Alrosa’s (MCX:ALRS) sales dropped by 44% year-on-year in January, according to a press release issued by the Russian miner.
The company said that it sold a total of $281.5 million worth of rough and polished diamonds, with rough stones leading most of the transactions and generating proceeds of $278.2 million.
According to the world’s top diamond producer by output, following a busy month in December, which generated approximately $320.4 million, it is not uncommon to see lower sales in the first month of the following year. Yet, things were a little different this time.
“In January, market activity was lower than usual. After active restocking at the midstream in December 2018 (our December sales were up 20% qoq and up 46% yoy), our January sales came lower,” Yury Okoemov, Alrosa’s Deputy CEO, said in the media brief.
Okoemov explained that December 2018/January 2019 combined sales reached a three-year average by adding up to $601.9 million, something that wasn’t unexpected. “Sales in the diamond market are always cyclical, and apparently, we are seeing the expected correction after the peak values in previous periods,” he said.
But two weeks ago, when Alrosa published its production and sales results for 2018, the figures also showed a drop in sales, in that case of 6% y-o-y, with proceeds resulting in $4.5 billion. When counting carats sold, the total was of 38.1 million carats in 2018 – a drop of 8% when compared to the previous year.
Production figures also were on the decline last year due to the shutdown of the Mir underground mine and the completion of open-pit mining at the Udachnaya pipe. In 2018, Alrosa produced 36.7 million carats, 7% less than in 2017.