Banks lending in the $15 billion diamond-financing industry are cutting the amount they’ll offer to clients amid fears that prices are rising too fast.
Antwerp Diamond Bank and ABN Amro Group NV, two of the biggest lenders to the industry, have reduced the amount to 70 percent of rough diamond purchases from 100 percent, demanding that buyers of the stones front up more of their own cash.
Belgian exports of uncut diamonds climbed 46 percent by volume in February, helped by a second tender sale of stones from Zimbabwe, trade group Antwerp World Diamond Centre said.
Imports of rough diamonds rose 35 percent by volume, according to a statement from AWDC. January exports of uncut stones rose 22 percent with a 12.5 percent increase in imports. Exports of polished gems last month rose 13.6 percent, while imports fell 0.9 percent, AWDC said.
De Beers is making the biggest change to the way it sells diamonds in more than a decade as it seeks to direct more gems to its most successful customers.
The world’s biggest diamond producer plans to jettison a process that allocates gems to buyers in proportion to their business plans. It will instead emphasize buyers’ track record in making purchases at previous sales events, the Anglo American Plc unit said in e-mailed comments this week.