“We want to change the narrative surrounding the diamond industry,” says Diamond Empowerment Fund executive director Nancy Orem Lyman.
Back in February, the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) hosted the "Diamond Financing 2017: New Opportunities, New Realities" seminar coinciding with the 2017 Presidents Meeting, the biannual gathering of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB). Avi Krawitz reports on the proceedings: "The bankers still view diamonds as a high-risk sector. Representatives from the diamond trade, meanwhile, feel there has been significant progress in improving the industry’s level of compliance, transparency and so-called bankability.
Diamond industry analalist Avi Krawitz takes stock of last week's Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show in Hong Kong, as many in the industry were looking to the event for telltale signals of the prevalent mood in early 2017. All reports from the show have been positive, "as Chinese jewelers were looking for goods after being absent from the market for some time", and it was clearly a buyers' market, says Krawitz.
Avi Krawitz of Rapaport News sat down with Joseph Kuzi, CEO of EGL Asia and director of Diamond Services, a Hong-Kong based synthetics testing facility, to talk about the phenomenon of undisclosed synthetic diamonds. He heard that the technology behind and production of synthetic diamonds is increasing rapidly, and just because we do not hear about every instance where undisclosed mixing of synthetic and natural diamonds is discovered, does not mean it is not widespread.
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".
Avi Krawitz of Rapaport News details a decision by the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) to enforce a new rule compelling a dealer to cancel the sale of a rough diamond after he failed to disclose that a stone underwent value analysis using a Sarine Galaxy machine. Krawitz has been informed it is the first ever enforcement of new guidelines the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) adopted in May aiming to keep a level playing field between both parties trading rough diamonds.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz presents his rundown of the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) that took place last week in Mumbai. While noting that IIJS is currently a niche domestic show focusing on gold jewelry - which saw steady business, with jewelers expecting demand to rise along with gold's upward trend - Krawitz sensed optimism about the diamond market even though domestic diamond consumption has slowed recently. "India’s jewelry industry has some hurdles to climb before the diamond trade can grow domestic supply [and demand - DL].
Rapaport News' Avi Krawitz interviewed recently appointed president of the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) Tony Capuano, who discussed the health of the U.S. jewelry market, bank lending, Millennials and the JBT itself. Capuano noted the continuing trend toward consolidation and declining numbers of retailers in the U.S. jewelry market. "The industry continues to contract and consolidate. There are still 29,000 jewelry companies across the U.S., of which about 21,000 are retailers. Our data shows 700 retailers left the industry in the 12 months to the end of the first quarter.
In an in-depth analysis, Rapaport's Avi Krawitz maps who is buying rough from the four main diamond producers, De Beers, Alrosa, Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamonds, combined accounting for an estimated 60% of global rough supply.
Earlier this week, Lucara Diamond Corporation unveiled the most expensive rough diamond ever sold, writes Avi Krawitz. "A short press statement - initially sent without pictures - reported the 812.77-carat stone named ‘The Constellation’ sold for $63.1 million breaking “all records” for a rough diamond. Ordinarily, Lucara would be making a bigger fuss about this eye-popping sale. But the company, along with the diamond and investment communities, knows this was a mere curtain raiser.
"Diamond sector profitability came under the spotlight in 2015 due to sluggish consumer demand in emerging markets and high rough prices relative to the resulting polished", writes Avi Krawitz for Rapaport Magazine. "Consequently, the year was one the industry would rather forget as it was characterized by excess supply and consolidation. Polished prices fell as manufacturers held large quantities of diamonds that were difficult to sell.
Diamond industry analyst Avi Krawitz writes for Rapaport News that, "Fifty years on from independence, Botswana still finds itself in desperate need of improvements in its economic diversity. Its unsustainable reliance on diamonds is the reason why." The country's economic success story over the last fifty years is almost entirely attributable to the development of its diamond industry, but over-dependence on diamonds - last year the industry contributed 33% of Botswana's GDP - leaves it vulnerable to a downturn in the market, such as we have seen in 2015.
Recapping an alltogether difficult and unusual year, the coming holiday season will be an important yardstick to determine where the diamond industry is heading, Rapaport analyst Avi Krawitz says. The stable but modest growth in the US market, turmoil on the stock markets and the continued pressure on the Chinese market - expectations for China's Golden Week sales results are low - don't call for optimism.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has developed a work plan to resume rough diamond exports from the Central African Republic (CAR), which would partially end the sanctions of the country’s diamond production. Bernado Campos, Angola’s chairman of the KP, explained that KP participants and observers reached an understanding that CAR may commence exporting rough diamonds upon full implementation of a proposed operational framework and pending completion of a proposed KP review mission to the country.
Industry analyst Avi Krawitz weighs in on the pressing issues from the Presidents’ Meeting in Tel Aviv this week, but the issue of profitability was the most pressing. The clearest directive was WFDB president Ernie Blom’s appeal to the trade not to buy high-priced rough. “We’re our own worst enemy,” Blom said.
In his editorial, Rapaport's Avi Krawitz notes that a vital element for the industry to ensure continuity in manufacturing operations is securing consistent long-term supply. But who is buying the rough through long-term contracts with De Beers, ALROSA, Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Corp., the suppliers that together account for about two-thirds of global production by volume ? Krawitz gives a comprehensive overview of which companies are buying rough?
Avi Krawitz compares the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, while the first was the last positive episode in the diamond industry, the first three months of 2015 were tough, caused by slower than expected demand, consequent hesitant restocking by retailers, tight liquidity, and the lack of price corrections on the rough market. Even though the challenges for the industry - improving liquidity levels by raising demand - remain difficult, Krawitz expects the cycle will turn with reduced rough supply and manufacturing, shortages will ultimately help stabilize the market and stimulate demand
In this week's editorial Rapaport's Avi Krawitz comments on the state of the industry. While the industry's major mining companies gathered at Rio Tinto's London HQ earlier this month, with representatives from De Beers, ALROSA, Dominion Diamond Corporation, Grib Diamonds, Petra Diamonds, Lucara Diamond Corporation and Gem Diamonds all in attendance, it is clear the diamond mining companies need to play their part to ensure profitability throughout the distribution chain.
As the Hong Kong March Show drew to an end Rapaport's Avi Krawitz looks back at the key take aways of the Show - meeting low expectations in the industry -, the prospects of a maturing Chinese market, the role of the Chinese anti corruption campaign, and the overall state of the industry, which seems to be heading more and more towards consolidation.