Black Swans on the Horizon [Chart]
The Chart of the Week is a weekly feature in Visual Capitalist on Fridays.
The folks at Société Générale, France’s third largest bank, are avid birdwatchers.
When they are not busy getting hawked by regulators for scandals, they are trying to spot the next black swan on the horizon that could have a profound negative or positive impact on the markets.
By definition, black swans are not seen by everyone. Nassim Taleb, the developer of the Black Swan Theory, uses the “turkey analogy” to describe this: although it is a surprise to the turkey that it is eaten for Thanksgiving dinner after days of positive data (being fed), it is not a surprise to the farmer nor the butcher.
In other words, don’t be the turkey.
That’s why every analyst, including SocGen, tries their best to predict which black swans are on the horizon. The most recent quarterly report sees eight potential black swans: six with potential downside, and two with potential upside:
Downside risks and their probability:
- 45% – Great Britain leaves the EU
- 40% – Greece defaults on debt and then (20%) Greece leaves the EU
- 30% – China hard lands (growth of <5%)
- 25% – US consumer saves more
- 10% – Fed behind the dots
Upside risks and their probability:
- 15% – Higher-than-expected price multipliers
- 10% – Fast track reform, particularly in Euro Area
The ratio of negative to positive black swans remains the same as their report from the previous quarter, but the probabilities have increased significantly: The chance of a Brexit has gone from 10% to 45%, while a Greek default goes from not existing on chart to a 40% probability.
Ranked: The World’s Top Diamond Mining Countries, by Carats and Value
Who are the leaders in rough diamond production and how much is their diamond output worth?
Ranked: World Diamond Mining By Country, Carat, and Value
Only 22 countries in the world engage in rough diamond production—also known as uncut, raw or natural diamonds—mining for them from deposits within their territories.
This chart, by Sam Parker illustrates the leaders in rough diamond production by weight and value. It uses data from Kimberly Process (an international certification organization) along with estimates by Dr. Ashok Damarupurshad, a precious metals and diamond specialist in South Africa.
Rough Diamond Production, By Weight
Russia takes the top spot as the world’s largest rough diamond producer, mining close to 42 million carats in 2022, well ahead of its peers.
Russia’s large lead over second-place Botswana (24.8 million carats) and third-ranked Canada (16.2 million carats) indicates that the country’s diamond production is circumventing sanctions due to the difficulties in tracing a diamond’s origin.
Here’s a quick breakdown of rough diamond production in the world.
|5||🇿🇦 South Africa||9,660,233|
|10||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||688,970|
|18||🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire||3,904|
|19||🇨🇬 Republic of Congo||3,534|
Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated.
As with most other resources, (oil, gold, uranium), rough diamond production is distributed unequally. The top 10 rough diamond producing countries by weight account for 99.2% of all rough diamonds mined in 2022.
Diamond Mining, by Country
However, higher carat mined doesn’t necessarily mean better value for the diamond. Other factors like the cut, color, and clarity also influence a diamond’s value.
Here’s a quick breakdown of diamond production by value (USD) in 2022.
|5||🇿🇦 South Africa||$1,538M|
|9||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||$143M|
|19||🇨🇬 Republic of Congo||$0.20M|
|20||🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire||$0.16M|
Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated. Furthermore, numbers have been rounded and may not sum to the total.
Thus, even though Botswana only produced 59% of Russia’s diamond weight in 2022, it had a trade value of nearly $5 billion, approximately 1.5 times higher than Russia’s for the same year.
Another example is Angola, which is ranked 6th in diamond production, but 3rd in diamond value.
Both countries (as well as South Africa, Canada, and Namibia) produce gem-quality rough diamonds versus countries like Russia and the DRC whose diamonds are produced mainly for industrial use.
Which Regions Produce the Most Diamonds in 2022?
Unsurprisingly, Africa is the largest rough diamond producing region, accounting for 51% of output by weight, and 66% by value.
|Rank||Region||Share of Rough|
Diamond Production (%)
|Share of Rough
Diamond Value (%)
However diamond mining in Africa is a relatively recent phenomenon, fewer than 200 years old. Diamonds had been discovered—and prized—as far back as 2,000 years ago in India, later on spreading west to Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman Empire.
By the start of the 20th century, diamond production on a large scale took off: first in South Africa, and decades later in other African countries. In fact between 1889–1959, Africa produced 98% of the world’s diamonds.
And in the latter half of the 20th century, the term blood diamond evolved from diamonds mined in African conflict zones used to finance insurgency or crime.
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