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WFDB urges members to maintain confidence in diamonds outlook

ANTWERP, January 20, 2009 – The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has urged members of its 28 affiliated bourses to maintain confidence in the long-term prospects for diamonds and diamond jewellery.

Initial reports from the major markets indicated that consumer spending during the 2009 holiday season had fallen at some of their steepest rates in the past four decades.

Commenting on the lacklustre holiday season, WFDB President Avi Paz said that the fall in consumer spending was inevitable, given the general mood of uncertainty that has prevailed since the onset of the global financial crisis at the start of the fourth quarter of 2008.

But he also expressed his confidence that the fundamentals of the diamond business are sound, and for that reason, he stated, the industry will see through the current downturn and emerge healthy, just as it has done through numerous periods of difficulty in the past.

“Consumers are shell-shocked at present, and as such they instinctively cut back on spending,” Paz said.

“But research conducted already after the onset of the financial crisis demonstrated that not only do diamonds retain their appeal, but they lead the luxury product category by a large margin.”

Paz noted the proven resilience of the diamond market.

“During the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and in the general downturn experienced after the attacks on the United States in September 2001, we initially saw severe drops in consumer spending, even reaching into double digits. But diamond sales quickly recovered,” he said.

Paz called upon bourse members to be patient.

“These clearly are challenging times, but we should not lose perspective on the versatility and resourcefulness inherent in the diamond and in our business model.

“We must be steadfast and act responsibly, continuing to look for and identify new opportunities in our market.

“The New Year has begun. Let us start it energetically with our eyes on the horizon,” he said.