De Beers rough diamond sales fall 42% for seventh cycle

A pedestrian walks past a De Beers jewellery store in the Central district of Hong Kong.

DE Beers reported a 42% decline in rough diamond sales for its latest cycle of the year which it put down to macroeconomic and seasonal factors.

Seventh cycle sales totalled $370m compared to sales of $638m for the seventh cycle in the diamond group’s 2022 financial year. Sales for the previous, sixth cycle were $411m.

“With the prevailing economic environment leading to softer end client demand for diamond jewellery in key consumer markets, and the traditionally lower levels of midstream trading during the summer period, sightholders continued to take a prudent approach to their purchasing during the seventh sales cycle of the year,” said Al Cook, CEO of De Beers today.

The provisional rough diamond sales figure quoted for the cycle represents the expected sales value for the period 14 and 29 August, said De Beers. It remained subject to adjustment based on final completed sales, it added.

De Beers is 85% owned by Anglo American which was last month quizzed on the suitability of retaining the investment given the group’s product mix is increasingly focused on metals for energy transition.

“The underlying assets are the best in the world and with that I’m very confident they are a good fit to our portfolio,” said Duncan Wanblad, CEO of Anglo American at the group’s interim results presentation on July 27. “The team is doing a great job and that’s it on De Beers as far as I’m concerned.”

Earlier in July De Beers announced it had agreed an in-principle agreement with the Botswana government to extend a diamond sales agreement held in their joint venture Debswana. However, Botswana’s Okavango Diamond Company would take a larger 30% slice of sales compared to a 25% portion in the previous agreement. A mining lease agreement was also extended 25 years. “We are delighted to have reached this agreement,” said Wanblad.