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AWDC regrets seizure of Zim diamonds, but says not involved in the matter
margaux_donckier_preview.jpgAbout 500 000 carats of Zimbabwean diamonds worth about $45 million that were on sale last month at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) were first attached by Amari Platinum before the Belgian court reversed the seizure, pending a court ruling, which is expected anytime soon. A group of white former commercial farmers also attached the same diamonds on the basis of an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration award against the Zimbabwean government to compensate the ex-farmers. As the legal battle rages on, the voice of AWDC had been silent and Rough&Polished’s Mathew Nyaungwa sought a comment from the centre’s spokesperson Margaux Donckier, who said they regret the seizure. However, AWDC was quick to point out that they were not involved in the matter. Donckier also commented on the recent closure of the Antwerp Diamond Bank.

Interaction with clients is a key to understanding what they want and what they need
varuna_jani_preview.jpgVaruna D Jani, an award-winning jeweler ahead of her time, understands that it’s not only about investing but there is also a need of styling and personalization of jewellery. She is known more as an ‘adornologist’ than a ‘jewellery designer’. Belonging to a jeweller family, Varuna imparts knowledge and gives her recommendations on jewelry that suit individual personality. In an interview with Rough&Polished, Varuna revealed her passion for jewellery designing even as a child and her initiation into the business eventually.

Maxim Shkadov: "We need to create our own sales channel providing maximum penetration to the market"
maxim_shkadov_preview_08113013.jpgTaking into account the ongoing discussion about the future of the Russian diamond industry, Rough&Polished asked Maxim Shkadov, CEO of Kristall (Smolensk), the largest diamond manufacturer in Russia and Europe to answer our questions. In his interview, he expressed his views on the problems currently facing the industry.

Surat Diamond Bourse Project will be Successful - Dineshbhai Navadiya, President of Surat Diamond Association
dinesh_navadia_preview_2.jpgWorking closely with the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) for almost 18 odd years, Dineshbhai Navadiya, President of SDA has held different positions as an office bearer, as well as an active member of the organization. In the year 2010, he was elected President of SDA and has remained its President ever since. Though the tenure of a SDA President is only for two years, Dineshbhai has been re-elected President every year due to his diligence and dedication towards the Indian diamond industry. Speaking to Rough&Polished, Dineshbhai explains in detail the activities of SDA and its achievements, worker exodus, defaults in the market, etc., and the current challenges faced by the cutting and polishing sector.



News

24.10.2014
ALROSA Supervisory Board meeting
In accordance with the Labour Code of the Russian Federation, the labour contract of ALROSA President Fyodor Andreev is terminated since October 23. Fyodor Andreev’s decision on resignation is caused by medical reasons.This was announced by the company in a press release distributed on Thursday. Fyodor Andreev will continue as a non-executive Supervisory Board member. First vice-president Ilya Ryashchin has taken over from Mr. Andreev as acting president of ALROSA.

24.10.2014
Petra Diamonds says FY 2014 output, revenue up
Petra Diamonds, which has mines in South Africa and Tanzania, said it continued to make a “steady progress” in the fiscal year (FY) 2014 as the company recorded higher output than previously envisaged.

24.10.2014
Lucara rakes in $46.4m from “exceptional” stone tender
Lucara Diamond has pocketed $46.4 million from its third and final “exceptional” stone tender for the year.



Cautious prognosis for diamond market after ‘good’ holiday season

30.01.2012

Rockwell Diamonds, which operates alluvial diamond mines in South Africa, said recently that anecdotal evidence suggests that diamond jewellery sales in the United States were better during the last Christmas season than the year before.

This, it said, is expected to assist in the liquidation of inventory with the resultant cash flow improvement rolling over into the January and February rough diamond purchasing period.

Rapaport Group also noted that confidence had improved in the diamond industry since January 1, following a period of relative price stability and a “satisfactory” United States holiday season.

Jewellery seller, Tiffany & Co said that worldwide Christmas-season sales rose 7 percent year on year to $952 million for the two months that ended on December 31.

It said retail sales rose 4 percent to $503 million across the Americas, which include the U.S., Canada and Latin America, while sales leaped 19 percent to $165 million in the Asia-Pacific.

Japan recorded a sales increase of 13 percent to $160 million, it said, adding that Europe sales improved by 1 percent to $117 million.

Rockwell expects diamond prices and demand to increase through the first half of 2012, while Rapaport cautioned that there were concerns whether current price levels were sustainable due to the adverse economic conditions.

The question, however, is whether the conditions that led to a dip in the diamond market during the second half of 2011 were still prevalent.

According to Rapaport the decline recorded during the second half of 2011 was influenced by increasing uncertainty caused by the U.S. and European economic crises, volatile financial, currency and commodity markets, as well as continued political instability in the Mideast.

It said tight liquidity, particularly in India, also impacted trading from July as manufacturers were unable to obtain replacement costs on the high rough prices they had paid earlier in the year.

Clearly, these factors are still prevalent and largely expected to continue influencing the market this year.

The World Bank recently slashed its global economic growth forecasts and warned that rich nations' debt problems may yet reap a crisis that would eclipse the tumult of 2008.

It noted that although the financial turmoil appeared contained at the moment, the risk of a much broader freezing up of capital markets and a global crisis similar in magnitude to the Lehman crisis remains.

It is such a gloomy picture that will largely affect the performance of the diamond market particularly, in the U.S and Europe.

However, this might not be the case in China and to some extend India, which saw its economic growth decelerate in part, last year, because of domestic policy tightening.

Diamonds.net said sentiment in the U.S about prospects for the coming months was mixed as it remains to be seen whether large retailers will build inventories at the same pace as last year.

It also said polished trading remains relatively slow in India due to weak domestic demand and caution by buyers about the general market.

Rough trading was slow but activity is expected to improve in the coming weeks as the January sight cycle begins.

“There is sufficient supply of goods in the market but very few transactions are taking place due to wide price differentials,” it said.

“Large manufactures have maintained their production levels while small and medium size cutters are operating at well below capacity.”

Chinese buyers on the other hand were currently focused on filling last-minute orders before the Chinese New Year begins on January 23, but a slowdown was expected in the coming weeks as the focus turns to the retail market, Diamonds.net said. 

By and large it appears the market will pick in some regions and slow in others.

However, with the economic uncertainty that characterized the better part of the second half of 2011 still hovering above the diamond market, despite good business recorded during the holiday season, it is tricky, as Rockwell Diamonds did, to conclude that all will be rosy during the first half of year.

Predicting the performance of the diamond market this year, especially at this stage is problematic; hence caution is the buzz word.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished

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