De Beers’ provisional sales of rough diamonds at the third “sight” – or sales cycle – for 2018 amounted to $520m which was 8% down on the $563m reported for the second sight for 2018 and 11% down on the $586m sold in comparable third sight for 2017.
Despite this drop De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver remained positive on the state of the market and commented, “ while the second quarter of the year is traditionally a seasonally slower period, we continued to see good rough diamond demand in the third sales cycle of 2018 as diamond businesses have focused on restocking following healthy consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the US and China.”
JP Morgan Cazenove analyst Frasier Jameson pointed out in a research note that De Beers’ year-to-date rough diamond sales represent 32.5% of JP Morgan’s estimate of total sales of $5.4bn for 2018 which “is below the run-rate at this point in 2017.”
The latest JP Morgan assessment of the diamond market published in March said the month of February had seen “continued robust diamond trading on positive market sentiment and seasonal restocking by jewellery retailers.
“While the Bloomberg rough price index has remained flattish since the beginning of February, polished prices continued to rise – by another 1% to 2% month – on – month further improving midstream margins.”