Diamond challenges talked out of time at WFDB Presidents Meeting

The Presidents Meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) wrapped up yesterday with the organisation’s claiming that progress had been made on challenges engulfing the industry.

In a post-conference press event, WDBF president Ernie Blom declared: “As we all concurred, the main themes are the lack of profitability, banking and finance, synthetics and overgrading. I feel that we have achieved a great deal in precisely identifying the challenges that face us, and what we need to do to overcome them.

“We have put processes in motion and a number of committees will look at them in great depth and report back with proposals for how to deal with them.”

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Earlier in the day, a joint session between WFDB and the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association heard from Philippe Mellier, CEO of De Beers, and recently appointed Alrosa president Andrey Zharkov. The two men gave their perspectives on the current condition of the diamond markets.

Shmuel Schnitzer, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange, which hosted the Tel Aviv meeting added: “We touched on the very serious issues confronting the industry. The most crucial part is lack of profitability. No business can last in such circumstances. We mentioned this to the diamond producers to see what they and we can do to improve the situation. We cannot go on ignoring this lack of profitability.

“Bankability and financing was the second issue that we identified. There are banks that do not want to work with our business. This is wrong because we have a lot more transparency in the trade now. Things are changing and it’s a different trade now. The banks should draw the right conclusions. It is wrong for the banks to leave the industry. We also had lengthy discussions about the issue of overgrading and the recent colour treated diamonds discovered by the GIA in Israel, and also debated the issue of price lists and how we can bring about consultation regarding changes in the Rap List,” Schnitzer concluded.




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