Market NewsCommentFor whom the bell tolls

For whom the bell tolls

By Charles Wyndham.

I am told that driving as my passenger is a relatively unwelcome if not dangerous experience.

Having been told that I am a lousy driver so many times it is not an accusation that I get too fussed about, familiarity breeds contempt and when I am driving it is not as if I think that my life is threatened even though it would appear that everyone else has an alternative view.

Danger comes in many forms... shaving, I discovered is one of them.

Just like driving, I cannot claim that wielding a razor does not come without some concurrent risks for my face.

I had never thought of campanology as a dangerous past time, partly because I have never participated.

Well, the other day whilst shaving I heard an item on the news that some bell ringers had had to be rescued by the Fire Brigade when they got caught up in the bell ropes.   Whilst they had not garrotted themselves, I for my part nearly slit my throat as I laughed.   Risks can come from unsuspecting places.   I am told that the last DTC sight held this past week was a less than a happy experience for those of the select club who were entitled to attend.   I do not think that the attendees were surprised, DTC has made it quite clear that in the context of diminishing supplies, in large part brought on by their own incompetence, that they were going to hold their prices, despite the margin for profit for their clients being negligible to zero, or worse.   Obviously, in the context of perceived or actual shortages buyers are going to be reluctant to refuse supplies even if those supplies are in effect showing a loss.   ‘Obviously’ is in the context of our weird introverted navel contemplating world of diamonds, this is sound logic.   So much is ‘obvious’ in our strange convoluted world of prisms of reality, where distortion is the actual norm, such as always discussing prices in terms of a discount to a mythical figure provided by some interested (or more precisely self interested) individual to whom the industry goes down on bended knee to make sure that he is always making more money than them.   The fact that De Beers has got major production problems is, as I have already written, good news, but, and it is a big big ‘but’, this depends on the industry not committing another act of hara-kiri, by chasing rough prices up into another bubble.   Presumably, much will depend on the attitude of the banks.   If a tenth of the stories about the liquidity issues within the industry and in particular amongst some of the major players is true, it will only be the banks that will be able to finance the next bubble, just as they did the last one.   If that happens then when the inevitable collapse happens the traumas will be so much worse than anything, even for those attending the last sight, have experienced in living memory.   However traumatic matters may appear to be for some, the fact is that there is beginning to be some resemblance of equilibrium between rough and polished.   The other key point is that whilst segments of the industry are definitely suffering more than others, retail taken as a whole has not crashed into a brick wall.   Business is being done.   Accepting that the heady and totally incomprehensible days of 2010 and the first half of 2011 were an aberration, we could slowly be coming out of a bad dream, so long as the industry does not go and score another own goal, like those poor bell ringers.    Let’s hope that it does not become a question of ‘for whom the bell tolls’.     

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