JCK's Rob Bates reports that Standard Chartered Bank, one of the industry’s largest lenders with a reported $2 billion portfolio, is shutting its diamond and jewelry business, dealing yet another blow to diamond trade financing. “When we announced our new strategy, we said that we would look to exit businesses that were nonperforming or that did not meet our new risk profile, with all of our business segments subject to review,” said a Standard Chartered spokesperson.
Barclays Bank Botswana is once again interested in financing rough purchases by local diamond cutting and polishing firms, according to a report by mmegi.bw. The report points out that many financers are reducing exposure to the diamond sector. Diamond manufacturers in Botswana bought $500 million of rough from Debswana, the De Beers-government joint venture, a 46% drop on the 2014 figures.
Bloomberg News TV is broadcasting an interview with reporter Joe Deaux in which he explains to viewers of the financial news service the background to reports last week that Standard Chartered Bank has decided to require diamond company clients to provide extra security on its loans. Diamond manufacturers, particularly in India, will be the hardest hit by the decision by the bank to curb lending. Dwindling demand and a credit crunch have hit the industry hard, says Deaux, along with falling demand from China.
Standard Chartered Plc is demanding more loan protection from clients in the Indian and Belgian diamond trade as the bank seeks to tighten standards, Bloomberg reported, citing sources knowledgeable about the new policy. The London-based bank has lent around $2 billion to the industry and is requiring diamond manufacturing clients to get payment insurance or provide 100 percent collateral.