India’s biggest holiday boosts De Beers rough diamond sales

(Image courtesy of De Beers Group)

Anglo American’s (LON:AAL) De Beers, the world’s No.1 diamond producer by value, said Tuesday it saw an 5.7% rise in rough diamond sales during the sixth cycle of the year compared with the previous one, as earlier Diwali festivities brought forward demand from Indian diamond polishers.

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

The world’s No.1 rough diamonds producer by value continues to see steady demand.

“With Diwali being earlier than normal in 2017, we saw some demand from Indian diamantaires pulled forward from Sight 7,” De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver said in the statement. “This was due to these customers needing to make rough diamond purchases in sufficient time to complete their polishing before the holiday begins.”

The diamond miner reported provisional sales of $572 million for the sixth cycle ended July 31. That compares to the $541 million it generated in the previous sales cycle. Sales for the sixth cycle of 2016 were $528 million.

Last week, chief financial officer Nimesh Patel said improved market conditions meant De Beers was once again open to buying new assets at the right price. The comments came after the Anglo American division reported a 3% increase in underlying earnings in the first half of the year.

The diamond giant also said at the time it had lifted its 2017 marketing budget by 20% to around $140 million, including both its own advertising and a contribution to the industry body the Diamond Producers Association’s campaign to boost sales.

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