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De Beers Looks to Long-Term Market Recovery Amid Drop in Sales

May 23, 2024  |  Leah Meirovich
De Beers rough packets credit Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)

Proceeds at De Beers’ fourth rough-sales cycle of the year saw a downturn from the recent improvement noted in the last few sights as it entered a traditionally slow period for the industry. 

The miner brought in $380 million in May, down 21% versus the equivalent period in 2023, it said Thursday. That figure is also 15% lower than the $446 million the company reported at its April cycle, and 12% lower than February’s total. 

The second quarter is generally a quieter time for buying rough, following post-holiday restocking in the first three months of the year. However, De Beers made an effort to ensure sales volume would not fall too drastically by reducing prices for smaller rough at the sight. The miner cut the price of goods 0.75 carats and smaller by 4% to 6%, while rough between 1 and 1.50 carats decreased by approximately 4%. The price adjustments helped correct the existing gap between De Beers’ prices and those on the outside market. Had it not made those reductions, some sightholders would have refused goods, sources told Rapaport News.  

“As expected, De Beers’ rough-diamond sales in the fourth cycle of the year trended lower, in line with the seasonally slower second quarter and a quieter period of trading in India during the elections,” said De Beers CEO Al Cook. 

While De Beers predicted the slowdown would continue in the short term, it expected the market to recover within the next few years. 

“The focus of the global diamond industry now turns towards the JCK jewelry show in Las Vegas at the end of May,” Cook added. “Demand trends in the US are expected to be driven by short term macroeconomic issues but supported in coming years by a recovery in engagements as the aftereffects of pandemic lockdowns fade.” 

The figures included the sight, which took place in Botswana from May 6 to 10, as well as auction sales. De Beers’ next sight is scheduled to run from June 10 to 14. In its most recent results, released February 22, the miner reported revenue slid 36% to $4.27 billion in 2023. Sales volume dropped 19% to 24.7 million carats, and the average price slipped 25% to $147 per carat. 

Earlier this month, parent company Anglo American announced it would sell De Beers as part of a strategy to realize more value from its business. The move followed an offer by BHP to buy Anglo for $38.8 billion. Anglo has since turned down two additional BHP bids. 

Image: Packets of rough diamonds. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)

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De Beers rough packets credit Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers) De Beers Looks to Long-Term Market Recovery Amid Drop in Sales

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