Diamond Traders Leaving Antwerp?

Finance and Trade
31/03/2015 10:17

The imminent closure of the Antwerp Diamond Bank has brought turmoil to the local diamond industry, as nearly one in three diamantaires in Antwerp have an account with the ADB. According to Arthur Flieger, a lawyer active in the Antwerp diamond industry for 30 years, "Antwerp is emptying out. Many diamantaires are emigrating to Tel Aviv, Dubai and Mumbai", says Flieger. "They are frustrated because they can no longer find financing, but the government is not doing anything about it."

Not everyone shares Flieger's sense of crisis. Margaux Donckier, Spokeswoman for industry organization AWDC, finds Flieger's concern somewhat exaggerated: "It is hardly an exodus. Have people left? Perhaps, but it we have not received any word of this." Donckier also pointed out that two banks are prepared to help ADB customers, namely Indian bank ICICI and ABN AMRO.

When asked in an related interview about the future of Antwerp as the world's largest diamond center, Peter Meeus, chairman of the High Diamond Council in Belgium until 2006 and currently chairmain of the Dubai Diamond Exchange, said that, "Antwerp is the grandfather, the grandmother, the father and the mother of diamonds. It cannot just disappear in a day. Many people in Antwerp earn their livings in diamonds." While he admits that Antwerp is facing serious issues right now, he said that "the situation is not tragic".