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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Botswana's economy shrinks 5.3% as diamond output falls


Diamond

Sat 29 Jun 2024 | 11:38 PM
Waleed Farouk

Botswana’s economy contracted by the most since the peak of the pandemic in early 2020, after diamond production plunged.

Gross domestic product shrank an annual 5.3% in the first quarter, compared with growth of 1.9% in the prior three months

The downturn was primarily influenced by a decrease in real value added of the diamond traders and mining & quarrying industries of 46.8% and 24.8% respectively, Statistics Botswana said in a report Friday.

Botswana is the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds by value, with the revenues making up the bulk of the southern African country’s budget receipts. The decline is likely to make meeting its fiscal targets for this year difficult. The central bank already warned last week that the government would probably miss its economic growth forecast of 4.2% because of weaker mining output.

The global diamond industry almost came to a standstill in the second half of last year as De Beers and Russia’s Alrosa PJSC — the two biggest miners — all but stopped supplies in a desperate attempt to stem a slump in prices. That hit earnings at De Beers, which mines more than three-quarters of its diamonds in Botswana.

Earlier this year De Beers said it expects any recovery in the beleaguered diamond market to be slow and gradual as the industry continues to suffer from weak economic growth in key markets such as China and the US.