Ernest Blom on How to Plan for the New Year

Ernie Blom
Ernie Blom

Mumbai: Ernest (Ernie) Blom, President of World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) presented a webinar for GemAtlas live from Johannesburg on January 13, which was attended in large numbers by the gems and jewellery industry, globally, and witnessed eager participation. Mr. Blom offered expert business advice on mindful ‘Planning for the New Year’.

Talking about demand and supply forecasts, Mr. Blom said that the rough market has opened very strong this year and polished will likely follow. He said he expects a robust market, going forward.

About planning for price volatility, Mr. Blom advised that industry players should only buy at prices they know they can make a profits with. He advised against buying for price speculation, saying that liquidity is important for the industry.

Mr. Blom stressed that the issue of financing will be addressed at the Presidents’ meeting of the WFDB in Mumbai in February. He said that the Diamond Financing Seminar will address and give us pointers on the way forward in making the diamond industry more attractive to financiers and bankers. He said that there is hope that the presence of funding companies and banks at the seminar will bring positive indications on growing together.

Speaking about the need for a successful work model for growth of the entire diamonds value chain, Mr. Blom said that it is important for all to share profits, because if there is even one weak link it will affect the whole pipeline. He emphasised the need to work cohesively.

Mr. Blom stressed the importance of generic marketing activities in order to push demand for diamonds. He said he was happy that producers have understood the threats and challenges. He stated that DPA and WDF are doing great work in the area.

An interactive Q & A session with many interesting questions followed the presentation. One of the recurring concerns from participants was the threat posed by lab-grown diamonds. Mr. Blom said that the category would inevitably grow, and should be embraced. However, he maintained a strong stance that transparency in the sale of synthetic diamonds was expected from WFDB and urged individual bourses not to take instances of mixing lightly.

On Rapaport’s sole involvement in diamond pricing with no government contribution, Blom shed light, saying that while no government can really intervene in a commercial business, there are ongoing efforts to establish alternative pricing benchmarks.

Ernest Blom signed off on a positive note, with hope for a stable 2017 and emphasis on conscious buying for profits, promoting through generic marketing, and maintaining a close relationship with financiers and bankers, as the way forward.