Global diamond supply expected to fall by 3.4 per cent this year to 147 million carats

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Against a rich haul in 2017, when global diamond supply by volume increased by 11.7 per cent year over year, diamond supply in 2018 is forecast to shrink by 3.4 per cent to 147 million carats, according to a report in Mining.com.

Out of the world’s top three diamond miners by volume, only De Beers is expected to increase production this year while diamond output at Russia’s ALROSA and diversified-major Rio Tinto is estimated to decline, more than offsetting De Beers’ increase. Combined, the three companies represent approximately 70 per cent of global diamond supply by volume.

De Beers is estimated to produce 34.6 million carats worth $5.7 billion in 2018 which is enough to maintain its status as industry-leader in terms of value produced.

At current estimates, De Beers would be producing at approximately 95 per cent of production capacity in 2018.

ALROSA is estimated to be the world’s largest producer by volume in 2018, with an output of 36.6 million carats. However, this would be down from 39.5 million carats last year.

The year-over-year production decrease can be attributed to lost production at the company’s Mir mine following a flooding accident last summer but also a decrease in production at the Jubilee mine, a result of normal depletion.

The industry’s third-largest producer by volume is diversified mining major Rio Tinto, which owns 100 per cent Argyle mine in Australia and has a 60 per cent stake in the Diavik mine in Canada.

By volume, 76 per cent of the company’s net production is estimated to come from Argyle, which is largest mine in the world in terms of carat volume produced. In 2018, Argyle’s production is expected to decrease by 3 million carats year-over-year to 14 million carats.

By the end of February, the impact of fall in supply was already evident as rough prices were up by approximately 1.0 per cent and polished diamond prices up 0.5 per cent.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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