WFDB, IDE Optimistic After Hong Kong Fair

Ernie Blom
Ernie Blom

Antwerp: World Federation of Diamond Bourses’ (WFDB) President Ernie Blom and Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash believe the diamond and jewellery industries have reason to be optimistic as they head into the critical fourth quarter holiday season after solid results at the just-ended Hong Kong Jewellery and Gems Fair. Although sales were generally far from spectacular, the show was ahead of expectations, he said.

“From what I saw and heard from many different sources, the show exceeded expectations,” said Blom. “Given the slowdown in China and Hong Kong, we were not expecting an exceptional performance, but foot traffic was heavier than forecast and there was certainly plenty of interest from buyers, even if they were looking for highly specific items and not buying in large volumes.

“Prices were firm given the reduction in manufacturing towards the end of last year. Of course there was price resistance, that’s part of the negotiating procedure, but it was important that we saw a healthy show, and one that was definitely better than the 2015 fair. With the American market stable and even growing slightly, I believe we can be hopeful as we enter the holiday sales season, with Diwali, Christmas and the Chinese New Year ahead of us,” Blom concluded.

The Hong Kong fair was also notable for the inaugural meeting of the WFDB’s Young Diamantaires group on September 15. Only launched four months ago, the initiative has been the subject of widespread interest among younger diamond industry members from across the globe, and the meeting was well attended.

IDE, Yoram Dvash:

Ramat Gan:  The sentiment among returning Israeli exhibitors at the close of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair was optimistic. Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash said, “In contrast to the last several years, this year’s show was marked by very good traffic. Buyers came in large numbers, and in addition to buyers from India, who come every year, there were many buyers from other East-Asian countries.”

Dvash said, that although expectations had been moderate due to the economic challenges facing Asian markets, the traffic on the first and second days was strong and centered on diamonds. “Sales were reasonable, if not in perfect congruence with the great number of buyers who attended, but all in all, we are feeling very optimistic.”

He added, “In Hong Kong we felt that buyers at the show were regaining trust in the market. They were very interested in the merchandise, and that’s an excellent sign for the future. The stability in polished prices in recent months has contributed to the trust by jewelers and manufacturers, and we are hopeful that buyers will stock plenty of merchandise ahead of the holiday season.”

During his stay in Hong Kong, Dvash met with global diamond leaders to discuss some of the most pressing challenges facing the industry. He conferred with WFDB President Ernie Blum about ways to improve credit conditions for the diamond industry, including finding additional financing sources and increasing bank credit to diamantaires. Dvash also met with Alrosa President Andrey Zharkov and Alrosa VP Andrei Polyakov to discuss the impact of synthetics on the natural diamond market.

The Israel Diamond Pavilion, organized by the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI), was one of the largest national exhibitors at the Hong Kong show, with 84 companies in more than 1150 square meters. There were also 15 additional Israeli companies exhibiting at different locations throughout the show.