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World number one diamond producer by value De Beers says sales in its 10th sales cycle fell almost a quarter from its previous one, but it is encouraged by consumer demand for diamond jewellery during the holiday period.
De Beers, which is 85% owned by global resources company Anglo American, said provisional sales for its 10th cycle had come in at $332m (R5.27bn) from $438m in the ninth cycle.
The figures are provisional as De Beers has extended viewing of stones beyond its normal one week due to restrictions on travel.
“Rough diamond demand and midstream sentiment continued to be positive in the final sales cycle of 2021, although as anticipated we saw some impact on sales ahead of the seasonal closure of polishing factories in Southern Africa over the Christmas period,” said De Beers group CEO Bruce Cleaver in a statement.
“Nonetheless, despite the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, our rough diamond sales for the year are higher than what we saw in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic, and much higher than our sales in 2020,” he said.
During 2019, diamond miners contended with weak demand and low prices for rough stones. In 2021, the group has sold a provisional $4.79bn, having sold $2.79bn in the course of 2020 from $4.04bn in 2019.
“Consumer demand for diamond jewellery is continuing to perform very well over the key holiday period, so we head towards the new year with positive trading conditions and industry sentiment,” said Cleaver.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.