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De Beers 1H Sales Volume Slumps 26%, Average Price Jumps 7%

Large-Scale Rejections at Small July Sight

Jul 16, 2015 3:20 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... De Beers rough diamond sales by volume fell 26 percent year on year to 14 million carats in the first half of 2015, Anglo American reported. The company explained that the sharp decline reflected low levels of restocking by diamond manufacturers and dealers, which was partially offset by a higher average selling price.

De Beers sightholders refused to take high-priced rough in the first quarter of the year, rejecting about 25 percent of goods offered. Sentiment continues to be weak in the diamond manufacturing sector and further high-volume rejections are expected at this week’s sight that is ongoing at press time.

“People are delaying their buying decisions by as much as possible,” a sightholder, who requested anonymity,  told Rapaport News. “I expect the July sight will be extremely small.”

De Beers has reportedly maintained relatively stable prices at the July sight, while sightholders have the option to defer 25 percent of the goods on offer. Rapaport News will publish a full sight report in coming days. Initial reports suggest that about half of the $500 million worth of rough offered was taken.  The sight signaled a continuation of De Beers strategy to lower supply and maintain steady prices, while one sight observer suggested that this may not be possible to maintain at future sights this year.

Anglo American reported in its quarterly production statement that De Beers realized and average selling price increase of 7 percent, to an average of $206 per carat during the first half  due to a higher quality product mix sold as compared with one year earlier. De Beers rough price index was, on average, 4 percent lower for the first six months of 2015 compared with 2014.

The miner adjusted its production forecast for the year in light of the weak market and expects to recover between 30 million and 32 million carats across its four mining divisions, rather than 32 million to 34 million originally planned.  Production fell 6 percent to 7.96 million carats in the second quarter and by 3 percent to 15.63 million carats in the first half of the year.

Anglo explained that lower grades and reduced plant availability at the Orapa mine in Botswana affected overall production. The company reduced production at its Venetia and Jwaneng tailings treatment plants in response to weaker trading conditions.

Production at Debswana, De Beers diamond mining unit in Botswana, fell 6 percent to 5.913 million carats, while production at Namdeb Holdings in Namibia slipped 15 percent to 431,000 carats. De Beers Consolidated Mines in South Africa saw production down 5 percent to 1.117 million carats and De Beers Canada production declined 11 percent to 502,000 carats.

Anglo American is scheduled to publish its interim financial report on July 24. De Beers rough sales by value are expected to have declined by 28 percent to $2.5 billion in the first half of the year, according to Rapaport News estimates.

De Beers is 85 percent owned by Anglo American and 15 percent by the Botswana government. 

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Tags: Anglo American, Avi Krawitz, Botswana, De Beers, diamonds, Jwaneng, Rapaport, Sightholders
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