Less than shiny: De Beers recent sale the lowest this year
Diamond giant De Beers, the world’s top producer by value, saw its sales of rough gems fall in its latest offering, but said results were in line with expected seasonal demand patterns.
The Anglo American’s unit sold $470 million of diamonds in the ninth cycle, compared with $494 million fetched at its previous sale.
"Encouragingly, the ninth sales cycle of 2016 showed continued good demand for De Beers rough diamonds, with sales in line with expected seasonal demand patterns," the firm’s chief executive Bruce Cleaver said in the statement.
It sold $470 million of diamonds in the ninth cycle, compared with $494 million fetched at its previous sale.
Rough-diamond prices have rebounded about 7.4% so far this year after De Beers and rival Alrosa reduced output in an effort to improve market conditions. Miners of the precious stone have been struggling due to weak demand and falling prices after global demand for diamond jewellery hit a high of $81 billion in 2014 and production soared, causing a supply-glut by 2015.
Russia’s Alrosa, the world's top diamond producer by output in carats, also reported Tuesday a drop in rough gems sales.
De Beers, which currently has about 30% of the rough diamond market, began operations of its newest mine in September. Gahcho Kué, in Canada's Northwest Territories, is expected to contribute $5.2 billion (Cdn$6.7 billion) to the country’s economy and provide 1,200 new jobs.
This new operation as well as Stornoway’s (TSX:SWY) recently opened Renard mine in Quebec, are expected to add around 7 million carats annually to global production once fully operational, which is likely to affect prices, De Beers said in September.
De Beers sales for the year to date have reached $5.16 billion. The company was Anglo American's largest profit driver in the first half of this year, accounting for about 40% of its underlying earnings during the period.