Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

De Beers, the world’s largest rough diamond producer by value, reported a fall in its July sales, which were the second-lowest of the year so far, coming in at a provisional $530m.

De Beers has 10 annual sales, and the sixth event of the year realised revenue far below the $576m for the same time in 2017, and $581m in the fifth sale.

"In the sixth sales cycle of the year, demand for De Beers rough diamonds was in line with expectations during the seasonally quieter summer period for the industry’s midstream sector," said CEO Bruce Cleaver.

On a year-to-date basis, De Beers has sold $3.424bn worth of rough diamonds, a narrow $83m behind the sales notched up in the first six sales of 2017.

The lowest sales figure for 2018 was in the third sale, when De Beers realised $524m.

In its recently released interim results, De Beers noted it had sold 17.85-million carats for the first half of 2018, down from the 18.4-million carats sold in the same period a year earlier. Revenue, however, remained flat at $2.9bn.

The average selling price increased by 4% to $162 a carat.

De Beers cleaned out stockpiles of lower-value diamonds in large quantities in the first half of 2017, supplying the Indian market where demand was subdued because of the demonetisation programme introduced in November 2016.

De Beers has an increased number of lower-value diamonds in its production mix, with the Gahcho Kue mine in Canada reaching steady-state production and Orapa in Botswana delivering a relatively large quantity of these diamonds.

De Beers has maintained its full-year production target at between 34-million and 36-million carats.

seccombea@bdfm.co.za