Retailers and importers across the US - including those in the diamond and jewelry trade - breathed a collective sigh of relief this past weekend following the announcement of a temporary trade truce between the US and China, and an agreement to reopen negotiations. This past weekend at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, U.S. President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China agreed to a ceasefire that will forestall another punishing round of of $300 billion in tariffs Mr.
The list of Chinese products to be hit by 25 percent tariffs imposed by the U.S. government at the behest of President Donald Trump is expansive and is potentially about to cover the entirety of consumer products from China, including a broad swath of jewelry products, as the trade war escalates rapidly. On May 9, the U.S.
Searching for a means to safeguard smooth transactions in the event it ends up having US sanctions imposed on it, Russia's Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds, has found a partner in its efforts to conduct trade in a currency other than the US dollar. Evgeny Agureev, Alrosa’s director of sales, told the South China Morning Post that it has enlisted one of its many Chinese customers - Chow Sang Sang Jewellery - on a long-term contract this year.
With 86 percent of all rough diamonds flowing through Antwerp on their journey from mine to market, trends from the diamond capital give a fairly good indication of what is happening in the rough trade globally. According to February's figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the trade in smaller, lower-priced goods is picking up again, but this does not mean demand is robust, as prices continue to tumble - something that cannot be said for the polished trade, where prices remain high.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the umbrella organization for the Antwerp diamond industry, from 16 to 20 February 2019 participated in the Belgian Economic Mission to Mexico. Currently, Mexico mainly imports polished diamonds from the United States. The AWDC therefore viewed this Economic Mission as the ideal opportunity to promote the Antwerp diamond trade in Mexico and to ensure that Mexican diamond traders increase their diamond purchases directly from Antwerp.
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 polished-diamond trade in Antwerp during September again witnessed a surging average price per carat, particularly for imports (+22%), however, the trading center remained quiet after the traditionally slow summer holiday, as a result of which the volume of goods traded declined notably. Some have attributed the September slowdown to the Jewish holiday period, while others tell us that Indian companies are still hesitant to acquire smaller goods, with many having already purchased what they need for the upcoming Diwali holidays.
Russian diamond miner ALROSA sold $294.9 million worth of rough and polished diamonds in the typically slow month of August, representing a 14% rise year-over-year. The miner sold $283.2 million worth of rough diamonds during the month, an 11% increase over the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, polished-diamond sales increased 516% y-o-y and 121% over July, earning $11.7 million, as the group hosted several sales.
Representatives from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) this morning joined Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Didier Reynders in Angola, where he hosted a Diamond Breakfast Symposium in cooperation with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Angola, HE Frank Felix. The mission to Angola is intended to reinforce the momentum established between the two countries during the visit of the President of Angola, João Lourenço, to Antwerp last June, where they discussed increased cooperation concerning diamond trading.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA has tested a new payment mechanism enabling foreign clients to purchase rough stones using Russian currency. As an experiment, transactions were conducted with clients from China and India, and if necessary, the company is prepared to use this payment scheme in rubles in the future.
Russian mining giant ALROSA saw its July rough diamond sales increase by 17% year-over-year to $333.8 million from $286.1 million as demand for expensive high-quality diamonds remained strong. Total sales for the month increased by 16% to $339 million, including $5.3 million in polished diamond sales, a 28% decline from the same month in 2017, excluding the sale of the Dynasty Collection and the 51.38-carat round stone, the central diamond in the eponymous collection.
Rising prices of rough and polished diamonds led to substantial value gains for Antwerp’s diamond trade in July, which surged during the weeks preceding its traditional August recess, according to data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). Rough diamond imports surged by 23% and exports by 18% compared to the same month a year ago, while polished imports gained 28% in value and exports gained more than 8% compared to the month of July 2017.
João Lourenço, the President of the world’s fifth largest diamond-producing country, Angola, today paid a ceremonious visit to the world’s largest diamond trade center, Antwerp - his first visit to an international diamond trade hub. In what was initially described as a friendly, exploratory house-call, President Lourenço made it clear that he views his visit to Antwerp as part of his intention to increase transparency and promote the country ́s image abroad in order to facilitate the exportation of goods and services and attract direct foreign investment.
Hong Kong's imports and exports of rough and polished diamonds saw a solid to significant upswing across all categories during the first quarter of 2018 (Jan-March), according to figures published Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China. Polished diamond imports to the trade hub increased by 10% in value to $5.17 billion from the import of nearly 5.3 million carats worth of the polished gems. Hong Kong's exports and re-exports rose by 4% to $3.53 billion from 3.7 million carats.
The Antwerp diamond trade in 2018 as a whole continues to outpace its performance during 2017, showing a double-digit increase in the value of rough goods traded and steady figures from the polished trade compared to the same period a year ago. According to figures published by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the rough diamond trade in April continued to shine, with the value of rough exports increasing nearly 17% year-over-year, while rough imports surged by 43%.
Israel’s polished-diamond exports declined 33% to $1.16 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry as reported by Rapaport News. The results stand in sharp contrast to diamond exports in Q1 2017, which jumped to $1.696 billion as a result of international trade shows, and also fell well short of the $1.467 billion in exports recorded in Q1 2016.
Eira Thomas was recently appointed as the new CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp., replacing William Lamb, who oversaw the successful creation of the world-class Karowe mine in Botswana. Thomas brings more than 25 years’ experience in the mining industry to Lucara, including 16 years with Aber Diamond Corporation (now Dominion Diamond), where she played an integral role as a geologist at its initial discovery and ultimately became Director of the Board.
The Israel Diamond Exchange is turning to digital currencies to inject new life into a marketplace, in the hopes that the introduction of virtual currency will make trading more efficient and less opaque. The two new cryptocurrencies are backed by gems: the first, called Cut, was launched last week for use between dealers in the diamond market. Citing a recent report by Israel’s Justice Ministry, Reuters writes that current transactions are “often carried out anonymously, with the shake of a hand and minimal documentation”.
Petra Diamonds announced in a trading update (unaudited) for the six months ended 31 December 2017 (H1 2018) its production was up 10% to 2,208,056 carats (H1 FY 2017: 2,015,087 carats), in line with H1 guidance of 2.2 - 2.3 Mcts. This represents record production for any six month period for the company. Revenue, however, was down 1% to US$225.2 million (H1 FY 2017: US$228.5 million), mainly due to the Government of Tanzania confiscating a parcel of stones from the Williamson mine (ca. 71,000 carats), claiming Petra had undervalued the goods.
Last week, the Guangzhou Diamond Exchange and Guangdong Gems & Jade Exchange, subsidiaries of Guangdong Assets & Equity Exchange Group, held a series of annual meetings around the theme of “Belt & Road, Hand in Hand — International Jewelry & Diamond Conference 2017". China's Belt and Road Initiative, roughly defined, is a development campaign through which China wants to boost trade and stimulate economic growth across Asia and beyond by building massive amounts of infrastructure connecting it to countries around the globe.
Russian diamond-mining giant ALROSA's rough diamond sales figures in October totaled $326.7 million, which represents a $20 million increase over September but still lags far behind the $430.8 million sold in October 2016. Including polished diamond sales, good for $10.9 million in October, overall revenue for the month was $337.6 million.
The Antwerp diamond industry had a solid month of trading in October, particularly on the export side, as the value of rough and polished exports both took a turn for the better despite soft midstream demand for rough and a seasonally slow polished landscape. Furthermore, according to figures published by the AWDC, the trend of high volumes of low-value rough exports abated for the first time in months, as the increase in the value of rough exports (+15%) nearly kept pace with the increase in volume (+19%) on a year-over-year basis.
According to The Economic Times, Indian diamond traders that participate in rough diamond auctions at Mumbai's Indian Diamond Trading Centre (IDTC) are complaining that taxation issues are reducing their activity to mere window shopping. "Diamantaires can see the rough diamonds they bid for at the IDTC, but the delivery doesn't happen locally .. despite their successful bids at Bharat Diamond Bourse", the newspaper writes.
Last week, a delegation of leading jewelers and diamond traders from across Europe spent three days getting acquainted with their counterparts in Antwerp, enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at the diamond capital and doing business at high-level networking events.
India's exports of cut and polished diamonds fell by 6.5 percent year-over-year in August, reports the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). The Indian trade exported $1.82 billion in August 2017, a decline of 6.5% as compared to the $1.94B in the same month a year earlier, according to provisional data. The $1.82 billion was however higher than the $1.67 billion exported in the month of July. For the financial year to date (April-August), India's polished exports are up by a half percentage point, currently sitting at $9.25 billion, compared to $9.20 billion a year earlier.
In August 2017, Russia's ALROSA Group rough diamond sales by value amounted to $255.7 million, a 5% increase over August 2016. The company's polished diamond sales for the month amounted to $1.9 million, a sharp decline from the $6.3 million sold in August 2016, bringing overall sales for the month to $257.6 million. For the first eight months of the year (Jan.-Aug.), ALROSA's rough sales remained flat, with $3 billion in sales this year compared to $3.1 billion for the first eight months a year ago.
Antwerp's diamond trade bounced back in May after a modest month of April, with significant increases across the board compared to the month prior. On a year-over-year basis, the volume of rough diamond exports increased by more than 55% although their value fell by 3%, while rough imports increased more than 13% in volume while declining 18% in value. Value increases were recorded for imports as well as exports of polished goods, while the volume of imports increased nearly 5% and the volume of exports were down 12%.
Back in September 2016, ALROSA announced a partnership with Indian company KGK Diamonds Private Ltd, a global leader in diamond cutting, to develop cutting and polishing facilities in Eurasian Diamond Centre in Vladivostok.
The London Diamond Bourse (LDB) has announced the appointment of Katherine Chappell as its Special Advisor for Ethical Issues to its Council of Management. Chappell has more than twenty years experience in the gemstone industry, is a longstanding member of London Diamond Bourse, a specialist in fair trade principles and a proponent of ethical sourcing and distribution. She is also a member of Women in Mining.
"Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, called on India to show reciprocity in its trade relationship with the United States," writes eponymous Rapaport News of their founder's “State of Diamond Industry” presentation at GJEPC's "Mines to Market" conference yesterday, marking 50 years of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.
As we noted two weeks ago, word from De Beers and ALROSA was that the sharp decline in low-quality, low-value stones destined for India has abated as the country's cash situation stabilizes post-demonitization, and India's official January trade figures bear this out. The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) reports that the volume of rough diamond imports during the month increased 41% over December 2016 and a full 79% since November 2016 when demonitization was introduced.
Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) of New York is moving to the International Gem Tower on West 47th Street in New York City, from its longtime home at 580 Fifth Ave. President Reuven Kaufman said the move is, "critical to the future success and stability of the diamond industry on 47th Street in New York." The DDC's new home will be approximately 17,500 square feet on the 11th floor, including a new open trading floor with state of the art technical facilities, cafeteria and break area, according to a statement.
ALROSA, the Russian diamond mining giant, reports January sales of rough diamonds at $358.2 million and polished at $7.8 million; overall sales of $365.4 million represent a 107% increase over December 2016 and a 60% increase over the same period last year. The miner said it was "cautiously optimistic" that the trade in lower quality, low-cost goods - the majority of which are destined for India - is stabilizing.
Two professional jewelers are seeking to fill a market need by launching an app for the industry, Jewellery Trader, which gives members of the trade a new tool for sourcing and showcasing jewelry, watches and antiques. It also enables traders to advertise items for sale to consumers. The Jewellery Trader app was designed in an effort to provide an “innovative, cost effective selling tool in an easy to use and manage platform”.
After a difficult 2015, the Antwerp diamond industry recorded a 5% increase in trade in 2016, according to a press release from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). This past year, a total of 48 billion USD worth of diamonds were imported to and exported from Antwerp. "The rough diamond market in particular is clearly making a strong recovery. This is positive sign, given that the rough diamond trade is the foundation and heart of the diamond trade.
Last week, on the occasion of the "Diamond Year" that the City of Antwerp will celebrate from September 2017 through May 2018, the City of Antwerp dug deep into its "Insolvente Boedels" archive, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage resource, to reveal documents dating the diamond trade in Antwerp back to 1447 - or 570 years ago. The 'crown jewel' of the documents revealed is an edict dating from 1447 in which the 'College of Mayor and Aldermen' decree that, "No one may trade in fake diamonds." The College was well ahead of its time.
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Praveen Shankar Pandya told the Press Trust of India he expects gem and jewellery exports to likely witness growth of about 10 percent this fiscal year due to increasing demand in the US and Europe. "We are seeing the markets improve slowly, especially US and Europe to some extent. Looking at the growth in demand in these markets, we are expecting close to 10 per cent growth in the gems and jewellery exports led by polished diamonds," said Pandya.
While it is early days for an already turbulent and unpredictable Trump administration, news that the White House has floated the idea of introducing a border tax on imports from Mexico is likely causing anxiety among retailers that rely on such imports.
Rough diamond sales by ALROSA Group in November 2016 amounted to $245.6 million, while polished diamond sales for the same period amounted to $9.6 million. Total diamond sales in November 2016 amounted to $255.2 million, 63% higher compared to the same period last year. However, November sales represent a 43% decline from the $430.8 million in rough diamonds sold in October, whilst recording a healthy increase over the $8.2M in polished sold last month.
Bain & Company together with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has published their sixth annual report on the global diamond jewelry trade, with the lead insight being that in 2015 - not a banner year by any stretch of the imagination - retail sales grew 3% at constant exchange rates but declined about 2% in US dollar terms due to currency depreciation and slower demand in China. This followed a period of growth from 2012 through 2014, signifying that diamond jewelry consumption has entered "a moderation phase".