Recently the AWDC Annual Report 2015 released. It says, due to a wide range of factors unsettling the global economy in general and the extractive industry in particular, the Antwerp diamond trade was unable in 2015 to match the record import and export figures from 2014. Nevertheless, Antwerp demonstrated its resilience even under the most difficult market conditions, and its sound fundamentals and forward thinking make it well-positioned to make a full recovery when the diamond market eventually improves.
Like any industry conducting trade around the world, the diamond industry rises and falls on the waves of the global economy. Furthermore, our trade faces its own particular set of challenges, and these have only intensified over the past year: bank de-risking policies have further tightened access to financing; the industry overestimated the growth of demand in emerging economies and flooded the system with overpriced goods; and the luxury sector faces stiff challenges from other products when it comes to winning the hearts, minds and discretionary incomes of the younger generation.
Antwerp and AWDC did not sit still and idly hope for a recovery to occur. Rather, we redoubled our efforts to secure the supply of rough diamonds from Russia, Canada and southern African producers. We initiated a program to bring foreign buyers of polished goods to the Antwerp market.
And we significantly stepped up the added value we provide to the Antwerp diamond community with a wide range of service-oriented initiatives, seminars and information sessions. These efforts are but a sampling of our untiring efforts to further solidify Antwerp’s position as the most transparent and forward-looking trade hub in the industry, to communicate more effectively with the diamond community in Antwerp and to promote our industry at home and abroad.
“The global diamond industry took a beating this year,” says AWDC CEO Ari Epstein. “Thanks to our strong foundations and ability to be agile and adopt innovative new technologies, Antwerp has succeeded in safeguarding its world-leading position with regard to rough as well as polished diamonds. Antwerp will consequently emerge from this downturn in better shape than our competitors.”