Archive

  • The U.S. sanctioned Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, one of the biggest individual mining and diamond investors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in what it calls a clampdown on human-rights abusers and corrupt actors, write Thomas Biesheuvel, Mark Burton, and William Clowes for Bloomberg Politics. The U.S. Treasury said Gertler has used his close relationship with the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, to amass a fortune through corrupt and opaque deals.

  • The Antwerp diamond exchange, Beurs voor Diamanthandel CVBA, has issued a clarification regarding the name of the Belgian firm sanctioned last month by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The sanctioned firm, Kardiam BVBA, should not be confused with Kordiam BVBA, the bourse wrote in a letter dated September 4. The two firms are not linked either legally or financial. It also noted that Kordiam is operated by Serge Korn.

  • The mining giant's results were influenced by the levels of diamond prices and the exchange rate of the ruble in the first three months of this year. While the first of these had a negative effect, the second one was hugely positive as the ruble sank against the US dollar. Furthermore, the company also adjusted its assortment of goods, with the result being that despite falling prices and lower volumes of sales it still achieved higher revenues in ruble terms and profitability.

  • European Union foreign ministers on Monday extended sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2016, the EU Council said in a statement. Permanent representatives of EU member states had approved the extension of the sanctions for six months at a meeting on June 17. The sanctions, sparked by Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict and its annexation of the Crimea region, do not apply to the country's diamond trade.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum: “At the end of the last year we were told, you know this well, that a deep crisis is bound to happen. It did not happen. We’ve stabilized the situation, alleviated negative market trends and we are confidently passing through a wave of difficulties.

  • President Barack Obama on Monday said he'd convinced European leaders to maintain economic sanctions on Russia, even as U.S. officials concede the measures have done little to curb aggression by separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The sanctions regime steadily imposed by Western nations will continue until a ceasefire that Russia agreed to in March goes into full effect, Obama said. Despite the continued violence, U.S. officials insist the sanctions are taking a toll on the Russian economy, where the Ruble has plummeted in value.

  • Leaders of seven of the world's most powerful economies – the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan – along with the European Union will debate extending the sanctions at the body's June 7-8 summit in Germany.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin believes it is too early to feel upbeat about the country's economy, while his Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says the worst is over despite continuing low oil prices and Western sanctions that have battered the ruble. Data show plunging retail sales and wages and growing unemployment and inflation at almost 17%.

  • Alluvial diamonds have run out and mining firm in Marange do not have the capacity to mine underground so his ministry does not expect any revenue from the country's diamonds, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa told an MP.

  • The Indian diamond industry believes import of rough diamonds from Russia is set to increase 35-40% in the next two years, amid rumors that the Russian diamond industry is looking for alternatives outside Europe due to sanctions. Currently, Russia sells about two-thirds of its diamond production in Antwerp, Belgium.

  • The ruble’s 27% loss in value, due to Russia's economic downturn and sanctions imposed in light of the crisis in Ukraine, has led to ALROSA’s $281 million net loss for the first nine months of 2014.

  • Russia needs oil prices at $90 per barrel to keep its economy on an even keel, but a decline from an average of almost $110 a barrel in the first half of 2014 to below $80 is hurting the country's economy. In addition, a plunging ruble and Western sanctions are also causing problems.

  • Diamond miner Anjin Investment has missed out on $336 million in revenue due to the European Union and U.S. sanctions on Zimbabwe, imposed due to alleged human rights violations in the Marange diamond fields.

  • Global financial media believe a financial crisis may be around the corner for Russia.

  • The EU’s suspensions of sanctions against Zimbabwe has not been met with enthusiasm in the country, as government representatives are furious with the EU for keeping the travel bans on President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
     

  • Moscow’s support of the controversial elections in the rebel-controlled areas of the Ukraine has sparked new tensions between the U.S. and Russia. U.S. officials cautioned Russia that its actions would imply a cost.

  • The lifting of the European Union sanctions against Zimbabwe entered into force on 1 November, with travel bans against President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe staying in place. The lifting of the sanctions implies that bilateral economic ties can proceed.

  • The deal signed in September between Russia and Zimbabwe to develop a platinum plant near Harare, has given rise to media reports of the United States planning to impose additional sanctions on Zimbabwe. The U.S. embassy in Zimbabwe firmly denies the reports.

  • A Russian member of parliament claims the latest move in the U.S.-Russia trade spat won’t have an impact on the country's economy.

  • Russia's President Putin painted a rosy picture of the Russian economy in a speech to business leaders, saying the country remains “open to the world” and that he has a plan for growth despite American and European sanctions.

  • On September 30, the EU will review the implementation of the Minsk peace plan, and the ceasefire ​in particular. It will then decide on how to proceed, with a gradual easing of certain sanctions seen as a potential move.

  • Gennady Timchenko, head of the Russian-Chinese Business Council: noticeable trend towards closer cooperation between Russia and China due to Western sanctions.

  • “Diamond Valley”, a Territory of Priority Social and Economic Development (TOPSED), will be used as a site to test the creation of a favourable environment for the development of a domestic diamond-cutting industry.