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World diamond production in 2015-2019

05 may 2020

The Kimberley Process usually publishes actual diamond production figures at the end of July of the following year, but diamond production in 2019 can be determined with a certain precision by calculation. The five largest diamond mining companies in 2015-2018, on average per year, provided about 75% of the global carat diamond production and 85% of the value of the product sales. Based on this, and taking into account the influence of synthetic diamonds, we suggest 75% for carat diamond production by volume and 80% by value (Table 1).

Table 1

The largest global diamond mining companies, 2015-2019

analyt_06052020_eng.png

According to the estimates, 141.3 mn carats of diamonds worth $13,058.2 mn were mined in the world in 2019. Thus, the annual decline in diamond production was 4.8% by volume and 9.7% by value, with an average diamond selling price of $92.48/ct.

In 2020, the pressure from synthetic rough and polished diamonds will increase and we suggest that the decline in the natural diamond production will continue in 2020.

Increase in the synthetic diamond production and sales in 2020

The lower prices of synthetic diamonds compared to natural diamonds, as well as the market advantages associated with ethics and sustainability, became largely hardwired in the general public brains. The promotion of the product is probably also facilitated by a seemingly less obvious factor - the profit margin that it offers to retailers. When analyzing wholesale and retail prices for non-branded synthetic and natural diamonds, it is seen that the gross retail profit from synthetic diamonds of popular sizes is 1.8 times higher than that from natural ones. Therefore, their production in 2020 is likely to increase.

To estimate the synthetic diamond production this year, you can see the lab-grown diamond imports and exports in India in January 2020. According to the preliminary data published by the Gem & Jewelery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), their exports for the month amounted to $44.10 mn compared to $20.87 mn in 2019, and the lab-grown diamond imports declined to $12.48 mn from $20.38 mn a year ago.

The lab-grown diamond imports totaled $42.43 mn in January 2020 compared with $14.44 mn in January 2019. The lab-grown diamond exports amounted to $7.12 mn in April 2019 - January 2020 compared with $11.27 mn in the same period a year ago. The lab-grown diamond exports amounted to $356.16 mn from April 19, 2019 to January 2020 compared with $172.09 mn for the same period last year. Thus, the synthetic diamond production should double, i.e., increase up to 10% of the global diamond mining output. In figures, this is 14 mn carats worth about $10 bn.

Yury Danilov, Ph. D., independent expert and analyst