ajaz_eco_204_2012_2013_chapter_16_Market_Power

Fancies or unusually coloured diamonds in such shades

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Unformatted text preview: m a monopolist’s rule book: when times are bad, hold back diamonds to support the price; when times are good, release the gems and clean up. More or less the same principle, institutionalised by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, who set up the CSO in 1934, is followed today. De Beers varies its stocks of diamonds, and forces its partners to hold theirs back too, depending on market conditions. In 1977, for instance, a boom year, it held just $253m of the stones. By June this year, however, a turbulent time for the industry, the diamond stocks stashed away in the De Beers saf es were worth a staggering $4.1 billion—a treasure trove made possible by the company’s financial strength. Such manipulation of the market—De Beers prefers to call it "management" or "stabilisation"—does not mean that no diamonds are genuinely scarce. "Fancies", or unusually coloured diamonds, in such shades as pink or purple, can be extremely rare and fetch huge prices. Small, plain diamonds, however, are in fa...
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This document was uploaded on 01/19/2014.

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