RBC Capital Markets forecasts positive diamond fundamentals despite credit crunch

RBC Capital Markets, the corporate and investment banking arm of Royal Bank of Canada, has published a research report that concludes that despite the worsening global economic climate, the fundamentals for diamonds remain positive. Des Kilalea, Analyst, Global Mining Research at RBC Capital Markets commented: “While the world economy lumbers through one of its worst periods in modern history, with central banks reducing interest rates to stave off recession, diamond prices remain surprisingly firm. While the possibility of recession in the US might put the upward move under threat, the long-term prognosis is good, with supply of rough gems likely to fall short of forecast demand pushing prices well above inflation rates. The major beneficiaries will be producers of better quality and large gems. Here prices are likely to rise at well above inflation rates simply because the stones are in very short supply.

“Investors are placing a premium on current producers over explorers. The result is that companies looking to fund exploration campaigns will find fund-raising difficult and expensive in the short term until risk aversion among investors dies down. This is likely to encourage increasing consolidation in the junior diamond sector.

“The area offering the greatest potential to capture additional margins is in better quality rough diamonds of the type produced by some junior miners listed in London and Canada.  But Government intervention, be it in the form of higher taxes and royalties, increased ownership, or pressure to beneficiate in the host country, is increasing. All listed companies will have to adapt to this.”

These and other topics will be discussed at RBC Capital Markets’ second annual Diamond Conference A Jewel of an Opportunity on Thursday May 15 at HM Tower of London. The conference brings together senior management of the world’s leading diamond corporations, from exploration to mining to polishing and retailing. Speakers include: De Beers, Rio Tinto, Harry Winstons Diamond Corporation and Apollo Diamond (producer of synthetic diamonds).