Multiple forces seem to be conspiring against the diamond industry these days, and if mining stocks are any indication, the wider market takes a pessimistic view of its prospects. But as independent analyst Paul Zimnisky explains in his latest analysis, "Don’t Give Up on the Diamond Industry Just Yet", to take this attitude as a foregone conclusion is to underestimate the resilience of the industry as a whole and overlook not only the enduring intangible value of diamonds, but also the impact of what may well become their much more tangible rarity.
The Millennial and Gen Z generations combined accounted for two-thirds of global diamond jewelry sales in 2017, as diamond jewelry demand reached a new record high of US$82 billion, according to data published today by De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report.
Global consumer demand for diamond jewelry hit a new all-time high in 2017, climbing to US$82 billion, a two percent increase on the previous year, according to industry insight data published today by De Beers Group. The US was the main driver of growth for the fourth consecutive year, De Beers writes, where positive macroeconomics and strong consumer confidence - which recently hit an 18-year high - saw demand for diamond jewelry increase four percent to $43 billion, representing more than half of total global demand.
In an article published by Interfax Alrosa’s Vice President Yuri Okoyemov stated seasonal factors had affected demand for rough diamonds in March, which were slightly down compared to January-February. "But the results of the trading session in March are good; Q1 on the whole can be given a positive assessment," he said. "Generally the forecast for the year is good at the moment; we are expecting stable demand and prices, with seasonal variations."
Coming off of 2017, a year in which global diamond supply by volume increased by 11.7% year-over-year, supply is forecast to contract by 3.4% to 147M carats in 2018, writes independent industry analyst Paul Zimnisky. Of the world's top three diamond miners by volume, only De Beers is expected to increase production this year, while diamond output at Russia's ALROSA and diversified-major Rio Tinto is estimated to decline, more than offsetting De Beers' increase. Combined, the three companies represent approximately 70% of global diamond supply by volume.
Sergey Ivanov (37), the young CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the world’s largest diamond miner, ALROSA, was in Antwerp for the company’s annual meeting with its 56 long-term clients. ALROSA is a traditional company in a traditional business, and still evokes the reputation of a state-owned giant despite the partial privatization (currently 34%) of the company a few years ago.
Diamond industry analyst Ehud Laniado takes a helpful look at the, "trends, anomalies and problems in the wholesale sector of the diamond market" as we approach the holiday season. As anticipated, demand is rising, but changes in the nature of that demand are causing some concern; in particular, the steady shift to lower-priced goods, lower peaks in demand and an overall decline in polished prices.
"Of all of the ways to adorn yourself, what has nature created that has lasting beauty like a rock?" said Antoinette Matlins. "As soon as you cut a flower, it wilts. A sunset is beautiful but you can't capture or wear it. There's is something so special and everlasting about nature's creation of minerals and rocks."
“People have long bought flashy items because they made them feel good. Now some say those same items make them feel icky,” wrote JCK’s Rob Bates. According to a recent New York Times article a percentage of affluent consumers are moving away from the ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it’ stereotype. Some even consider their wealth a burden, going as far as hiding the price tag of their recent purchases.
According to industry insight data published today by De Beers Group, the shifting dynamic of women’s expanding roles in society and changing perceptions of femininity are creating new motivations of diamond jewelry acquisition. Social and economic changes have expanded the symbolism of diamond jewelry, women are now more empowered which has led to record levels of self-purchase, as well as the establishment of a new consumer type.
Hong-Kong based Chow Tai Fook jewelry Group, China's largest jeweler by market value, reports a 3.9% growth in net profit for the financial year which ended March 31, 2017, indicating a return to profit following a sales decline in Hong Kong and Macau, dating back to Q4 2014. The company told the media that although they had seen a stronger second half, a full-fledged recovery was still some time away.
According to industry insight data published today by De Beers Group, "U.S. Diamond Jewelry Demand Hits US$41 Billion High", total diamond jewelry demand from US consumers increased 4.4 per cent in 2016 to exceed US$40 billion for the first time. While slower US GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017 is likely to have impacted diamond jewelry demand in the short term, the US has recorded five years of consecutive demand growth. US consumers now account for roughly half of all diamond jewellery purchases globally – a level not seen since before the financial crisis.
American’s have a positive view of the current economic condition leading consumer confidence to reportedly reach the highest level in over 16 years. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index jumped by more than 100 since February, indicating an improvement for the second consecutive month. It also eclipsed economists’ estimates of 114.
The diamond industry's famous supply and demand chart - the 'hungry crocodile' - representing its forecast of rising rough diamond prices as production falls to shortage levels, "Not only has never materialized, it oversimplifies the fact that the industry’s 15,000 different categories of diamonds are performing in very different ways," writes Thomas Biesheuvel for Bloomberg.
Stéphane Fischler, President of the International Diamond Council, founding member of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers, Vice President of the World Diamond Council and President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre talks to Manisha Gupta on India's CNBC-TV18. He shared his view of the Indian diamond industry and the road ahead for its diamond market. An abbreviated version:
CNBC: How do you see diamond consumption growth in India?
When people talk badly about diamonds, they think of the stone they're going to buy, but they don't think of the lives that are going to be affected. In Botswana, for example, 45-50% of the total GDP comes from diamond mining. So when people say, "I'm not going to buy a diamond because it has a bad rep", think of the two-plus million people in Botswana that will be affected.
Retail sales in Hong Kong across all categories resigtered an 0.9% drop in value terms and a 1.4% fall in volume terms year-on-year, according to statistics released last week by the HK government.
The Academy Awards taking place tonight are not only Hollywood cinema's biggest night of the year, but are also one of the most pivotal annual events for fashion, brands and iconic jewelry.
Chinese shoppers are generally estimated to make approximately 30% of the world’s luxury purchases, and according to De Beers "Diamond Insight Report", Mainland Chinese demand for diamond jewelry doubled from a 7% global share in 2008 to 14% in 2015, making it the second largest consumer of diamond jewelry. Bain & Company estimated their share of the global luxury market decreased by one percentage point in 2016, due mainly to China’s economic growth slowdown, thriving deman
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his thoughtful analysis of the year that was in the diamond industry 2016: "The Year Trust Returned to the Diamond Trade".
The diamond industry is changing, and the global environment in which we operate is changing too. There is a constant and inseparable interaction between the two. We must continue to evolve ... The diamond industry should change its traditional approach towards consumers. My proposed new approach towards current and future consumers is one based on openness and transparency. For most consumers, the diamond mining and manufacturing process is opaque.
Reflecting on the impact of the Trump election victory on the future of the diamond trade, particularly on the U.S. and India, independent industry consultant Pranay Narvekar writes in GJEPC's Solitaire International that America's share of the global polished diamond market - already the highest by far at 45% of total value - should only increase in the coming years, while the strength of the dollar and other expected policy moves will only exacerbate uncertainty throughout the trade.
Paul Zimnisky, independent diamond analyst of the eponymous Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, writes that rough diamond prices are up 12.1% for the year 2016 through mid-December after major miners' efforts to curtail global supply, combined with a healthy 2015 retail holiday season, have tilted the skewed 2015 balance between over-supply and diminishing demand.
On November 14, Richemont announced they would cut 210 jobs, this following the announcement from Chairman Johann Rupert, who abolished the CEO position in the company’s biggest management shakeup since 2009.
Cheetos, the finger-lickingly good snack brand owned by Frito-Lay, has launched a high-quality jewelry collection to ring in the holidays. The jewelry set, ‘Eye of the Cheetah from the Chestora Collection’, includes a one-of-a-kind gold and diamond encrusted earring and ring set which retails at $20,000. The dazzling Eye of the Cheetah, an 18k yellow gold ring, features a magnificent 4.7 carat orange sapphire. Each earring boasts matching orange sapphires, totaling 2.89 carats.
According to a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Chinese Consumer in 2030” (paywall) released this week, 35 percent of China’s population is predicted to be “upper-middle class” or above by 2030, reports Jing Daily. EIU's summary introducing the report states, "The traditional drivers of China’s economy, investment and exports, are struggling, but the country’s consumers keep spending.
Jing Daily writes that according to Bain & Company’s annual industry "Bain Luxury Study" report, 2016 marks the first time in history that Chinese consumers contributed less to global luxury sales than they did the year before, despite China’s luxury market growth re-emerging into positive territory after two years of recession.
Last week, De Beers published its second "Diamond Insight Report", analysing the current state and future outlook for the global diamond industry - 'from mine to finger' as they say.
In his latest contribution to the diamond debate, "Diamond Trade a Medical Diagnosis: Self-Destructive" Melvin Moss, president at Regal Imports Ltd, argues for a unified marketing strategy - together with a standardized grading system - to benefit all in the diamond value chain. Currently, the situation is one where each company is promoting its own brand, thereby working against the interests of the diamond industry as a whole. "The multitude of new proprietary brands ... are making generic diamond marketing complicated.
Jean-Marc Lieberherr is CEO of the Diamond Producers Association, formed in May 2015 by seven of the world’s leading diamond companies to maintain and enhance consumer demand for, and confidence in diamonds. Lieberherr joined Rio Tinto’s diamond business in 2005, "a life-changing move", he tells us. With the official launch of DPA's "Real is Rare. Real is a Diamond." campaign to take place in early October, Lieberherr lays out his vision of the DPA and responds to some questions on key issues in the diamond industry.
The diamond industry should stress the rarity and economic value of diamonds to retailers, writes Lisa Levinson, country manager, Forevermark UK and Ireland, in Professional Jeweller. "Diamond purchases evoke feelings of love, celebration, and euphoria. It is what sets them apart from other consumer categories. Being both expensive and emotionally significant, consumers want diamond jewelry to honor these attributes. They want rarity and they want reassurance. Diamond buyers want their diamond to be as unique as the feeling it portrays."
Andrey Polyakov, President of the World Diamond Council and Vice-President of ALROSA, sat down for an interview with Interfax (translation published exclusively by Rough-Polished), covering everything from the work and mission of the World Diamond Council (WDC), the Kimberley Process (KP), the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) and consumer demand for complete information about jewelry, to the possibility of ALROSA joining the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), setting up a diamond tracking program in China and the consumer markets in India, Brazil and the United States
Almost 500 North American jewelry businesses discontinued operations in the second quarter of this year, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT). The figure is a 66 percent increase on the number JBT recorded in the second quarter of 2015, and provides a strong signal that the industry’s consolidation is continuing. A total of 475 number businesses discontinued operations in the United States and Canada together, with 460 of them being in the United States.
Following a strong 2015 that saw Indian demand for De Beers' jewelry brand Forevermark grow by 35%, the brand is expecting 30% growth in sales in India in 2016, according to an interview with the Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier in The Economic Times. Lussier said they are being cautious with their estimates due to the jewelers strike earlier in the year. "We are expecting 30% growth in India this year on the back of stable diamond prices globally. We are the number one diamond brand in the country and we are focused on expanding deeper in the country through our jeweler partners.
CARAT+, "the World’s Premier Diamond Event", has announced in a press release that it will host its trade event in the Antwerp Expo from 7 to 9 May 2017, writes IDEX Online.
Lisa Du for Bloomberg: With the summer wedding season in full swing, the most important prop - a diamond ring - is the leading issue for couples planning to tie the knot. A one-carat diamond costs the equivalent of eight weeks' salary, or about $7,300, for the average American worker as of last month.
Luk Fook Holdings reported that the slump in sales continued in its first fiscal quarter due to a slowdown in Mainland China and low sales in Hong Kong and Macau. The firm last month reported that sales and profit tumbled for the fiscal year ended March 31.
New De Beers Group CEO, Bruce Cleaver, has highlighted the importance of relationships with all the company’s partners, saying they are the “cornerstone of the business”, the company stated in a press release citing his blog for the company website. Mr Cleaver, who took up the role on 1 July, said: “De Beers holds a unique position with consumers, our rough diamond customers, governments, communities and retailers ...
Drawing a worrying analogy between the film The Big Short (2015) - which depicts how everyone took part in the ultimately disastrous play on U.S. subprime mortgages even though the fundamental truth was, or should have been, known to those familiar with the mortgage market - and the current trend in the diamond market, Ehud Arye Laniado issues a warning about ignoring the lessons learned as a result of the diamond downturn of 2015.
Luk Fook warns that its profit for the past fiscal year which ended on March 31 is likely to drop by 35 to 45 percent as a result of reduced spending by tourists from mainland China. The strength of the Hong Kong dollar against China's renminbi is also putting Chinese visitors off buying, along with an economic slowdown in the mainland and a rise in the popularity of other tourist destinations.