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Rough Trade Cautious at $455M De Beers Sale

Nov 14, 2017 6:54 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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Dealers reported a difficult but stable rough market as De Beers’ November sight closed with a value of $455 million — 4% lower than the same period a year ago.

The rough market improved slightly from the October sight, which was the smallest sale of the year as Indian manufacturing slowed for Diwali. However, sightholders still noted weak profitability on De Beers goods during November, with premiums on the secondary market close to zero. 

Most boxes of diamonds from last week’s sight commanded prices on the dealer market that did not cover the costs of doing deals, explained Dudu Harari of diamond broker Bluedax in a report on the sight.

“This was true even for boxes that were in demand,” Harari wrote. “In short, little has changed from the last sight. Overall, it’s a tough time for rough dealers, sightholders and manufacturers.”

De Beers followed its usual practice of not changing prices significantly in the final quarter of the year, one sightholder observed. However, the miner did raise prices of some colored diamonds and reduced them for very small stones, he added.

“India is waking up again, and that’s creating some demand [for rough],” the broker said. Even so, dealers are eager to move goods, so they are accepting prices that mean minimal profit for the seller, he explained.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver noted an improvement in demand in November from the seasonally quiet previous month, citing an increase in retail orders ahead of the holiday season.

Proceeds from De Beers’ first nine sales cycles have declined 6% year on year to $4.85 billion, according to Rapaport records.

Russian miner Alrosa’s November sale is taking place this week.
Tags: Alrosa, Bluedax, Bruce Cleaver, De Beers, Diwali, Dudu Harari, India, Joshua Freedman, mining, rough demand, rough sales, Sightholders, Sights
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