Saturday, July 4, 2020

ODC diamond sales to sparkle online to ward off coronavirus

The Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) is not allowing the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the globe with notable impact on diamond sales to blurry the sparkle of its precious stones.

To this end, the ODC says it will host its third diamond spot auction sale on the 30th June 2020 through an online platform after cancelling its April and May sales due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The company management revealed last week that, the ODC will be offering its standard “dual viewing” format for the June sale with goods being shown in both Gaborone and Antwerp.

The company’s Managing Director Marcus ter Haar, said the decision to hold the dual viewing is in lieu of the current logistical challenges preventing its customers from traveling to Botswana for the viewing.

As one of the largest rough diamond trading centres in the world, Antwerp is home to a significant number of diamond trading companies and opened for regular business last month following a period of nationwide COVID19 lockdown.

“The decision to ease the lockdown restrictions by the Belgian authorities has enabled ODC to resume trading with the international market,” he said. 

The spot auction viewing took place from 15th -19th June 2020 last week. The ODC also expects to hold viewings for local companies in Botswana on the 29th of June 2020 which will be followed by an online Spot Auction on the 30th June 2020 at 12:00 hrs (Botswana Time).

The ODC, which had its second sales cycle in March recording the highest value single stone, usually holds 10 sales in a year where it enjoys participation from both local and international buyers.

On March 31st the S&P Global Ratings lowered ratings on Botswana due to weakness of diamond trade during the coronavirus crisis, as diamond traders canceled sights.

With many global jewellery retail stores closed during the lockdown periods, pipeline demand is at historical lows.

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted imports and exports of diamonds and diamond jewellery across the trade. The ODC’s biggest diamond market (India) has also imposed a one-month voluntary suspension of rough imports in a bid to manage an oversupply of diamond inventory.

The industry is experiencing cuts in production forecasts for 2020 as a result of the suspension of mining and manufacturing activity globally.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.