Japan to have minimal impact on diamond market – De Beers

16th March 2011 By: Matthew Hill

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Japanese natural disasters last week will probably have a minimal impact on consumer demand for diamonds, world number-one diamond miner De Beers said on Wednesday.

“It's probably a bit too early to comment in detail but our assessment is that there is likely to be minimal impact on global consumer demand for diamond jewellery,” spokesperson Lynette Gould told Mining Weekly Online.

On Tuesday, RBC Capital Markets analyst Des Kilalea said the Japanese crisis would “significantly” impact diamond demand in the country, which would limit price strength, though he still believed 2011 would be a good year for rough diamond demand “provided there is no ripple into the other Asian markets”.

According to De Beers, the US accounts for 38% of demand, while China and Japan each consume 11% of global diamond output.

Japan and the US have declined in overall market share, whilst China and India have gained importance.

“The Japanese market hasn't been growing with the same pace as other markets so, given the dynamics of growth elsewhere, we expect that any drop in demand in Japan would be picked up by China and India,” Gould said in reply to emailed questions.

“In terms of impact on diamond price, the real drivers of price growth in the last 6 to 12 months have, again, been China and India.”

She added that Japan doesn’t have too big an effect on diamond prices, anyway.

On Tuesday, Paradigm Capital analyst David Davidson said the Japanese crisis would impact diamond demand for “a couple of years”.