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De Beers Sales Slow Amid Diwali Closures

Nov 24, 2021 5:39 AM   By Rapaport News
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Revenue at the latest De Beers sales cycle slipped as Indian manufacturers closed cutting factories for the traditional Diwali holiday festival.

Proceeds from the miner’s ninth sale of 2021 — which included the November sight, as well as auctions — fell 7% year on year to $430 million, down from $462 million in the equivalent period of 2020, the company reported Wednesday. Sales were also lower than the $492 million De Beers registered during this year’s eighth cycle, when manufacturers stocked up on rough ahead of the seasonal shutdown.

Despite the Indian closures, sales were buoyed by continued demand for diamond jewelry in the US ahead of the Christmas holidays, De Beers noted. The miner raised prices of rough in the cheapest categories by low-single-digit percentages at the November sight, customers told Rapaport News.

“Sentiment continues to be positive on the back of strong demand for diamond jewelry from US consumers, and this was reflected in the demand we saw for rough diamonds during the ninth cycle,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “Such demand was in line with expectations given the normal pattern of cutting-factory closures in India during the Diwali festival.”

The sales session came amid mixed signals in the market: Demand is strong because of buoyant US retail sales, but manufacturers have raised concerns about thin profit margins as polished prices have failed to keep up with rough.

“As we head into cycle 10, we anticipate rough-diamond demand will likewise be affected by the Christmas holiday closure of cutting factories in southern Africa, but we expect to see positive industry conditions prevailing into the new year in light of the healthy outlook for the key retail selling season,” Cleaver added.

The tenth and final sales cycle of the year will take place in December.

Image: Rough-diamond sorting. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers) 
Tags: 10th cycle, Bruce Cleaver, De Beers, diamonds, Diwali holiday festival, Rapaport News, Rough Diamonds
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