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1990: Diamond Demand and Supply Are Not Easy To Balance Out For American Jewelers

October/November 1998

“We are looking for signs of a U.S. decline following the recent volatility on Wall Street. This may just be the trigger indicating the collapse in polished sales we have been expecting,” Hilton Ashton, of B.O.E. Securities in Johannesburg, told Bloomberg News.

We beg and hope to disagree: despite the world-wide slump, especially in Japan, the liquidity problems plaguing the Israeli diamond industry and the slower turn-over in Antwerp, we believe the American market has enough steam to pull through the Christmas holiday and come out well in the New Year.

Demand on the retail level is still very strong. Consumer confidence may be a little more cautious than it was last year, but diamond sales look to be ahead of last year’s already. The major problem we see is the lack of optimism by the banks and dealers themselves who are afraid of a domino effect from the Lorenzi collapse which makes credit look iffy.

It is true that exports are down in Israel, Antwerp and in New York, but so are the imports of rough from De Beers C.S.O., which is expected to sell less than $3.5 billion for 1998, and less than $250 million for the October sight. Demand and supply are therefore fairly well balanced and should continue as such as long as the American economy holds its own. The main problem of the American jeweler is how to compete for their market share.

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