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De Beers Sees Third Consecutive Sales Increase

Nov 18, 2020 4:52 AM   By Rapaport News
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De Beers’ November sales cycle garnered $450 million as retail demand in the US and China supported manufacturers’ appetite for rough, the company reported Wednesday.

The monthly total, covering the period from November 2 to 16, was 13% higher than the equivalent cycle in 2019, but lower than the $467 million the miner grossed at its previous sale in September.

“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewelry at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks.”

November saw De Beers’ third consecutive year-on-year rise in sales — after increases in August and September — as the diamond market became active again following the peak of the coronavirus crisis in the second quarter. Shortages began appearing in certain polished categories during the summer, as Indian cutting factories had been shut for months, while US retailers started looking for goods ahead of the holidays.

The small-stone market, however, has remained weak as the reduced manufacturing volumes in India have made it hard for companies to profit on those goods. De Beers allowed sightholders at the November sale to defer their allocations of rough up to 0.75 carats until the first quarter of next year, or remove certain items from prearranged boxes.

The company has followed a more flexible approach to rough sales during the pandemic due to restrictions on movement of people and merchandise. Sights, which usually last for a week, have extended over a longer period.

Image: Rough-diamond sorting at the offices of Debmarine Namibia, Namdeb and Namibia Diamond Trading Company in Windhoek, Namibia. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)
Tags: Bruce Cleaver, China, Coronavirus, COVID-19, De Beers, Rapaport News, rough, Rough Diamonds, US
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