The ECB’s Big Bazookas (TLTRO & QE)
The Eurozone is on the rocks again. In November, business activity fell to its lowest point in 16 months as the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) dropped to 51.1. The Euro is at a 27 month low against the dollar. Unemployment is stuck at 11.5%.
Making matters worse, deflation is also knocking on the door. In November, prices rose just 0.3% from the previous year, which is far below the 2% target. Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London, says, “the data show(s) that the Japanification of the Eurozone remains apace.”
To combat this, The European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to pull out the big guns. The first big gun, in some of the best “Fedspeak” we’ve seen yet is called Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operations (TLTRO). Banks are able to borrow from the ECB at very low rates if the money is eventually lent to companies, and not for mortgages or buying government debt.
However, since the TLTROs started, results have not been as the ECB has hoped. This is why Mario Draghi and his counterparts have hinted at a bigger bazooka, quantitative easing (QE), over the last few weeks. Tomorrow (Dec 4th) they may decide to finally pull the trigger at the ECB meeting, but some feel that is premature.
“Much like an elementary school student putting off their weekend homework in hopes of a ‘miracle’ snow day canceling school on Monday, the ECB can still hang it’s hopes on the mid-December TLTRO auction as a possible savior,” said Matt Weller, senior technical analyst at Forex.com, in a note.
Original graphic from: Saxo Markets
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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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