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Positive forecast for the diamond industry in 2020

Publishing Date : 20 January, 2020

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

Following a subdued trading year for the global diamond industry in 2019 owing to US –China trade war amongst other factors, the multibillion dollar lucrative business is set for steady recovery in the year 2020.  This is according to Rapaport Group, a United States based diamond industry think tank.


In a communiqué dispatched from Las Vegas on Tuesday, the company shared that Diamond market conditions improved in December as US and Chinese holiday demand helped raise sentiment.  Polished prices stabilized and improved for sizes under 1 carat, supported by shortages of G+, VS2+ goods. However High-end qualities (F+, VVS+) of 3 carats and larger diamonds remain weak, According to Rapaport’s RapNet Diamond Index, 1-carat diamonds slid 0.2% in December and 5.3% for the full year. The index for 0.30- and 0.50-carat stones firmed in the fourth quarter following steep declines earlier in the year 2019.


2019 Downturn

Rapaport observed in the report that the market in 2019 was supply-driven, an oversupply of diamonds set a negative tone, leaving the trade with numerous diamonds that were difficult to sell. Inventory levels declined in the fourth quarter of 2019, but there were a lot of lower-quality goods still available at the end of December. The Las Vegas diamond business behemoth further says the year also saw a change in consumer patterns with multi-channel jewelry shopping and online diamond trading gaining momentum.


“That gave buyers access to larger inventories and more information about the goods, enabling them to cherry-pick the best-quality stones and leaving the trade with large quantities of less desirable merchandise.” The industry in 2019 also endured tight manufacturing profits, a reduction in bank credit, and cautious Far East demand resulting from uncertainty about the US-China trade war and Hong Kong protests.


De Beers’s low sales

The year 2019 presented a difficult sales path for many companies including diamond mining giant De Beers Group, the lucrative industry behemoth sold about $1.36 billion less worth of polished diamonds. In the year 2018 De Beers’s rough diamonds sales amounted to US$5.39 Billion, approximately P54 Billion, this was a slight pickup from the 2017 sales value of US$5.31 Billion. For the year 2019 the company‘s entire  ten cycles only gathered total sales provisional value of US$4.04 billion, way below the 2018 value by about $1.35 billion (around P14 billion) mirroring a 25 % decrease.


Following 2019 revised full year production guidance to approximately 31 million carats of diamonds down 11 percent from 35 million last year, De Beers’s parent company Anglo American further cut its diamond production forecast for the next two years.  In 2020, it expects De Beers will mine 32-34 million carats, down from its previous outlook of 33-35 million. For 2021, the forecast was cut from 35-37 million carats to 34-36 million carats. Production guidance for full year 2022 is 33 to 35 million carats. De Beers however closed the year with slight signs of recovery with their 10th cycle registering improved sales when compared to the previous cycles during the year.

The 2020 Recovery

Going into 2020 Rapaport says there is some optimism for the new decade. The company says the industry can expect lower rough supply, market consolidation, and further changes to the way diamonds are bought and financed aswell as greater use of technology.
Rapaport further predicts that there will be more emphasis on ethical sourcing, and segmentation of lab-grown and natural diamonds into distinct markets.


According to the Las Vegas based experts to navigate these trends and bring about an upswing in diamond prices, the industry must invest in marketing and develop more efficient processes and inventory management. “Diamond jewelry sales must outperform the last decade’s and should exceed $100 billion by 2030” forecasts Rapaport.


The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added-value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive and efficient diamond and jewelry markets. Established in 1976, the Group has more than 20,000 clients in over 121 countries.


Group activities include Rapaport Information Services, providing the Rapaport benchmark Price List for diamonds, as well as research, analysis and news; RapNet – the world’s largest diamond trading network, with over 15,000 members in 97 countries and daily listings of approximately 1.3 million diamonds valued at approximately $7.4 billion. Part of the Group is also the Rapaport Laboratory Services, providing GIA and Rapaport gemological services in India, Israel and Belgium; and Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of diamonds, selling over 500,000 carats of diamonds a year.

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