Tel Aviv: The head of De Beers Group, which controls 40% of the global diamond trade, said today that the industry must develop new markets in China and India in order to avoid being overly dependent on sales to the United States, but he did not advocate replacing the USD as the main currency of the international gem trade.
Speaking at an international conference on rough diamonds in Tel Aviv, De Beers managing director Gareth Penny said the dollar’s continued decline against the euro and other major currencies raised questions about its continued suitability.
“There are people speculating that we are in a structural period of weakness for the major currency of our business,” he said. “What are we going to do about that?”
However, he clarified that De Beers was not suggesting a currency switch. “I don’t think we’re advocating it particularly, but there certainly are others in the industry who are,” he said.
He said that that the United States accounts for 50% of the world diamond sales, but if the gem industry is to grow, it must seek additional customers elsewhere, particularly in the expanding economies of China and India.
“I think that’s ultimately where the future growth of the industry lies,” he said. “America’s a big market ... the challenge now is can we get other markets to grow, so we’re not so dependent on the US market.”