It may seem like a bit of a stretch, but believe it or not, diamond mining is tied to Europe’s banking mess.
Although the euro zone isn’t known for these jewels, its banks are the dominant credit facilities underwriters to diamond polishers, which John Hughes at Desjardins Securities pointed out in a research note. If the banks were freaking out, those credit lines could get cut - quickly.
But they haven’t, and Harry Winston Diamond Corp. released a mid-quarter update this week to reassure investors that the industry is in decent shape. Overall, credit facilities have neither been reduced or increased.
On top of that, Harry Winston announced that its jewellery and watch sales were strong in August and September, and demand has been particularly strong in the U.S. and Japan. Yes, polished rough diamonds have seen their prices fall by about 10 per cent since the end of July, but this isn’t 2008 all over again.
If you recall, Harry Winston traded around $46 in July 2007 and fell all the way down to about $2.80 in March 2009. The stock is back up just north of $12, and year-to-date has actually seen a 6-per-cent increase.
Just another sign that this crisis is different from 2008.