DE Beers registered diamond sales totalling $467m for its eighth sight – a 40% increase over the confirmed seventh sight sales – in a sign that the diamond market continued to improve ahead of its key Thanksgiving and Christmas festivals.
“We continue to see a steady improvement in demand for rough diamonds in the eighth sales cycle of the year, with cutters and polishers increasing their purchases as retail orders come through ahead of the key holiday season,” said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group.
But he struck a note of caution, saying it was “early days”, and that there was “… a long way to go before we can be sure of a sustained recovery in trading conditions”.
The eighth cycle numbers were also provisional given that De Beers had again departed from its usual practice by extending the sales period to accommodate buyers tackling travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As a result, the provisional rough diamond sales figure quoted for Cycle 8 represents the expected sales value for the period 21 September to 9 October and remains subject to adjustment based on final completed sales,” the company said.
In September, the company provided a provisional figure of $320m for seventh cycle sales, but the confirmed figure issued today was sales of $334m.
Today’s numbers are significantly higher than the $297m in sales recorded for the eighth sales cycle of De Beers’ 2019 financial year.
De Beers cut its prices for smaller diamonds in an effort to draw more customers back into the sector, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
The impact of Covid-19 travel restrictions has been most pronounced in the diamond market where cutters and polishers like to inspect goods before confirming purchases. As a result, De Beers made only a slim $2m contribution to Anglo American’s interim earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $3.4bn.
Anglo American owns 85% of De Beers.