India Trade Urged to Freeze Rough Imports

Rough diamond

India’s leading diamond-trade organizations have called on members to stop importing rough for at least a month to prevent an oversupply and ensure banks maintain their credit to the sector.

Companies should consider pausing rough imports from May 15 for a minimum of 30 days, according to a letter from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and four other industry bodies, seen by Rapaport News.

The move — which would be voluntary on the part of the importers — would help the trade recover from the COVID-19 crisis by avoiding a flood of rough entering the pipeline, the letter explained. It would also show lenders that the trade is willing to minimize its debts, thereby dissuading them from slashing credit.

“Such import stoppage will help the industry face the challenge that has arisen out of turmoil in the global gems and jewelry market,” the groups said in their plea to the trade Wednesday. It was signed by heads of the GJEPC, the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai, the Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, the Surat Diamond Bourse, and the Surat Diamond Association.

India’s polishing sector and diamond trade are shut until May 3 at the earliest due to a nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the coronavirus. As it stands, any rough that enters India would remain in inventory until business reopens. Meanwhile, closures of retail and trading centers around the world have obliterated polished demand, putting severe pressure on the Indian industry.

The groups that signed the letter have met with leading diamond exporters and other prominent trade members to explore steps to minimize the impact of the downturn. They have also written to the Indian government to inform it of the “precarious” state of the country’s gem and jewelry industry, they said. The GJEPC and the trade will review the matter in the second week of June to decide if further action is necessary.


Population denounces illegal extraction of diamonds in Angola

Angolan diamonds

Luanda, Mar 4 (Prensa Latina) Popular claims in southern Angola warned of the illegal extraction of diamonds and other natural resources in localities of Cuando Cubango, local press reported on Wednesday.
According to the Jornal de Angola daily, the warnings came from the municipality of Mavinga, where the population observed a group of foreigners in clandestine mining activities.

Cited by the newspaper, the province’s governor Julio Bessa said he knew the claims of the population and promised that personnel from the Ministries of Mineral and Petroleum Resources, and Interior will carry out the relevant investigations to adopt measures.

From the Caiundo commune, 135 kilometers from the city of Menongue, reports also arrived on the extraction of various mineral resources, including mercury, confirmed the governor, who assured he was not in doubts about the complaints’ veracity.

As he acknowledged, another similar concern is the uncontrolled exploitation of forest resources in the province, rich in biodiversity, wood, diamonds, copper, gold, bronze, quartz and iron.

The aforementioned irregularities are a concern of the national authorities, which launched Operation Transparency in September 2018, focused primarily on preventing and punishing crimes related to diamond trafficking and immigration.

As a result of the plan, in September 2019 the executive reported on the seizure of about 35,000 carats in one year.

Source: plenglish

De Beers Profit Falls Amid Market Slump

Rough diamond sorting Kimberley South Africa

De Beers’ profit dropped in the first half of the year as weak demand at the trade and consumer levels impacted diamond prices, the company said Thursday.

The rough market was subdued due to high inventories in both the midstream and the retail sector, as well as a slowdown in growth of consumer demand, the miner explained. The US-China tariff dispute, protests in Hong Kong and the strong US dollar hit retail performances outside the US, especially in China and the Gulf region. In the US, retailers’ store closures and reduction of stocks weighed on polished demand, creating a further negative effect for the rough business, De Beers added.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) slumped 27% to $518 million as a result of the impact on margins, the miner reported. Total underlying earnings fell 7% to $187 million. Revenue slid 17% to $2.65 billion, with rough-diamond sales decreasing 21% to $2.3 billion. Other revenues came from businesses such as Element Six, its industrial-diamond unit, and De Beers Jewellers, its high-end retail chain.

“The lower rough-diamond sales reflected higher-than-expected polished stocks at retailers and the midstream at the beginning of 2019, with overall midstream inventory levels continuing to be high throughout the first half,” De Beers noted.

De Beers’ rough-price index, measuring prices on a like-for-like basis, fell 4% for the period versus a year earlier. The average selling price declined 7% to $151 per carat, influenced by a change in the sales mix caused by the weaker conditions.

The company expects those challenges to continue in the short term, but also foresees an improvement as the industry reduces its inventory and consumer demand rises.

“Underlying GDP [gross domestic product] growth remains supportive of consumer-demand growth, and is expected to bring midstream and retailer stocks back to more normalized levels as we move into 2020, subject to an improving macroeconomic environment,” De Beers said.

Last week, De Beers reduced its production outlook following low demand, forecasting output of 31 million carats this year, whereas it had previously expected to recover 31 million to 33 million carats. Production fell 11% to 15.6 million carats during the first half, as the company chose not to increase mining levels at other deposits to compensate for a lull at the Venetia mine. Output at the site in South Africa has fallen amid its transition from open-pit to underground operations.