Gloomy outlook for diamonds as prices trough for Petra

THE litany of depressing news for the diamond market has continued with the latest sales figures from Petra Diamonds and a gloomy outlook on future sales from CEO Richard Duffy.

This follows the drop is rough diamond sales announced on June 27 by De Beers for its fifth cycle sales for 2024 which showed a 31% year-on-year decline with De Beers CEO Al Cook predicting that, “we continue to expect a protracted U–shaped recovery in demand”.

Reporting diamond sales for Petra’s seventh tender cycle Duffy commented: “Like-for-like prices in this tender cycle were down 3.8% compared to tender six as a result of the continued softness in demand for coarser goods, specifically stones between one and ten carats in size, exacerbated by seasonal weakness. We expect a subdued market through to the end of this calendar year.”

Petra’s sales dropped 14% to $38m in June from $44m in May although the year-to-date sales total of $366m is 13% higher than 2023 because of higher production at 3.2 million carats compared with the previous year’s 2.3 million carats.

Average like-for-like prices for 2024 to date were down 12.4% compared with the prices achieved in the comparable period of 2023.

The price of natural diamonds has  been hit by overall negative global economic conditions and loss of sales to far cheaper laboratory produced diamonds.

Morgan Stanley commented in a report last month that polished natural diamonds were “in a downward spiral with little evidence that prices are at an inflection point”.

De Beers has remained consistently optimistic about the long-term future of the diamond market but its controlling shareholder Anglo American is now looking to sell out of the business in terms of a restructuring announced by CEO Duncan Wanblad in May.