De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver stays positive on rough diamond market despite drop in sales

DE BEERS CEO Bruce Cleaver has maintained the group’s positive view on the state of the rough diamond market despite the latest sales figures for De Beers’ ninth sales cycle of 2021 being lower than those recorded for cycle 8 this year and cycle 9 of 2020.

Provisional sales for cycle 9 released today were $430m compared with actual sales of $492m for cycle 8 and actual sales of $462m for cycle 9  in 2020.

Cleaver commented: “Sentiment continues to be positive on the back of strong demand for diamond jewellery from US consumers and this was reflected in the demand we saw for rough diamonds during cycle 9.

“Such demand was in line with expectations  given the normal pattern of cutting factory closures in India during the Diwali festival. As we head into cycle 10, we anticipate rough diamond demand will likewise be affected by the Christmas holiday closure of cutting factories in southern Africa, but we expect to see positive industry conditions prevailing into the new year in light of the healthy outlook for the key retail selling season.”

De Beers noted that, as per previous sales cycles this year, the group “… has continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough diamond sales” with the cycle 9 sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

The reason is the restriction on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the world, it said.

De Beers is 85% owned by Anglo American, the UK-listed diversified mining group. Goldman Sachs has forecast diamonds to contribute $1.2bn to Anglo American’s full year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $22.4bn this year. De Beers diamond sales were expected to total $5.1bn, the bank said.