FOCUSING ON SKILLS: A 30-carat rough diamond is viewed at the offices of a polishing factory in Antwerp. De Beers wants to increase cutting and polishing skills in South Africa. Picture: Reuters
FOCUSING ON SKILLS: A 30-carat rough diamond is viewed at the offices of a polishing factory in Antwerp. De Beers wants to increase cutting and polishing skills in South Africa. Picture: Reuters

De Beers records a 176% jump in rough diamond sales

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Sep 14, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Anglo American reported a 176 percent jump in rough diamond sales from De Beers during the seventh sales cycles of 2020, compared to the sixth sales cycle underscoring a recovery following the easing of hard lockdowns.

De Beers, which has ten sales cycles in a year, said on Friday that the sixth and seventh sales cycles of 2020, amounted to $116million (R1.94billion) and $320m, respectively.

The group said on Friday that the rough diamond sales figure quoted for cycle 7 was provisional and represented the expected sales value from August 19 to September 10, and remained subject to adjustment based on final completed sales.

The seventh sales cycle was expected to be higher than the $287m from the seventh sales cycle last year and came after the Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on the diamond market in the first six months of the year.

Chief executive Bruce Cleaver said that diamond markets showed some continued improvement throughout August and into September as Covid-19 restrictions continued to ease in various locations and manufacturers focused on meeting retail demand for polished diamonds, particularly in certain product areas.

Cleaver also said the overall industry sentiment had become more positive as jewellers in the key US and Chinese consumer markets gained confidence ahead of the important year-end holiday season, supported by strong bridal diamond jewellery demand across markets.

“We saw a recovery in rough diamond demand in the seventh sales cycle of the year, reflecting these retail trends, following several months of minimal manufacturing activity and disrupted demand patterns in all major markets.

“It’s clear that the recovery is at an early stage and we expect that it will take some time to get back to pre-Covid-19 levels of demand,” Cleaver said.

In March De Beers cancelled its third rough diamond sales event due to the public health restrictions on the movement of people and products in Botswana, South Africa and India, which prohibited customers from travelling and prevented the shipment of goods to customers’ international operations.

The sales cycle was due to run from March 30 to April 3 in Gaborone in Botswana, but it became impossible for sight holders when the government of that country closed its borders.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in a severe knock on the global diamond industry, saw De Beers reporting a 45 percent nosedive in rough diamond sales volumes.

Total revenue shrank by 54 percent to $1.2bn from $2.6bn a year earlier.

Anglo American’s share price closed 2.96 percent higher at R413.50 on the JSE on Friday.

BUSINESS REPORT

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