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DTC not pressured to reduce sales-Mmopi

Staff Writer
Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana will next Monday start its 9th sale of unpolished gems to its tightly screened sightholders.

DTC Botswana's Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Kago Mmopi, says the final two "sights" for this year - which will be week-long events including the one next Monday and another in December - will be smaller and more focused than previous ones, with prices reflecting the polished outcome from the rough.

 It was reported in the international media last week that the reduction in the sale of rough diamonds was the result of reduced demand and a call by an industry group spokesman earlier in the month for producers to cut supply amid the global economic turmoil.

It was also reported that a decline in demand during the Indian festival of Diwali prompted De Beers to react.

However, Mmopi says the sales reduction was not as a result of external pressure but was according to pre-requests by their clients. "We offer goods for sale in accordance with the requests we receive from our sightholders and as the majority of local cutting and polishing factories are expected to close in December for the summer break, we anticipate selling less over the last two sights of the year than in earlier sights," he says.
DTC Botswana has absolute confidence in the long-term sustainability of the diamond industry, he adds: "We also see a strong end to the year and all evidence points to a successful long-term future."

Diamond prices have shot up over the past few years, thanks

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to tight supply and heavy demand. De Beers said in August it had raised prices by around 16 percent in 2008.

The group, which has about 40 percent of the market, said it was wary of reactions in the US, which accounts for about half of the rough diamond market. Gloomy economic forecasts have sparked fears diamond prices will be cut by up to 30 percent.

Confidence among US buyers of luxury goods has fallen to the lowest level in at least four years, according to researcher Unity Marketing.

Sales at luxury retailers such as Tiffany & Co. have dropped 41 percent in New York trading this year.

Russia's diamond monopoly ZAO Alrosa, has already said it will cut supplies of rough immediately to support prices and that it may reduce supplies by as much as 30 percent.

The news comes as the main players in the diamond industry have announced they will postpone a gala conference in Antwerp, Belgium, deeming it inappropriate to be flaunting their diamonds while the world economy suffers.

Troubled investors had been turning to gold because it will always have a value anywhere in the world and can be stored in a bank's vaults for a small fee.

But gold, as well as copper, prices fell on Tuesday after the dollar began to gain ground against the euro. A stronger dollar typically invites investors to shed commodities bought as a safeguard against inflation.



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