According to Russian diamond-mining giant Alrosa's rough diamond price forecast up to 2018, rough diamond production is expected to return to 2008 levels (165 MM carats) no earlier than 2015 and, thereafter, to remain at around 165-167 MM carats per year as a result of a limited supply of new projects and depletion of existing mines.
Based on the outlook of each of the main diamond jewellery markets, including the United States, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Japan and the Middle East, the demand is expected to grow by 33 percent over the next eight years.
As per the provisional figures revealed by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), imports of rough diamonds at US$ 978.05 million (rupees 4,479.46 crores) in May 2010 have shown a 55.42 percent growth (46.51 percent rupee term) compared with the imports at US$ 630.02 million (rupees 3,057.48 crores) for May 2009. These imports are a 71.5 percent increase in volume and 55.2 percent increase in the value of imports compared to May 2009. Compared to May 2008, India's gross rough diamond imports increased 6.6 percent and net imports are 3.6 percent higher.
Out of the total annual $14 billion rough diamond market worldwide, India imports (for re-export) about $8 billion roughs every year, translating into about 130 million carats a year. It is about 70 percent supply of all diamonds worldwide.
As per GJEPC's calculation, India's rough diamond imports in 2009-10 (April-March) stood at $9.03 billion, up from $7.91 billion a year ago. India's 2009 net diamond account improved by 94 percent to negative $83.6 million. India's diamond imports increased to 25 percent in 2009 from 20 percent in 2008 mainly because of cost-competitiveness in small and middle range jewellery.
India imports more than half of its rough diamonds through Belgium and has strong links with De Beers, Alrosa and BHP Billiton. Once cut, the bulk of the diamonds are exported back to big markets such as the US and Hong Kong. Major diamond suppliers like De Beers, Alrosa and Rio Tinto are focusing their attention on the Indian market that displayed great resilience in the face of economic hardship. In 2006, DTC supplied rough diamonds worth USD 1.7 billion to India out of a total of USD 8 billion worth of diamond imports.
Antwerp is the primary supplier of rough diamond to India's massive manufacturing centre.
India's diamond processing industry generates annual revenue of around Rs 60,000-70,000 crore, 80 percent of which comes from Surat-based units. Besides the UAE, the US and Europe, exporters are exploring new markets like China, Russia, Korea, Brazil and Malaysia.