De Beers ends 2017 with “steady as she goes” diamond sales

Provisional diamond sales at the tenth – and last –  De Beers “sight” for 2017 amounted to $450m which was 3% down on the $466m recorded for the ninth sight but “continued the recovery from the seasonally quieter summer period” according to JP Morgan Cazenove analyst Fraser Jamieson.

He pointed out that De Beers’ year-to-date sales of $5.31bn are 1% above JP Morgan’s estimate of $5.23bn for 2017 which he described as “a reassuring outcome following concerns over diamond demand since summer.”

De  Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver commented, “the tenth sales cycle of the year saw the continuation of good demand for De Beers rough diamonds as we head towards the end of 2017.  Demand was broadly stable on the levels seen in cycle 9 with sales slightly ahead of the equivalent period in 2016.”

De Beers sold $5.6bn worth of rough diamonds in 2016 – which was 30% up on the depressed level of $4.7bn sold in 2015 –  and increased underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to $1.4bn.

The group sold 29.9m carats of diamonds in 2016 and De Beers CFO Nimesh Patel said in February that forecast sales for 2017 were in a range between 31m carats and 33m carats.

JP Morgan is forecasting that De Beers EBITDA for 2017 will amount to $1.42bn.