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Belgium's Princely Mission Sets Sights on Malaysian Diamond Market

Nov 26, 2014 8:49 AM   By AWDC
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Press Release: The Malaysian diamond market has reached a turning point. "Last year, Malaysia, which is particularly fond of gold, saw its diamond demand increase,” said Ari Epstein, the CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). Malaysia’s economic instability and fluctuating gold prices, however, remain a challenge for evolution of the diamond trade.

Malaysians are hooked on jewelry, having a love of accessorizing with necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets. However, out of fear of being robbed, Malaysians tend to wear fashion jewelry instead of luxury pieces.

The diamond market in Malaysia is facing some obstacles, but diamond dealers remain hopeful thanks to a number of events that took place last year. The Malaysia International Jewellery Fair (MIJF) and the Malaysia International Jewellery Festival 2013 both contributed to an increase in Malaysia’s demand for luxury jewelry. Diamond producers, such as De Beers and Gubelin, opening retail stores is a testament to the upturn in the demand and constitutes a boost for Malaysia’s diamond trade.

Antwerp and Malaysia have been trading polished diamonds for some years now, but trade figures are somewhat volatile. In 2013, Antwerp exported 1,058 carats of polished diamonds, with a total value of $1.9 million. In the first 10 months of this year, Antwerp exported the same amount of polished diamonds to Malaysia, but the value of the goods increased to approximately $3.7 million.

It is not only the demand for luxury and diamond jewelry that has propelled the diamond market in Malaysia.  "Malaysians are known for investing heavily in gold. For the first time now, they appear to have discovered that diamonds can be just as interesting an investment,” said Epstein.

Unlocking Growth Potential

Currently, only 25 percent of all jewelry sold in Malaysia is set with diamonds. Gold jewelry is particularly favored and it accounts for almost half of all jewelry sold. Platinum takes second place and accounts for about 35 percent of the jewelry market.

"We have noticed that an active approach to this market is proving fruitful," said Epstein. "Needless to say, the princely missions to Malaysia and Singapore could not have come at a better time for us.”

Given this, 140 Belgian companies will join Princess Astrid of Belgium on the mission. During the princess’ stay in Malaysia, the AWDC will organize a business-to-business (B2B) networking event in collaboration with Malaysian jewelry organization FGJAM, the Federation of Goldsmiths and Jewellers Associations of Malaysia. "It is an ideal occasion for our 10 accompanying diamond dealers to network with the local market," said Epstein. "Previous events have already proved that this way of doing business is very effective."

Consumers Benefit as Unit Price Drops

Experts believe that the Malaysian jewelry market will expand by some 1.6 percent in volume and 0.9 percent in value in 2015. On average, the Malaysian jewelry market is expected to grow by 1 percent every year until 2018. This increase will be mainly due to the augmented demand for fashion jewelry, but will also be a result of the rising number of jewelers entering the market, resulting in a positive price effect for consumers. Finally, as online purchasing is becoming increasingly popular, online sales are expected to have a positive impact on the Malaysian jewelry market as well.

"Thanks to the arrival of De Beers and Gubelin stores and other retailers, such as Gold Heart, the unit price for diamond jewelry has dropped for the first time," said Epstein. "That makes diamond jewelry affordable for the average Malaysian, and Malaysia an interesting market for diamond dealers.”

About AWDC

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is the coordinating body and the official representative of the Antwerp diamond sector and  is recognized internationally as the host, spokesperson and intermediary for the diamond community at home and abroad. Eighty-four percent of all rough diamonds and 50 percent of all polished diamonds pass through Antwerp. Diamonds represent 5 percent of the total Belgian exports and 15 percent of all Belgian exports outside of the E.U., making diamonds the most important export product outside the E.U.

Rapaport News is not responsible for, and does not endorse, the content of any third-party press release. This is not a Rapaport Press Release. It has been provided as additional information for our clients.


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Tags: Antwerp, AWDC, diamonds, Malaysia, marketing, trading
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