With the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary starting next week in New Dehli, KP Observers are saying the certification scheme has reached the moment of truth as to whether it will expand its definition of 'conflict diamonds', a move many see as critical to the KP's continued relevance.
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 Government of India has succumbed to internal and external pressure and lowered the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate for wide variety of products and services - including 'job work' in the diamond industry - in an attempt to revive the economy. The announcements come as welcome news and should provide a much-needed boost to the gems and jewelry industry in India, hopefully stemming the tide of job losses in the sector.
The ongoing slump in the global diamond industry is having a negative impact on jobs in the expansive diamond manufacturing industry of India. The world's largest cutting and polishing centre appears to be heading toward an employment crisis, at least in the short-term. Estimates from industry insiders are that the diamond industry in Gujarat have seen job losses of up to 10%-15% already, with more on the way if consumer demand does not pick up in the near future.
Tiffany & Co. earlier this month announced plans to enter the India market, and recently said they would be increasing their presence in China following a quarter in which they saw double-digit growth with local customers in Mainland China, together with a decline in tourist purchases which impacted their Q2 results.
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.
India has introduced a specific, 8-digit HS (Harmonized System) code for synthetic rough diamonds in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the diamond pipeline, an issue for which the Indian diamond industry has been subject to criticism in recent years.
To the chagrin of the gem & jewelry industry in the county, the Indian government last Friday (July 5) announced it would increase the import duty on gold and precious metals to 12.5% from current level of 10%. The move will raise the price of gold, silver and other precious metals on the domestic market, with concerns that smuggling may rise and tourists may seek to purchase their gold elsewhere. India is one of the largest gold importers in the world, arising mainly from demand from the jewelry sector. India imported gold worth $32.8 billion during 2018-19.
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.
The Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting 2019 opened in Mumbai yesterday as the organization tasked with eliminating conflict diamonds approaches what may be considered a critical junction: will it stay the course or take a leap forward?
As the Kimberley Process Intersessional kicks off this morning in Mumbai, the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KPCSC) have made a forceful call to the KP Member States to finally address the issue of conflict diamonds, Continued violence in diamond production, it warns, threatens the relevance of the KP as well as long-term African diamond revenues by fuelling ethics concerns about the sector.
The 2019 Kimberly Process (KP) Intersessional, with India as its Chair, will take place in Mumbai starting next week Monday. Ahead of the meeting, Stéphane Fischler, President of the World Diamond Council (WDC), urged mining and manufacturing countries in particular to heed the concerns of those in the diamond-consuming countries and to address issues regarding the integrity of the diamond value chain. Those in the industry who are more directly involved with consumers appreciate the urgency of KP reform, as time is running out.
A combination of factors has led to a nearly 50% decline in production by small diamond manfacturing units in India, not the least of which is a significant decline in the price of small diamonds (0.30 carats), writes the Times of India (TOI). According to the most recent RapNet Diamond Index, the price index for diamonds weighing 0.30 carats has fallen by 16% over the past year, and about 25% since January. The vast majority of these stones are manufactured in Surat and has caused already-low margins for manufacturers to plummet.
The Bunder Diamond Project in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh in India - a deposit estimated to have diamond reserves of 34.2 million carats - will be put up for auction, according to a decision taken by the state government at a cabinet meeting this week. The Project disappeared from the headlines about two years ago following Rio Tinto's announcement in February 2017 that it would relinquish its interest in the project "due to commercial considerations" and gift it to the Government of Madhya Pradesh.
India's rough diamond trade is facing significant difficulties importing diamonds following a customs directive requiring them to submit a detailed description of the imported diamonds, including country of origin, size, type, color and clarity - an 'impossible' demand, representatives say. The fear among traders is that even a minute discrepancy in the norms may lead to seizure of the shipment as well as a large penalty, which could affect manufacturing activity in Surat, the country’s diamond cutting and polishing hub.
India's rough diamond imports continued its first quarter recession in March, signalling a slowdown in manufacturing amid a tightening of available financing; polished exports also declined for the third consecutive month. Rough diamond imports fell by 16% in value during the month to $1.4 billion on a more than 9% decline in the volume of rough imports, and their value has declined by 24% during Q1.
Global demand for gold jewelry rose 1% in Q1 2019 to 530.3 tonnes, driven by the Indian market, writes World Gold Council (WGC). A lower local rupee gold price in late February and early March coincided with the wedding season, which is the traditional time for significant gold purchases, lifting jewelry demand in India 5% higher than the same period last year. The 125.4 tonnes purchased makes last Q1 2019 the highest Q1 since 2015.
Polished diamond manufacturers in Surat and Mumbai have started liquidating their inventories at significant discounts of up to 30-40% in the attempt to settle loans with banks, writes the Times of India. The Indian daily says that diamond companies have been "given the ultimatum to settle their outstanding loan accounts before March 31."
Nirav Modi, who allegedly defrauded Indian state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) of $2 billion, was arrested and denied bail by a London judge who said there were "substantial risks" that the celebrity jeweler could flee while the country seeks his extradition. Modi was arrested in central London on Tuesday evening on behalf of Indian authorities who want to extradite him to face charges.
While still lagging behind the levels of activity recorded in February 2018, India's diamond trade last month rebounded from a remarkably poor showing in January 2019. According to figures from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), exports of cut and polished diamonds from India fell by 3.51% year-on-year during the month of February 2019 to $2.34 billion as compared to the $2.43 billion exported in February 2018. However, February's exports represent a 34% increase over the $1.75 billion shipped out in January, which will come as a welcome sign to the Indian industry.
UK newspaper The Telegraph found India's most wanted man, Nirav Modi, openly walking the streets of London, allegedly living in an £8 million ($10.4 million) apartment in London’s West End and apparetly running another diamond business. Nirav Modi fled India last year after becoming a suspect in the biggest banking fraud in the country’s history. A diamond jeweller whose designs have been worn by Hollywood stars, Modi went on the run after being accused of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of roughly $2 billion.
Expectations of a sluggish start to the year for the Indian diamond trade were confirmed by the January statistics from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), as exports of cut and polished diamonds from India dropped by 16% year-on-year, while rough imports fell by 40%.
The partial shutdown of the US government is likely to have had a negative impact on exports of small diamonds from India to the US, according to Colin Shah, vice chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). This comes as unwelcome news to an industry that is already experiencing sluggish performance, with The Economic Times citing an 8.5% decline in the value of polished exports in the first nine months of FY2018, sitting at to $22.41 billion.
The value of India's polished-diamond exports grew by approximately 6% to over $24 billion in 2018 despite a 10% downturn in the volume of goods exported, according to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The rise in value is attributable to a 17% higher average price per carat, calculated at $775, for the 31.5 million carats exported, reflecting an industry-wide trend in 2018 of softening trade in smaller, lower-quality goods and more robust demand for larger goods.
The downturn in India's diamond trade continued unimpeded in November, as its two critical indicators - polished-diamond exports and rough-diamond imports - tumbled once again. According to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), polished diamond exports fell to $1.56 billion, a decline of 12% as compared to the $1.78 bn exported in November 2017, and a 32% decline from $2.3 billion exported last month.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 19% on a year-over-year basis during the month of October, reaching $2.31 billion compared to the $1.93 billion exported in October 2017, according to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The strong showing was backed by the increased quantity of goods exported, up 8% to 2.9 million carats from 2.7 million a year ago, as well as an increase in the average price per carat, which climbed 11% to $791. However, polished exports fell slightly from $2.37 billion last month.
Riding the current wave of depressed rough diamond sales throughout the industry in recent months, De Beers' ninth sale of 2018 earned (provisionally) $440 million, the miner's lowest earnings in a sales cycle since October 2017. Soft demand from India has been the predominant factor in the decline of rough sales - particularly of smaller goods - across the industry.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), according to a column written by President Mnangagwa in The Sunday Mail, that the country's diamond output was expected to shatter previous records. Zimbabwe aims to produce (at a stretch) three million carats this year, driven by a US$100 million investment in operations over the last two years. The ZCDC unearthed 2.4 million carats between January and October 2018, a significant increase over the 1.8 million carats achieved last year. ZCDC chief executive officer Dr.
Nearly one in five people engaged in India’s diamond industry, or about 100,000 workers, are said to be at risk of losing their jobs in the next six months, a representative of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) told The Economic Times. “The diamond trade in Surat could potentially lose one lakh (100,000) jobs in the next two quarters due to the increase in duty, lack of ease of doing business and the liquidity crunch.
The majority of small and medium diamond manufacturing units in India are planning to close shop and take an early Diwali vacation as sentiment in the diamond cutting and manufacturing centre is faltering, writes the Times of India. Depreciation of the Indian rupee has put heavy pressure on the trading of polished diamonds amid dwindling demand, falling polished prices, firm rough diamond prices and the banks squeezing loans to the industry.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 6.6% during the six-month period ended September 30, 2018 (H1 FY 2018-19) despite a dip of 10.8% in exports during the month of September, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of cut and polished diamonds from India during September fell to $2.37 billion from $2.65 bn in September 2017, while polished diamond exports from April-September 2018 increased $2.68 billion from the $11.90 bn exported over the same months last year.
In an effort to narrow the current account deficit (CAD), the Indian government on Wednesday increased the import duty on 19 'non-essential items' including polished diamonds, gemstones and jewelry, but excluded rough diamonds from the increase. The import duties on cut and polished diamonds, lab-grown diamonds and cut and polished colored gemstones increased from 5% to 7.5%.
Rough diamond imports to India, home to the largest world's largest diamond cutting and polishing industry, have fallen for five consecutive months, according to figures from industry body the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The GPEPC's most recent figures show that from April through August (FY 2018), the value of rough diamond imports have declined by 7 percent to $7.16 billion from $7.69 billion a year earlier. In volume terms, imports are down 9% to 68.6 million carats from 75.3 million carats compared to the same period last year.
According to new research from Euromonitor International, India is set to overtake US as the world's second largest fine jewelry market by the end of 2018, reports Business Matters. The study shows that China remains the biggest market for fine jewelry with sales reaching US$86.3 billion by the end of 2017, which are expected to reach US$92 billion by the end of this year. The Chinese market as a whole has grown by over 21% in the last five years.
The 10% decline in bank finance to the gem and jewelry sector over the last few months will adversely impact exports from the industry during the year, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said in a statement yesterday.
India’s polished diamond exports rose by 5% during the month of June 2018 as compared to a year earlier, while overall exports from the gem and jewelry sector grew by a marginal 0.9% in the same period, according to provisional data released by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of cut and polished diamonds from India during the month rose to $2.08 billion from $1.98 bn in June 2017, an increase of 5.07% y-o-y. Rough imports were down by 14.2% in value terms during the month to $1.53 bn as compared to $1.79 bn imported during the previous June.
Rio Tinto‘s Australian Diamonds program has launched its latest campaign in India highlighting a new range of affordable bridal and fashion jewelry from the company’s Argyle diamond mine in Australia, the company announced in a press release. Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women’s cricket team is the official ambassador for the new campaign, helping promote the popularity of diamonds in fashion and bridal jewelry, particularly for younger Indian consumers.
The new revolutionary machine will pose a big challenge to the artisanal skills of the diamond polishers in Surat. At present, from near gem quality to solitaires, the diamond polishers of Surat and Gujarat are the leaders. But, the machine developed by AWDC will change the scenario in the longer run.
- Diamond industry analyst Aniruddha Lidbide responds to Fenix automated polisher in TOI article, "Machine made in Antwerp may pose threat to Surti diamond polishers"
India has been informed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that it can initiate extradition proceedings against Indian diamantaire Nirav Modi even though his exact whereabouts remain uncertain, a senior Indian official said today. According to Indian daily The Times of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has begun the process of filing an extradition request for Modi, which will then have to be approved by the UK Home Office following which an extradition warrant can be issued.