March 11th, 2020 – Brussels
Exports of polished diamonds from Belgium fell 55 per cent year on year in February 2020, latest data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) showed.
Polished diamond imports also dropped 11.11 per cent while rough diamond exports slid 16 per cent. Imports of rough diamonds meanwhile saw a 10.06 per cent increase, AWDC data further revealed.
In another development, Russian mining giant Alrosa is giving its clients buying flexibility amid the Covid-19 outbreak. The company recently met its long-term clients and AWDC representatives in Antwerp ahead of the March trading session to discuss the current market situation and potential scenarios.
The novel coronavirus outbreak, coupled with other macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges, resulted in weaker demand for jewellery in China and Hong Kong, which account for about 14 per cent of global demand for polished diamonds. This in turn led to lower diamond sales, Alrosa said.
“Right after the crisis of 2019, the diamond industry faced a new unexpected test,” stated Evgeny Agureev, Deputy CEO of Alrosa. “The virus has triggered uncertainty, and our clients are prudent about the situation and the new challenges we face. However, the industry is better prepared for this situation.”
He noted that polished stocks in the midstream are lower compared to a year ago while sales policies of diamond miners have been relaxed. Alrosa is committed to supporting its customers by keeping a flexible sales policy, Agureev continued.
AWDC CEO Ari Epstein commented, “Alrosa’s transparency about the current situation and its decision to maintain flexibility concerning the purchasing contracts is very reassuring to their clients in Antwerp.”