Revenue from India’s diamond polishing industry is set to plunge to its lowest level in a decade as COVID-19 measures in the U.S. and Europe (Belgium) has hindered sales and caused prices to fall, reports an India credit-rating agency. The agency projects sales in fiscal 2021 (April 2t020 - March 2021) to drop to the lowest level in a decade, $13-15 billion, which is 21%-32% lower than the estimated ~$19 billion in fiscal 2020 revenues and 38%-46% lower than the $24 billion earned in fiscal 2019.
The cautious optimism that had returned to the Antwerp diamond industry following a robust month of trade in January - and into February for the rough trade - turned out to be short-lived, as the explosive spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus first closed the Eastern markets and gradually made its impact felt across the global diamond industry.
The writing appears to be on the proverbial wall: the Indian diamond industry is careening toward a temporary ban on rough-diamond imports which, if implemented, will effectively bring rough diamond trading to a halt. How can manufacturers survive without rough, you may ask? If Chaim Even-Zohar’s calculations are correct, it is because they are sitting on $1.5-$2 billion of rough diamond inventory already, with another $5 billion in polished ready for sale. The question then becomes: why buy more?
Russian diamond mining major Alrosa went ahead with its March rough diamond sale despite the global pandemic virtually shutting down the industry, so the modest results they booked were anticipated. Alrosa sold $148.7 million in rough diamonds last month, representing a 57% decline from their February sale ($342.3 million) and a 60% decline from March of 2019 ($369.2 million). Rough sales for the first quarter fell by 11% to 881 million from $988 million a year ago.
By Russell Shor. Reprinted by special arrangement.
Forty years ago diamonds and gemstones were rocketing in price on a boom the likes of which no one had ever seen before. $50,000 for a one-carat D flawless! I was a newbie back then and dealers were telling me that price was cheap. $100,000? $200,000? per-carat. That was more like it, they said.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) yesterday, 23 March 2020 announced the suspension of preparations for its upcoming trade shows following the goverment's announcement of a quarantine for all travellers arriving from outside China. It cannot host an international show under these conditions.
In his most recent post, industry analyst Edahn Golan takes a look at history and points to a series of disastrous events in the past decades and, more importantly, how despite the fact all of them had major effects on the diamond industry in the short-term, in the long run, the industry managed to recover and even grow.
The world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat, India, is facing a potentially massive liquidity crisis as a result of overdue payments owed by diamond traders in China and Hong Kong in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, writes The Times of India. Industry estimates estimate the value of those overdue payments at Rs5,000 crore, about $670 million, in the past month alone.
India’s exports of polished diamonds continue to fall short of last year’s levels, declining by 5.7% during the month of January 2020, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The value of rough-diamond imports for manufacturing fell again as well, despite a notable increase in volume. Meanwhile, India's synthetic-diamond imports (rough) and exports (polished) continue to grow rapidly.
The government of South Korea on December 27, 2019 agreed to eliminate its 5% import tax on loose polished diamonds, effectively opening up the South Korean market to new sources of polished diamonds. Yesterday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) confirmed that Diamond has been designated as a specific good that will be exempted from customs duties pending completion of the final legislative approvals. The abolishment of the import tax is expected to go into effect on April 1.
Independent diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky examines the growing acceptance of synthetic diamonds from a known but rarely-discussed angle: synthetic diamonds deliver higher profit margins to retailers than natural diamonds.
The anticipated increase in rough-diamond trading activity as the calendar flipped to 2020 lived up to expectations in Antwerp, as the volume of rough imports to Antwerp during the month of January surged 43% compared to the first month of 2019. The 8.1 million carats imported was the most since December 2018 and outpaced January 2019 imports by over 2.4 million carats.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has decided to relocate its March auctions for rough and polished diamonds from Hong Kong to other trading centers. The move follows the decision of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to reschedule the Hong Kong trade shows from March until May in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa ended a challenging 2019 on a high note, with December rough diamond sales increasing 7.4% year-over-year to $352.1 million, good for their second largest monthly haul of 2019. The company also sold $11.6 million in polished diamonds last month, an increase of 132% over December 2018 and also representing their highest monthly earnings for polished diamonds last year. These end-of-year improvements, however, were not enough to correct the significant downturn in sales that typified 2019.
India’s exports of cut and polished diamonds fell by over 25% in November, continuing to at a pace well off last year’s levels, according to provisional data released by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). During the month, exports of cut and polished diamond totalled $1.17 billion, compared to $1.56 billion a year ago. For the calendar year to date, India's polished diamond exports have fallen 13% to 25.8 million carats, with the average price down 4% at $750 per carat.
The Supervisory Board of Alrosa has approved the miner's three-year strategy for developing and streamlining its diamond cutting and polishing units for 2020-2022, as well as the plan to integrate the recently-acquired manufacturer Kristall into the Alrosa Group. The plan includes a set of measures focused on improving product mix efficiency, production cycle optimization and the creation of a consolidated sales system for polished diamonds, a strategy they believe will improve the operational efficiency of Alrosa’s consolidated diamond cutting activities.
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa reported a rise in rough-diamond sales for the second straight month, selling $282.1 million in November, which is a 6% increase over November 2018 ($266.6 million) and an 11% increase over last month ($253.9 million). The miner's polished-diamond sales fell to $5.8 million from $10.4 million last month and $7.4 million in November 2019. Total sales of $287.8 million worth of rough and polished diamonds represent a 5% increase year-over-year.
ALROSA USA, the rep office of the Russian mining giant sold 255 polished diamonds, total weight 435ct and a mix of different cuts, and including 21 fancy colored diamonds, to companies from various countries. Total revenue of the auction amounted to US$4.8 million, exceeding the US$3 million of the first auction held in New York last summer.
The sale of the "in-house" manufactured diamonds through auctions, as well as the expansion and active presence of the company in key consumer markets like the US is in line with ALROSA's approach to expand its scope beyond mere mining.
Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamond tenders, the 35th since the mine started producing the rare pink, red and violet diamonds, received a lot of interest, the company says. As the Argyle mine is due to close next year, the 2019 tender is most likely one of the last tenders, explaining the double-digit growth in bids made on the lots of polished pinks, reds and purples. The most valuable diamond in the selection, the Argyle Enigma, was bought by Australia-based Star & Kiven Diamonds (Aurostar group), who also won the winning bid for the Argyle Verity.
Former CEO and now chairman emeritus of Rosy Blue Alliance, Dilip Mehta, has announced a new venture into synthetic diamonds, partnering with his sons to launch a business in Surat. Mehta is just the latest of many diamond veterans to test the synthetic-diamond waters. Speaking to the Times of India, Mehta made clear that the venture was fully independent of Rosy Blue. "This one is our own venture and nothing to do with Rosy Blue," he is quoted as saying.
India's exports of cut and polished diamonds in October declined by 15.4% year-on-year to $1.95 billion as compared to $2.30 billion in October 2018, according to the provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) of India. The $1.95 billion is the same amount exported in September, which represented an 18% decline from the year prior. The volume of polished diamonds exported declined 8% to 2.8 million carats, as the average price per carat for the month fell 22% to $689 per carat. For the fiscal year to date (April - Oct.
While Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa's October rough diamond sales remained steady at $253.9 million and even outpaced by $20 million their sales in the same month last year, Q3 (July-Sept.) saw a significant downturn as the market remained difficult and sales volumes declined. Meanwhile, the miner got a bit of sparkle from their polished diamond sales during the month, earning $10.4 million, good for their best polished results of the year by over $2 million. The miner says supply and demand have shown signs of regaining their balance.
The 4th International Jewelry & Diamond Conference 2019 – Guangzhou, jointly held by the Guangzhou Diamond Exchange and the Guangdong Gems & Jade Exchange (GDGJE) will take place on November 21-22. The conference will be held in Panyu, Guangzhou, the major cluster of the diamond and jewelry industry of China, and will welcome industry representatives, associations from around the world and delegates from local governments.
In the third quarter of 2019, Israel's imports and exports of all diamonds plummeted 28% compared to the same time last year, writes the Times of Israel following Ynet (Hebrew-language publication). Since the start of 2019, Israel’s diamond industry has seen a 22 percent drop in exports of polished diamonds, which Israeli spokespeople say is likely due to the global economic slowdown and international trade concerns.
Lucapa Diamond Co. has exported a 46 carat Lulo pink diamond to Antwerp and it is currently undergoing studies for polishing (initial possible polished solutions pictured above). A decision on the optimal polished solutions will be taken by the Sociedade Mineira do Lulo (SML) and the Lulo partners once the studies are concluded. While Antwerp is not the manufacturing center it once was, many of the world's most valuable and complex rough diamonds still find their way to Antwerp for analysis and polishing.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa saw its September sales of rough diamonds make a modest recovery after a slow summer, selling $256.5 million, which represents a 42% increase over the $180.2 million sold in August. The company acknowledged, however, that market demand for rough diamonds is still low, as this past month's sale was 27% lower than in September 2018, when they moved $331.6 million of rough goods. Adding $2.2 million in polished-diamond sales (-69% y-o-y), total sales for September were $258.7 million.
India's cut and polished diamond exports declined by 25% year-on-year, totalling US$1.64 billion during the month (August 2018: US$2.18 bn) as the average export price tumbled by 19% to $658 per carat, the lowest level in two years. The August results do indicate a modest 9% upturn from July, when India's polished-diamond exports fell to their lowest point in 2019, at $1.50 billion. All figures are from India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) today (Sept. 25) unveiled the redesigned and upgraded Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) auction facility, which it is calling the world’s largest diamond trading floor. Located at the Almas Tower in Dubai, UAE, the refurbished trading floor has 41 viewing stations with specially designed lighting and high-resolution cameras. Designed principally for rough and polished diamonds, the DMCC says that changes have been made to the DDE windows to enable trade of colored gemstones.
From October 22-24, 2019, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) will be hosting the 15th edition of the "Antwerp Diamond Experience", where it will welcome select jewelers, wholesalers and manufacturers from across Europe and give them inside access to the world's leading diamond trade center … free of charge, and with no purchase obligation. (Registration link below).
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has created a brand - Luminous Diamonds - to a promote a characteristic that is prevalent in their diamonds: fluorescence. In doing so, it is seeking to create a niche for its natural stones by marketing the added value fluorescence can bring to diamonds when seen in the proper light, so to speak.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa sold $180.2 million in rough diamonds during the month of August, representing one if its lowest sales months in years as continuing headwinds - macroeconomic as well as industry-specific - conspired with a traditionally slow summer month to keep the market soft.
India's cut and polished diamond exports declined by more than 18% year-on-year in July, representing the lowest level of polished exports since December 2018. India's exports reached only $1.50 billion last month as compared $1.84 billion during the same month a year ago, as manufacturing has slowed significantly and traders try to move goods from stock while facing the headwind of an existing glut on the market.
A 14.83-carat pink oval diamond, cut from a rare 27.85 carat clear pink rough diamond mined in 2017 by Russia’s Alrosa could earn more than $60 million when it goes up for sale in November. Named The Spirit of the Rose (“Le Spectre de la Rose”) as a tribute to a legendary short Russian ballet that premiered in 1911, the preparation and cutting process was performed at the “Diamonds ALROSA” cutting factory in Moscow, and it will be the most expensive stone ever polished in Russia.
The Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), a subsidiary of the DMCC, completed three rough and polished diamond tenders in the week of July 16 - 23 while the DDE is under renovation. The three separate tenders were hosted by Rapaport, Stargems and Trans Atlantic Gem Sales (TAGS), with reportedly over 200 companies participating.
For months now, the news emerging from across the diamond industry has been colored various shades of sombre, with each analysis referring to some version of the same list of issues ailing the trade: falling polished prices combined with excessive polished inventories, a financing squeeze on Indian manufacturers and a lack of profitablity, low demand for rough, economic uncertainty generated by an unstable geopolitical climate ... take your pick. The question Paul Zimnisky examines is whether this all adds up to a 'crisis'.
Alrosa held a tender for polished diamonds in New York this June, earning $3 million from the sale of 20 polished diamonds with total weight of 140.4 carats for an average value of approximately $21,430 per carat. The diamonds on tender included 8 gemstones of standard color and 12 fancy colored polished diamonds, most of them with Fancy Yellow and Fancy Intense Yellow characteristics.
The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair last week (20-23 June) provided a snapshot of a cautious diamond industry in the midst of a period of weak sentiment and even weaker demand, according to several traders we spoke with this week. And they do not see any quick fixes on the horizon. While it may not be the largest diamond show of the year, Hong-Kong June is the most important mid-year jewelry sourcing event in Asia, and as such provides us the opportunity to take the pulse of the polished diamond trade. The consensus? Sentiment is poor.
‘Wait and see’
The withdrawal of India’s beneficiary status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program is expected to have a "moderate" impact on India's exports of gems and jewelry to the US, but will not directly impact diamond exports - contrary to what some have been reporting.
India's rough diamond trade continued its 2019 downturn in May, as less manufacturing is taking place amid a tightening of available financing and weak demand for small goods, according to data gleaned from the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of polished diamonds also recorded their fifth consecutive month of decline in 2019, despite a solid increase (11%%) in the average price per carat.
Bonas Group, one of the world's leading rough diamond brokering and tender houses, is holding a private sale of polished diamonds and colored gemstones in Antwerp later this month. Viewings will take place at the Bonas office in Antwerp, in the Diamond Club on the 9th floor from 17 to 21 June 2019, each day from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. The sale will close on Monday, 24 June at 11:00 Antwerp (CET) time, and will be an online highest bid tender on www.bonasbids.com.