UAE becomes world’s largest rough diamond trading hub

Industry convenes for Dubai Diamond Conference 2022 to discuss latest industry trends


Muzaffar Rizvi

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Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and chief executive officer, DMCC, addressing Dubai Diamond conference on Monday. — Supplied photo
Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and chief executive officer, DMCC, addressing Dubai Diamond conference on Monday. — Supplied photo

Published: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 4:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 5:21 PM

The UAE has emerged as the world’s largest rough diamond trading hub by overtaking Belgium as it traded $22.8 billion worth of rough diamonds last year, latest data shows.

Industry leaders and top executives at Dubai Diamond Conference said the country’s polished segment continues to grow at pace, closing in on the current market leader US which has over 45 per cent market share.

DMCC — the world’s flagship Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise, on Monday hosted its flagship Dubai Diamond Conference held under the theme ‘The Future of Diamonds’.

In his opening remarks, Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and chief executive officer, DMCC, announced that the UAE reached the top spot globally as a rough diamond hub, trading over $22.8 billion worth of rough diamonds in 2021.

Since 2015, the UAE has increased its rough diamonds trade by 76 per cent, overtaking Belgium as the world’s leading rough trade hub. The total diamond trade in the UAE grew by 83 per cent between 2020 and 2021, demonstrating both the industry’s resilience and Dubai’s critical role in the global sector.

Sergey Ivanov, CEO of Alrosa, addressing the conference. — Supplied photo
Sergey Ivanov, CEO of Alrosa, addressing the conference. — Supplied photo

Dubai boasts direct flights to other diamond hubs across the world, including mining countries in Africa and manufacturing centres in India, resulting in a connected supply chain with Dubai at its centre. Additionally, Dubai is home to the two Kimberly Process (KP) offices in the UAE, making the emirate the only entry point for rough diamonds in the country.

“I am humbled to share that in 2021, Dubai, UAE, became the number one rough diamond trading hub in the world. With USD 22.8 billion in rough trade last year, we are continuing to grow thanks to the trust and support received from so many of our guests here today – we accomplished this together. This major milestone clearly demonstrates the determination of both Dubai and DMCC in advancing the global industry,” Bin Sulayem said.

“Having grown to become the rough diamond capital of the world, we understand the importance of listening to the market, adapting, and taking action — which is why the Dubai Diamond Conference is such a critical event for the sector. Through this same method, we will continue to work towards becoming the capital for polished diamonds as well,” he added.

Angola a key industry player

Diamantino Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas of Angola, said the UAE and Angola are cooperating in various sectors such as oil and gas, mining, trade and investment, energy, defence, agriculture, banking, telecommunications, finance and tax.

“Dubai’s relevance in the world is growing with the vision of the Ruler equally complemented with resources moving from West to East and North to South. This shift means we need greater cooperation between the consuming and producing nations and Dubai is perfectly located to assist various trade sectors involved,” Azevedo said.

He said Angola has been exporting around 90 per cent of its rough diamond to the UAE in the last couple of years that has endorsed the long-standing partnership between the two nations.

“The Angolan government is bullish on diamonds. Angola’s diamond production reached at 8.7 million carats in 2021. We still continue to create technological and human conditions to live with the Covid-19 pandemic and should not allow it to affect our diamond production plan. We expect to produce 10.1 million carats of diamond this year,” the minister said.

The fifth edition of the conference convened 550 government officials, trade association members, and leaders of businesses across the supply chain — from miners and manufacturers to financiers and retailers. This year’s diamond conference featured speakers including Dr Diamantino Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, Republic of Angola; Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers; Sergey Ivanov, CEO of Alrosa; Yoram Dvash, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses; and Ronnie van der Linden, president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association.

In line with its mandate to attract, facilitate and drive new trade flows through Dubai, DMCC has played a vital role in establishing the emirate as a leading global hub for the diamond trade. DMCC’s Dubai Diamond Exchange is the largest diamond tender facility in the world and home to over 1,100 diamond companies, providing members and industry professionals with state-of-the-art infrastructure, facilities and services to trade with confidence.

Dubai Diamond Conference highlights

· Over $22.8 billion worth of rough diamonds traded last year in the UAE, ranking the UAE as the top rough trading hub in the world

· Major milestone announced as the global diamond industry convenes for DMCC’s flagship Dubai Diamond Conference

· Conference sells out as 550 delegates gather to discuss ‘The Future of Diamonds’


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