'China little nervous'
The chief executive officer of the De Beers Group, Bruce Cleaver, has informed President Hage Geingob that diamond trading prospects for 2019 will be a concern.
Speaking during a visit at State House on Monday, Cleaver said although 2018 was a good year for the diamond industry due to continuous demand, the prospects for the forthcoming year are bleak.
Cleaver explained that things are getting quite tense, largely because of the knock-on impact of the trade wars between China and the United States of America (USA). He added that it is making consumers in China “a little bit nervous”.
“The thing about diamond jewellery is that it's a discretionary purchase. You need to feel a bit positive about life before you make a big purchase, because it's a big emotional purchase, and so I'm a bit worried about that,” he said. Cleaver stressed that although he does not think the trade tariffs are really aimed at the diamond industry, the unintended consequences could be quite serious for the industry. Diamond trade for 2018 was better in the USA, not so good in India and sort of average in China, Cleaver said.
“If the Chinese don't buy, that's not good for all of us. It doesn't mean that people like diamonds less, this just means that they are nervous about their wealth and they are nervous about what is happening in 2019,” he said.
Geingob said Cleaver's analysis is “frightening, but it is good to be in the fold of the industry's goings-on, so plans can be made”.