De Beers’ rough diamonds are back on the market, with sales showing slight improvement but at low levels. With only three sales cycles left, the company is facing its most challenging years in over a decade.
On Friday, the diamond mining juggernaut released the value of rough diamond sales for the sixth sales cycle of the year, amounting to $116 million, down from $250 million raked in sixth sales cycle of 2019. De Beers in a break of tradition also announced provisional sales for the seventh sales cycle, putting the figure at $320 million, which will be higher than $287 million worth of rough diamonds sold in the corresponding cycle in 2019.
De Beers holds ten Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales every year in Gaborone and the sights or auction sales are restricted to its top 80 Sightholders who buy the diamond packages at a price determined by De Beers.
The diamond mining giant said the restrictions on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the globe, has forced the company to continue implementing a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the sixth and seventh sales cycles of 2020, with the normal week-long sight events extended towards near-continuous sales. As a result, the provisional rough diamond sales figure quoted for cycle 7 represents the expected sales value for the period 19 August to10 September and remains subject to adjustment based on final completed sales, the company said in a statement.
“Diamond markets showed some continued improvement throughout August and into September as Covid-19 restrictions continued to ease in various locations, and manufacturers focused on meeting retail demand for polished diamonds, particularly in certain product areas,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group.
“Overall industry sentiment has become more positive as jewellers in the key US and Chinese consumer markets gained confidence ahead of the important year-end holiday season, supported by strong bridal diamond jewellery demand across markets. Accordingly, we saw a recovery in rough diamond demand in the seventh sales cycle of the year, reflecting these retail trends, following several months of minimal manufacturing activity and disrupted demand patterns in all major markets. It’s clear that the recovery is at an early stage and we expect that it will take some time to get back to pre-Covid-19 levels of demand.”