GABORONE: Global diamond conglomerate, De Beers Group on Saturday announced that most retail diamond stores are open in China as the populous Asian country has eased its lockdown.
Paul Rowley, the De Beers' executive vice president of diamond trading, said while lockdowns are now beginning to ease in some countries, a return to normal activity appears some way off, as other countries have yet to see a peak and concerns of further waves of infection persist, reports Xinhua."In China, most stores are now open again with consumers returning and encouraging signs are beginning to show. But the consumers are encouraging signs are still below former levels," said Rowley during a virtual media briefing.
Following a positive start of the year, the global impact of the deadly COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions on the movement of both people and goods has had a major impact on wholesale demand for both rough and polished diamonds and consumer demand for diamond jewellery, said Rowley.
Rowley said lockdown has led to severely reduced consumer demand in the U.S. market representing around half of global demand.
It is against this backdrop that De Beers' executive vice president of corporate affairs, David Prager could not provide a detailed outlook, as so much depends on the progress of the virus and government responses.
"However, early indications from places that have reopened suggest demand can recover quite quickly," said Prager during the same virtual media briefing.
Prager said De Beers will be leading the recovery and reinforcing how diamonds will continue to have a key role to play in peoples' lives after the lockdowns through its consumer engagement activities."We are focused on returning to business as usual in our Botswana home as soon as is possible," said Prager.