Diamonds may be forever but their supply certainly isn’t, and that is the main reason why the main companies involved in the business are predicting a “perfect storm” triggered by rising demand and prices.
Until recently, falling commodity prices and rising costs prompted some of the world’s biggest miners, such as BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and Anglo American (LON:AAL), to review their diamond business.
But diamonds have regained a place in their hearts, and in their balance sheets.
“We expect the demand requirements to grow around 6% per annum for the course of the decade,” said Alan Davies, head of the diamond unit for Rio Tinto, the world’s third-largest diamond producer, according to The WSJ.com. “And when you look at the supply response there hasn’t been a major find brought on for a long time.”
The report adds that for Rio and Anglo American the diamond business is the one delivering some of the healthiest returns these days.
Asia leads demand
De Beers, the world’s largest diamond miner by market value, said last month it expected global demand for polished gems to rise by up to 4.5% this year, boosted by the US market recovery and an ever growing appetite for these precious stones in China and India.
Several of the company’s latest decisions seem to signal De Beers —majority-owned by Anglo American— is also bracing for a rough diamond demand rush. In January, the firm said it has not ruled out an expansion of its Victor diamond mine in Canada. In March, it revealed it was looking to tap into the new markets, landing later a new diamond exploration license in Angola, the world’s fourth largest producer of diamonds by value, and sixth by volume.
De Beers is not the only one tooting the industry’s own horn. World’s largest diamond producer Alrosa is also anticipating a big jump in gems prices due to both reduced production in the medium term and increasing demand.
Rough diamond prices have, in fact, climbed 3% over the last few months and Bain & Company and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) predict prices for the gems will continue to increase until at least until 2018.