Wednesday, January 19, 2022

De Beers rough diamonds sales slow down

Global miner – De Beers Group has recorded a hit on its rough diamond sales in its latest ‘sales cycle’ held between 8th to 23rd, November 2021.

The group’s latest sales have been provisionally estimated to be $430 million for its ninth sales cycle which was extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

De Beers says owing to the restrictions on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the globe it continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Sentiment continues to be positive on the back of strong demand for diamond jewellery from US consumers and this was reflected in the demand we saw for rough diamonds during Cycle 9. Such demand was in line with expectations given the normal pattern of cutting factory closures in India during the Diwali festival”.

Clever says as the company heads into Cycle 10, it anticipates rough diamond demand to be affected by the Christmas holiday closure of cutting factories in southern Africa.

He however noted that, “we expect to see positive industry conditions prevailing into the New Year in light of the healthy outlook for the key retail selling season.”

De Beers, which is 85 percent owned by Anglo American and 15 percent by Botswana government, sells rough diamonds through ten Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales held every year in Gaborone, with the sights or auction sales restricted to its top 80 Sightholders who buy the diamond packages at a price determined by the company.

When diamond sales slumped to record lows last year, De Beers broke from tradition and made several concessions that included temporarily moving away sights from Gaborone due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and use of the flexible approach that extends the sights beyond the normal week-long duration to now last two weeks.

Analyst believe that the robust rough diamond demand this year could push the company to levels close to the $5.39 billion sales recorded in 2018 and $5.31 billion in 2017. The diamond mining behemoth is however yet to top the record setting of $5.6 billion reached in 2016.

De Beers’ production guidance for this year remains at 32 to 34 million carats, subject to trading conditions, the extent of further Covid-19- related disruptions and ongoing operational challenges. The higher production is expected to be driven by an anticipated increase in ore and improved grade performance at both Jwaneng and Venetia mine.

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