans told Russia's TASS News Agency on Thursday. Kristall is Russia’s largest producer of polished diamonds and one of the largest diamond cutting companies across the globe.
After a difficult 2015, the Antwerp diamond industry recorded a 5% increase in trade in 2016, according to a press release from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). This past year, a total of 48 billion USD worth of diamonds were imported to and exported from Antwerp. "The rough diamond market in particular is clearly making a strong recovery. This is positive sign, given that the rough diamond trade is the foundation and heart of the diamond trade.
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Praveen Shankar Pandya told the Press Trust of India he expects gem and jewellery exports to likely witness growth of about 10 percent this fiscal year due to increasing demand in the US and Europe. "We are seeing the markets improve slowly, especially US and Europe to some extent. Looking at the growth in demand in these markets, we are expecting close to 10 per cent growth in the gems and jewellery exports led by polished diamonds," said Pandya.
While it is early days for an already turbulent and unpredictable Trump administration, news that the White House has floated the idea of introducing a border tax on imports from Mexico is likely causing anxiety among retailers that rely on such imports.
In the upcoming eighth edition of BrilliAnt, the three-day Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair (ADTF), more than 95 exhibitors are expecting to receive hundreds of retail jewelers, leading designers, trend-setters and diamond buyers. The fair, which takes place from Sunday, 29 to Tuesday 31 January will be hosted in the historic trading halls of the Antwerp Diamond Bourses. It is a joint initiative of the Bourse, Club and the Antwerp Diamond Kring, and is powered by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
Southern African diamond mining, development and exploration company DiamondCorp announced last week it would raise £1million ($1.23M) through a placing at 4p ($0.05). The South African-focused diamond miner initiated the funding round as a first step in pulling its Lace mine out of Business Rescue, and now reports that the placing is progressing well. They have extended the closing date for the round of funding that will bring its diamond mine out of the South African equivalent of administration.
From De Beers' press release: Speaking at a reception for customers of its Global Sightholder Sales business during the first Sight of 2017, Bruce Cleaver, De Beers Group CEO, today highlighted the importance of all parts of the diamond sector working together, following the unpredictable events of a volatile year in 2016.
India's polished diamond exports were sailing along quite nicely in 2016, having put the significant downturn of 2015 squarely behind and having nearly returned to 2014 and 2013 levels, until the bottom fell out in November as exports dropped 53% from $2.52 billion in October to $1.18 billion in November. According to statistics from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), polished exports bounced back in December, increasing 25% from November to reach $1.48 billion, but does not indicate a full return to health.
Dubai has imposed a 5% import duty (from 0.36%) on gold and diamond jewelry as of January 2017, opening the debate on who will win or lose: India's exporters of said jewelry, or their domestic market purveyors and consumers; local manufacturers in Dubai, or their exporters of Indian gold and diamond items? The Economic Times frames the debate as follows: "Dubai has imposed a 5% import duty on gold and diamond jewellery, a move which is likely to hurt Indian exports at a time when demonetisation has hit business at home.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, just shared their trading update for the third quarter ended December 31 2016, reporting an overall 5% uptick at constant exchange rates to $3,292.5 million and a 6% rise at actual exchange rates. In Europe, sales increased by 3% in the third quarter, in contrast with the 17% decline registered in the first six months of the year. The report suggests the increase was primarily due to local sales and tourist purchases in the United Kingdom as well as strong jewelry sales across the region.
Announcing the results of a disappointing Holiday Season (the nine weeks ended December 31, 2016), Signet Jewelers Limited, the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry said its same store sales had decreased 4.6% during the crucial period, compared to an increase of 5.1% during the corresponding period a year earlier. Total sales at $1,940.9 million were down by $104.2 million or 5.1% as compared to an increase of 5.3% in the prior year, the retailer noted, adding that the decline was driven principally by underperformance in its Sterling division e-commerce business.
Update: The Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) has now received “in-principle” approval from India’s markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for trading in diamond futures contracts, writes GJEPC.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., which operates over 2,300 shops in more than 500 cities, indicated strong sequential growth over Q2 2016 after experiencing substantial declines during the past two years amid a slowdown in China's economy and fewer tourist arrivals in Hong Kong.
Citing figures from Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry, Rapaport News writes that Israel’s polished diamond exports declined in 2016: exports of polished dropped 6.4 percent to $4.68 billion during the year; Exports to the U.S., Israel's largest trade partner, slid 9 percent to $2 billion, while shipments to Hong Kong fell 8 percent to $1.35 billion. Orders from Belgium slumped 16 percent to $349 million. Polished imports fell 6 percent to $3.28 billion. Meanwhile, rough imports increased 17 percent to $3.25 billion, while rough exports rose 23 percent to $2.7 billion.
The Israel Diamond Exchange and Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association sent a letter to Israeli traders Diamond companies in Israel have been granted another two months to voluntarily disclose their assets, inventory and unreported income to the Tax Authority, writes Rapaport News. The trade organizations informed their members that firms have until the end of February to submit the full report of disclosures, as long as they declared their intention to do so by December 29.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his thoughtful analysis of the year that was in the diamond industry 2016: "The Year Trust Returned to the Diamond Trade".
The diamond industry is changing, and the global environment in which we operate is changing too. There is a constant and inseparable interaction between the two. We must continue to evolve ... The diamond industry should change its traditional approach towards consumers. My proposed new approach towards current and future consumers is one based on openness and transparency. For most consumers, the diamond mining and manufacturing process is opaque. If we become more open about how diamonds reach the consumer, we will change the consumer’s perception of the diamond industry and of diamonds themselves. In my opinion, it is transparency that will transform end consumers’ behavior and bolster their confidence.
- Ehud Arye Laniado, from his "Year-End Wrap Up: How the Diamond Industry Can Move Forward in 2017"
The 50TH Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) of The Gem & Jewellery Export Council (GJEPC), held on December 20, 2016, took some significant decisions, according to a press release. For one, the body approved changes in its code of ethics, necessary to complete the process of the GJEPC induction as a member into the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). The AGM also approved the formation of the Trade Disciplinary Committee (TDC) by the GJEPC, together with the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) and the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA).
Reflecting on the impact of the Trump election victory on the future of the diamond trade, particularly on the U.S. and India, independent industry consultant Pranay Narvekar writes in GJEPC's Solitaire International that America's share of the global polished diamond market - already the highest by far at 45% of total value - should only increase in the coming years, while the strength of the dollar and other expected policy moves will only exacerbate uncertainty throughout the trade.
The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) has announced the Israeli Diamond Industry has finalized the terms of an agreement with the Israeli Tax Authority.
The Belgian Parliament has officially adopted the 'Diamond Regime', commonly known as the 'Carat Tax', as the new fiscal system for the Antwerp diamond industry. The new system stipulates that companies will no longer be taxed on the basis of their profit but on a fixed percentage of their turnover - thereby eliminating complicated discussions with tax authorities about the value of inventory, which is difficult to assess.
ALROSA has announced the initiation of the procedure to rename its foreign-based trading subsidiaries and affiliates, ARCOS, as part of an initiative to create ALROSA’s single corporate brand. ARCOS sales network will be renamed and offices will bear a name of ALROSA and their region of location. ALROSA will also carry out relevant rebranding. This decision was made to identify ALROSA with its own sales network and provide clients with the guarantee of origin and quality of rough and polished diamonds sold through the network. The procedure to rename will probably take four months.
Industry representative body Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is confident that the adoption of a new fiscal Diamond Regime - commonly known as the 'Carat Tax' - will give a new impetus to the Antwerp diamond industry and will attract new companies to the diamond capital, or encourage those that had left to return, writes Belgian daily De Tijd. Antwerp's diamantaires recognize their tax burden will increase, "But we accept this fact," said one prominent trader. "Our main concern is legal certainty," which the Carat Tax will provide.
The 2017 Presidents Meeting, the biennial gathering of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), will take place in Mumbai from February 5 to 8, 2017, according to a press release from the WFDB secretariat in Antwerp. The Presidents Meeting starts off the WFDB's year of celebrations for its 70th anniversary and will also feature a major Diamond Financing Seminar and Roundtable.
Bain & Company together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has published their sixth annual report on the global diamond jewelry trade, with the lead insight being that in 2015 - not a banner year by any stretch of the imagination - retail sales grew 3% at constant exchange rates but declined about 2% in US dollar terms due to currency depreciation and slower demand in China. This followed a period of growth from 2012 through 2014, signifying that diamond jewelry consumption has entered "a moderation phase".
On the occasion of Botswana’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary celebrating 50 years of independence, De Beers partnered with Career Diversity, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana and Leadership 2020 to host the inaugural W Summit, on October 13 in Gaborone.
Antwerp's rough diamond trade surged again in the month of November, as the dollar value of rough imports to and exports from the diamond capital rose 60% and 63% respectively compared to the same period in a year ago, according to figures from Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). These figures essentially seal the positive verdict on Antwerp’s 2016 rough trade, as rough exports for the year (January through November) have risen nearly 10% in carat volume and 11.50% in value; rough imports fared just as well, recording a 10.40% increase in volume and a 10% increase in value.
Last Friday, Antwerp World Diamond Centre and the Government of Flanders hosted a seminar on innovation in diamond financing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. A standing-room only crowd packed the stately Reynolds Room in Burlington House, surrounded by a series of 20th-century British impressionist paintings appropriately titled "Reinventing Landscape", and reinventing the diamond financing landscape is precisely what AWDC has in mind: "Innovation is driving the financial industry forward at an unprecedented pace.
Botswana's diamond cutting industry faces another blow as more jobs are lost due to the fact India based Shrenuj, one of the largest diamond cutting and the single jewelry manufacturing facility in the country, is closing shop. Parent company Shrenuj & C° has been troubled by financial woes over the past months, with reports claiming some 20 Indian banks are said to have exposure to the groups entities amounting to US$450 million which Shrenuj is failing to pay back.
According to a report on the Israeli news site Hamodia, the country's tax authorities, following Israels commitments to the US and international organizations to apply a more stringent anti-money laundering policy, are targeting the Israeli diamond industry, generally considered the biggest offenders in this domain. Officials said that as of January 1st, the administration will go after tax fraud more agressively, implementing extended powers of investigation and enforcement.
Controversy is brewing in Namibia about who is selling their diamonds to whom, for how much, and whether the country is obtaining fair value from its precious resources. The Namibian newspaper previously raised concerns that a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia), which is designated to sell stones worth over an estimated US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a 10-year agreement
"Uncertainity looms large over the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing industry in Surat following the scrapping of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency note by the government," writes the Times of India (TOI) on the sudden currency ban.
Russia's ALROSA, the world’s largest diamond miner by volume in carats and value, plans to launch retail trade in investment-grade diamonds in 2018, according to a plan ALROSA President Andrei Zharkov approved on Thursday. "The aim of the investment diamond selling project is to support Russia’s diamond manufacturing industry, as well as to create a market employing investment properties of diamonds," says Zharkov.
According to figures released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the volume of rough as well as polished imports to the diamond capital rose during the month of October compared to the same period in a year ago, while exports of both categories slowed. Rough imports increased nearly 11% in volume to 8.4 million carats, representing the highest volume of October rough imports since 2012, though the value of those imports fell 7% to $900 million.
India’s Prime Minister Modi today announced that the existing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the highest denomination notes in the country, will be taken out of circulation in 24 hours, to be replaced by new notes of the same denomination. The current notes will no longer be valid as of tomorrow, November 9. The bold measure is intended to combat counterfeiting, (tax) fraud and corruption by making the so-called “black money” visible. The abolished notes can be exchanged at banks until December 30.
In a surprise announcement, online jeweler Blue Nile said Monday that it has entered into an agreement to be taken private by an investor group comprised of funds managed by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. The all-cash deal is valued at $500 million.
Gujarat chief minister Vijaybhai Rupani on Sunday laid the foundation stone for the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), saying it would put the city and the state on the map of world. "With this complex becoming operational, Surat will find its place among the world diamond trading hubs. This will boost the trade prospects for diamond traders from Surat," said Rupani. SDB is a company floated by diamond barons who plan to invest Rs1.25 trillion to establish it over a period of four years.
DiamondCorp has announced: "following accelerated financing discussions, the company has entered into a Shariah-compliant [no interest] secured convertible financing facility with Rasmala plc, a leading independent investment manager and shareholder in the company." DiamondCorp and Rasmala have agreed to the drawdown of two tranches for a total principal amount of £700,000 ($856,000). The first, in the amount of £400,000 ($489,000), is to be drawn down immediately.
According to Finmarket.ru, in an article translated and published by Rough-Polished, ALROSA President Andrey Zharkov said in an interview with television channel "Russia 24" that the company will drive its sales to 37 million carats (equal to output) in 2016, a 23% over 2015.
In a news release, VULT - a digital diamond exchange platform whose, "revolutionary technology turns diamonds into a modern asset class: liquid, portable and fully fungible" - announced: "Secured Worldwide, the creators of VULT, a unique diamond investment product, has won the backing of the Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London for VULT’s warranty of the authenticity of every diamond in VULT units sold to consumers by Secure Worldwide.