De Beers reported a big drop in the seventh sale of rough diamonds for 2017, with provisional revenue of $505m compared with $639m in the matching period a year earlier, as industry experts warned of slowing demand for rough diamonds in coming months.

De Beers, which is 85% owned by Anglo American, has 10 sales events a year and is one of the world’s largest sources of rough diamonds.

It notched up sales of $576m in the sixth event.

“As expected, rough diamond sales were somewhat lower in the seventh cycle of the year, with some midstream demand having already been brought forward into Cycle 6 due to Diwali being earlier than normal in 2017,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver.


The midstream segment are the cutters and polishers of rough diamonds, with India being a significant player in this segment because of its capacity to cut and polish small diamonds more cheaply than most other countries.

Rapaport, which specialises in pricing polished diamonds and market intelligence, said on Tuesday the inventory of polished diamonds was rising because of sluggish demand.

“Rough demand is expected to slow in the coming months due to the tight manufacturing profit margins and possible oversupply of polished,” it said.

The latest De Beers sale brings its revenue, so far in 2017, to $4.012bn, compared with $4.195bn for the first seven sales in 2016 and $5.587bn for the whole of 2016.

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