Diamond market overview
The wholesale market is heading into a quiet period, due to the Jewish holiday holidays this coming week and India’s Diwali holiday later this month. Most traders are cautious about the second half. Said one trader in Antwerp: “Polished is lukewarm, so the softness (in prices) may persist for a while.” Meanwhile, in the main US market, traders reported steady demand from retailers, as preparations for the holiday season are under way. The main polishedprices index ended the week down, opening at 117.79 on Friday, from Monday’s opening at 118.69.
Traders gave a gloomy assessment of the rough market. “The market is in sliding trend,” one trader said. “This is likely to continue until manufacturers see a decent profit again,” he added. Many in the trade believe that a recovery in the first quarter of 2018 depends on whether the main producers De Beers and Alrosa will be prepared to hold back sales in the fourth quarter. Another key factor, is financing, in particular the ability of Indian banks to deal with non-performing assets in their books.
Corporate and events
The Tanzanian government has granted LSE-listed Petra Diamonds authorisation to resume the export and sales of diamonds from its Williamson mine, miningweekly.com reported. The miner and the government will now finalise details of the timing and process for the next diamond parcel to be exported to Petra’s marketing office in Antwerp, the miningweekly.com report said.
Petra Diamonds Ltd said on Thursday it had reached an agreement with South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on pay at the company’s Finsch and Koffiefontein operations, Reuters reported. Employees would return to normal duties on Sept. 29, the company said in a statement. Petra added that no agreement had been reached at the Kimberley Ekapa Mining joint Venture, the Reuters report said. The NUM said last week that its members would go on indefinite strike at the Koffiefontein mine from Sept. 24 in support of pay demands, said the Reuters report.
Firestone Diamonds attributed a drop in the average realised value from $107/ct to an average value of $69/ct to the continued lower frequency of higher-value diamonds and a subdued market during the period under review, miningweekly.com reported. The Aim-listed company sold 195 330 ct of diamonds during its latest diamond sales, held in July and September, in Antwerp, netting about $13.5 million in proceeds, according to the miningweekly.com report.
Firestone noted that the variability in average diamond values at Liqhobong diamond mine – which the company has experienced to date from mining in the lower grade areas of the openpit – is expected to ease as higher-grade kimberlite areas are mined and treated, the miningweekly.com report said. “[In the overall market environment], a combination of oversupply and the previously reported Indian demonetisation programme is still having an impact on the lower-quality run-of-mine goods, as well as the fact that the summer months are traditionally the quietest time in the rough selling season,” the company said in an operational update on Friday September 29th, said the miningweekly.com report.