Botswana’s Okavango posts record diamond sales at $567 million

GABORONE, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Botswana’s Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) posted a 4 percent jump in sales to $567 million in 2017, the highest annual sales since its formation in 2013, the company said on Thursday.

The state-owned company sold 3.41 million carats of diamonds in 2017, managing director Marcus ter Haar told Reuters, adding that the year was characterised by healthy demand and prices in the first half, weakening from July through to November.

"December saw rough (diamond) prices beginning to strengthen and all things being equal, together with what seems to have been a favourable season in the U.S and China, ODC remains cautiously optimistic for the first half of 2018,” he said.

ODC, which held 10 tenders in 2017, sells 15 percent of the production of Debswana, a joint venture between Botswana’s government and Anglo American's De Beers.

($1 = 12.4047 rand)

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by David Goodman)