The global diamond industry today is facing challenges that are heavily impacting the way business is done and moreover will be done in the future. Never before has the diamond trade’s financing model, the lifeblood of the industry, been under more pressure. While more and more financial institutions have pulled out of the industry, those that remain have taken a cautious stance on providing the much-needed financial oxygen diamond traders crave in virtually every diamond hub. Against this backdrop, many questions have emerged: is the industry on its way to consolidation? How can we attract new financial players to enter the market? Is the industry confronted with overreach in terms of (financing) regulation? Are we in the midst of a transformation that will radically change the industry’s financial models and, to a larger extent, how business is being done ?
By all accounts, the mood at this week’s De Beers sight in Botswana was grim, particularly for January—traditionally an upbeat meeting. De Beers did adjust prices (somewhat) but not enough for some, given the expected coming correction in rough.
LONDON, United Kingdom — Jewellers who fill up Christmas stockings with diamonds are increasingly doing so by investing in or securing supply deals directly from individual mines, avoiding the industry’s middlemen.
Antwerp’s diamond dealers, who buy and sell 80 percent of the world’s most valuable gemstones, have lost their bank.
The Antwerp Diamond Bank, a source of finance for 80 years to the network of companies that trade, cut and polish in the Belgian port city, will stop lending after a sale by KBC Groep NV to China’s Yinren Group collapsed last week. It’s likely to make loans scarcer in an industry that relies on debt to buy the dull, rough diamonds that are finished into jewelry.
Firestone Diamonds Ltd. plans to sell gems from its Lesotho mine in Antwerp, giving a boost to the Belgian port city as it battles rivals in the Middle East and Asia.
“Antwerp is probably where we go first,” Chief Executive Officer Stuart Brown said in an interview in London yesterday. “We can see the most people in the shortest period of time there.”
Antwerp, the world’s biggest trading hub for uncut diamonds, gets a new lender to the industry today as Union Bank of India opens a branch in the Belgian city.
The move by the Mumbai-based company means that five Indian lenders will be active in Belgium, according to the country’s central bank. The Antwerp office, in the heart of the city’s diamond district, will dedicate a fifth of its $200 million loan book to diamonds in the first year, Union Bank Chairman Arun Tiwari said in an interview in the Belgian city. The office will also undertake trade finance, remittances and syndicated loans.