Diamond jewellery demand by US consumers reached a record level of US$39 billion in 2015, up 5 percent from a year ago, according to industry data published by The De Beers Group of Companies.

De Beers attributed the increase in sales to sustained economic recovery in the US, higher levels of job creation and wage growth. The US remains the world’s largest market for diamond jewellery sales and increased its share of global polished diamond demand from 42 percent to 45 percent in 2015.

“Despite 2015 being a challenging year for rough diamond demand, consumer diamond jewellery demand was robust. Encouragingly, the US – the largest and most mature market – continues to grow the strongest, while China continues to grow from an increasingly larger base,” commented Philippe Mellier, chief executive of the De Beers Group. “There remains a positive medium- to long-term outlook for diamond jewellery demand, driven by the US and the growth of the middle classes in emerging markets.”

Demand in China also rose 3 percent in 2015, including diamond jewellery purchases by Chinese buyers abroad.

The Japanese, Indian and Gulf markets, meanwhile, saw a decline in local currency terms in 2015, with the strength of the US dollar further impacting growth rates when translated into US dollar terms, De Beers said.

At constant currency, global consumer demand for diamond jewellery grew by 2 percent. However, the strength of the US dollar during the year negatively impacted growth at actual exchange rates, with global consumer demand for diamond jewellery in US dollar terms reaching US$79 billion in 2015 – a two percent decline on the record US$81 billion recorded in 2014.

According to the report, consumer demand in India dropped by 4 percent in local currency terms due to a decline in overall consumer spending, driven by several factors including restricted credit.

In Japan, consumer demand was broadly flat in local currency terms, but the yen depreciation led to a 13 percent decline in US dollar terms.

Demand in the Gulf region was down 3 percent, with oil price weakness and lower visitor numbers affecting growth.

The outlook for 2016 is driven by expectations of steady but subdued global economic growth, with weakening growth in emerging markets and a fragile recovery in the advanced economies, De Beers said, adding that the US is again expected to be the main driver of growth in 2016.

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