De Beers registers strong first cycle diamond sales of $660m as buyers restock

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers

FIRST cycle sales for De Beers totalled $660m representing a sharp rebound for the final sales meeting of last year in which the group recorded confirmed sales of $336m.

De Beers, which is 85% owned by Anglo American, convenes 10 sales meetings with selected buyers annually, referred to as cycles. Confirmed sales for the first cycle of 2021 totalled $663m.

The strong start was down to restocking among buyers, said Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers. “As anticipated, there was strong growth in consumer demand for diamond jewellery over the end of year holiday season,” he said.

“As a result, we saw the continuation of robust rough diamond demand in the first sales Cycle of the year as buyers focus on restocking depleted inventories.”

According to a note by Goldman Sachs in January, De Beers implemented one of its most aggressive diamond price increases in recent years owing to the recent high demand for uncut gems. Prices were increased 8% in its first sale of the year, it said.

De Beers announced in December it would return to Angola after a ten year absence in order to prospect for diamonds. The move has been interpreted as a validation of the new government led by President Joao Lourenco.

“Angola has made significant progress towards creating a stable and more predictable investment environment in which the people of Angola can directly benefit from increased foreign direct investment,” said Cleaver in December.

De Beers pulled out of Angola in 2012 as “the exploration activity had been unsuccessful in identifying deposits that were deemed economically viable,” according to a spokesperson. De Beers declined to provide details on its deal, saying only that “… a mineral investment contract will be subject to the negotiations that are now being initiated”.