Sarine Move Shows that AI Forcing Industries Everywhere To Re-Adapt

If, in retrospect, in 2018 there seemed to be articles almost every day relating to the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its effect on jobs and the economy, we can reasonably expect to read even more this year. Investment in the sector is huge, with China, reportedly, leading the way, channeling as much as $10 billion annually into the field.

That has led, needless to say, to many apocalyptic articles suggesting that the age of the common worker is over. AI is expected, in the coming years, to automate millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of jobs. Some see mass unemployment as a natural corollary.

Within the next decade, AI is expected to be able to write a high school essay and drive vehicles better than a human being can, some analysts believe there is a 50% chance that AI will outperform all human tasks within 45 years and automate all jobs in the next century. Then again, as far back as the mid-1970s, a paperless office was predicted by 1990. Look around your office and see how far that idea has come.

ALROSA Gets Zimbabwe All to Itself in Mining Agreement

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa was delighted, while ALROSA CEO Sergey Ivanov was also quietly satisfied of a job well done as they posed for photos after announcing in Moscow that the Russian firm will be launching exploration work in Zimbabwe.

With Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin hosting Mnangagwa, it was fairly clear that a deal would be struck.

"Today we see opportunities for a new stage of our partnership," said Ivanov, making it sound like the mining giant was doing the African country a favor. "We are ready to develop new joint projects for diamond exploration and extraction. We also seek to support Zimbabwe in the development of its diamond-mining industry in line with industry’s best practices. We are happy to share with our partners a wealth of experience in the field of mineral exploration and diamond mining, including the industry self-regulation and responsible business."

New Ride Starts After Roller-Coaster 2018 Ends

As the final days of 2018 pass by, the year has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride. But then, what's new about that, some might say.

Geopolitical events certainly provided the background to an uncertain year. An escalating trade war between the United States and China – as well somewhat incomprehensible tariff impositions on solid US allies such as Canada, the EU and South Korea – made for global fears for the state of trade before the trade conflict was taken down a notch or two later in the year.

Challenging Times More Than Just A Challenge

After a year of challenges and ongoing complaints by diamantaires of the difficulties they face, there appears to be something of a dichotomy between what they say and the reported strength of diamond jewelry retail sales.

Just this week, in its latest update, Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA reported that global jewelry sales rose 4 percent overall in the third quarter of 2018. North America, the largest diamond jewelry market, showed a 4 percent sales increase in Q3 compared to the same period last year. And the Asia Pacific region, including South East Asia and India, despite a slowdown still posted an increase of 3 percent.

Defend Diamond Jewelry's Value Or Learn To Live With Sale Prices

A friend of mine was recently in Los Angeles on a business trip. Aware of my connection with diamonds, he delightedly told me a story about how he had bought his wife a diamond bracelet.

So far, so good, I thought. What was the reason for the purchase, I asked. A wedding anniversary or some other milestone? Or maybe because he travels so much and leaves his wife at home with two children under 10 years of age, he wanted to "compensate" her as it were. To keep her happy with a special gift.

Leviev Case A Further Blow To Diamond Industry's Reputation

For the diamond industry in general – and the heads of the bourses and the trade organizations in particular – the news this week regarding six of diamond tycoon Lev Leviev's relatives and employees being arrested in connection with diamond smuggling allegations is exactly the kind of report that keeps them up at night.

The industry endlessly discusses the importance of showing that it is clean and operating transparently which, in the vast majority of cases, it is. But the idea that diamonds are being moved around undeclared and sold without passing through the correct channels and without customs duties and other taxes being paid is, unfortunately, one that appears to be fairly widely held by the general public.

Busy Fall Ahead for Diamond and Jewelry Industry

With the start of September coming up and summer more or less over in the northern hemisphere and diamantaires back at work, there is certainly no shortage of events coming up in the next month or so.

From the September Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair to the Bharat Diamond Week, the World Diamond Council meeting and the World Diamond Congress all taking place in India, and the Bharat Diamond Week in New York, together with the CIBJO annual congress in Colombia in the middle of October, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to test the waters of the diamond, gemstone and jewelry industry.

Hong Kong Retailers See Flourishing Sales, But US-China Trade War Likely to Have Impact

Retailers in Hong Kong, the critical pathway to the vital diamond and jewelry market in mainland China, have been seeing excellent figures since the start of this year after a year or more where store sales dropped alarmingly.

The retail industry has enjoyed double-digit growth in the first half of this year, according to government figures released this week, and stores believe the second half of the year will also be a success. There are, however, two possible flies in the ointment: the continuously escalating US-China trade war and a weakening yuan which could cause mainland China shoppers to scale back their purchases.