Trading in Antwerp

Avi Krawitz

At face value, the recent cooperation agreement between the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and ALROSA didn’t bring much that’s new to the table. While Antwerp has long been the Russian mining company’s strongest export destination, the deal did not ensure that more goods will be shipped there. Rather, the agreement should be viewed as a symbol of Antwerp’s still highly relevant position in the rough diamond market.

Skeptics have considered that the emergence of rough trading centers in Gaborone and Dubai would have a negative impact on Antwerp, particular since De Beers shifted its sights from London to Gaborone – a move that was completed only last month. Antwerp’s relatively close proximity to London made it a natural hub for goods en route to India for manufacturing. Some argue that it might make more sense to now ship the goods from Gaborone through Dubai to India, or to India directly.

So far there’s no evidence to suggest that is the case, but it may be too early to tell. Regardless, Stephane Fischler, president of the AWDC, noted that diamond dealers go to Antwerp not only to look for De Beers rough being traded on the secondary market, but for goods from multiple sources.

In fact, Antwerp’s reliance on De Beers goods has diminished in the last few years, notably since the mining company has reduced the number of sightholders that are based in Antwerp.

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Source Rapaport