De Beers diamond sales down 20% on earlier Diwali

De Beers, the world’s largest rough diamond producer by value, saw its sales decline by 20% during the seventh sale of the year compared with the same period last year due to Diwali being earlier than normal in 2017.

The Anglo American’s unit, which holds ten sales of rough diamonds a year, reported provisional diamond sales of $505 million for the seventh sales cycle ended Sept. 4, compared with $576 million generated in the previous sales cycle. Sales for the seventh cycle of 2016 were $639 million.

"As expected, rough diamond sales were somewhat lower in the seventh cycle of the year, with some midstream demand having already been brought forward into Cycle 6 due to Diwali being earlier than normal in 2017," chief executive Bruce Cleaver said in the statement.

Diwali, or festival of lights, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year, which is celebrated in the fall. The five-day celebration is known for driving diamonds and gold sales up.

The latest sale brings revenue so far this year to just over $4.012 billion, compared with $4.195bn for the first seven sales in 2016, and $5.587bn for the whole of last year.