Thursday, May 23, 2024

ODC projects growth in demand for diamonds

Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) says the demand for diamond jewelry and polished and rough diamonds is expected to grow through the first half of 2022.

ODC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mmetla Masire has confirmed that 2022 has started on a bullish note and that barring any global setbacks, the outlook for the first quarter is for the market to remain strong. He observed that demand for diamonds was strong throughout 2021.

“Strong demand for diamond jewelry and depleted inventories translated into price growth. Profit margins across the value chain quickly recovered to prepandemic levels,” said Masire.
He spoke of some of the challenges such as COVID-19 pandemic, economic disruption, imposed lockdowns and international travel restrictions, business closures and that consumer demand was at an all-time low. Masire added that majority of jewellery retail stores closed as well as low rough diamond supply and the partial or suspended mining.

“We benefited as there were 25 cutting and polishing factories and new factories started in 2021 and there was experienced labour pool,” said Masire.

Masire observed that in 2020 diamond Jewelry sales went down by 14 percent and that rough diamonds sales also went down 31 percent. He stated that in 2021, jewelry sales went up by 29 percent and that cutting and polishing also shot up by 55 percent. He observed that there was no shortage of diamond financing and that still in 2021 strong demand for Jewelry and depleted inventories. He further stated that ODC cancelled four viewings in 2020, while in 2021 ODC maximized dual viewings due to international travel restrictions at Antwerp and Dubai.

“Major activities took place at American Museum of Natural History in New York, USA, and there was special six months public exhibition. The Okavango Blue diamond centrepiece of a presentation about the variety of natural diamonds and +1000 of rough natural diamonds found in Botswana,” Masire revealed.

He also stated that ODC was established as part of government’s broader strategy for the development of the Botswana diamond industry, to provide government with a direct and commercial route to market for a portion of Botswana’s diamonds. He also spoke of providing government with insight into market prices and trends to support strategic decision making and to support Botswana as a leading rough sourcing centre.

“We exist to maximize shareholder benefits from the diamond industry by providing a commercial and sustainable route to market for natural diamonds, with unrivalled customer experience,” he said.


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