Botswana's rough diamond exports crashed 68% in 2Q20, Reuters said, citing data from the Bank of Botswana.
De Beers Group, the world's largest diamond company, received about 70% of its supply from Botswana, warned last month it was "paralyzed by the pandemic" as diamond demand slumped worldwide.
Exports of diamonds from Debswana Diamond Company Limited, a joint venture mining operation between Botswana and De Beers, was approximately $293 million in 2Q20, down from $916 million in the previous quarter.
Bank of Botswana's data showed no diamonds were exported in May, while only $20 million worth were shipped in June.
De Beers first realized waning diamond demand before the virus pandemic, was accelerated during lockdowns, and is now having a ripple effect that is set to wreak havoc on Botswana's finances.
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Plunging diamond exports will hurt Botswana's balance of payments deficit, as diamonds are about 70% of the country's exports. A fiscal crisis could be brewing in the country as 30% of the country's revenues are derived from diamonds.
Diamonds may be forever, though demand for the diamonds is not. De Beers will have to slash production to balance the oversupplied market. What's different about this recession is that consumer demand will not bounce back in a "V" as a virus pandemic keeps people out of jewelry shops, postpones weddings, and or simply consumers worldwide are just too broke to spend on luxury items.