By Charles WyndhamJanuary 8th, 2017
It is some time since I put pen to paper, my reticence was simply the result that I felt that things were in a rut and I was repeating myself, and if it was not boring for the reader it was certainly less than exciting for the author.
Has much changed since I went on a sabbatical?
In the interim, we have had the remarkable American election. Remarkable to me not as to who won, but the fact that nation ended up with that choice between those two candidates.
Since the election, I have read various gurus being positive about the outcome claiming that Trump’s win is a significant boost for our industry.
The one thing that has been confirmed this year is that experts should be treated with considerable skepticism.
One of the books that I had bought sometime ago was by Nate Silver titled ‘The Signal and the Noise’ and subtitled ‘The Art and Science of Prediction’, I thought I needed all the help I could get.
Silver made his name by correctly forecasting not only the outcome of the previous American presidential election, but also correctly the result in all the individual States. Unfortunately, he predicted a couple of days before this election that Clinton had a 73% chance of winning.
So at least that is one book I can remove from my to read pile.
Why people should think that Trump per se should be that good for the whole diamond industry, I find curious.
America is now probably around 45% of the world market. Even if this market does do well, to me it is difficult to see how this can compensate in any really meaningful way for a slow down in China and lacklustre performances pretty much everywhere else. To add the icing to the cake it is being reported that the US jewellery retailers have had or may have had a lacklustre season.
Moving on from diamonds, luxury products generally do not seem to have been booming, and certainly not the top end watches.
In our industry this uncertain time is seeing an increase in production as new mines come on stream. The closure or sinking between the waves of Snap Lake, surprising only in the time it has taken to slide beneath the surface, does not have any real counter balance.
Demand looks lacklustre and supply will be increasing.
Just like the pundits to whom I have referred to above, I certainly got 2016 spectacularly wrong, in that I thought that it would be a much more difficult year for rough than it turned out to be, though it was not a famous year it was so much better than I thought possible.
It was another year where rough was ahead of polished, a counter intuitive accomplishment that the diamond industry has a Houdini-like ability to replicate on a fairly consistent basis.
However accomplished the industry is in defeating the laws of logic, I would suggest that bar some as yet unknown new development(s), that in time even if the laws of logic can be pushed aside for what seems an interminably, maybe the laws of nature and especially the laws of gravity will at some time take over.
Of course all the time that the industry pats itself on the back about its performance it conveniently ignores its deplorable comparative performance of compared to just about everything else.
Whatever some gurus have said I have not been encouraged by anything that I have read coming from major mining houses where despite new management, I only see repetition of the same old dog eared mantra’s of the past decades.
My only really piece of good cheer is to see the share price of my old mates at Gem Diamond mimicking the performance of Snap Lake, as it slithers ever closer to the £1 wave top.
The Gem annual report each year always provides some comfort of joy for me as I read how the flatulently overpaid management award themselves overblown share options at an exercise price never to be seen. 2017’s report later this year is going to be a must read as another example of their greed’s triumph of hope over experience, to use Samuel Johnson words.
So, given how wrong I was about 2016, I will almost certainly be Trumped by 2017, but I feel fairly confident that at least Gem will not disappoint me.