January 30th, 2020 – By Edward Thicknesse
De Beers, the diamond mining arm of Anglo American, recorded its highest sales of the gems since April last year in signs that the global market is beginning to recover from a nightmare 2019.
The firm, which was taken over by Anglo in 2011, sold $545m (£418.7m) in rough diamonds in its first cycle of 2020, its third consecutive cycle of growth. Read more: Petra Diamonds revenue falls but glimmers of hope remain In the same period last year De Beers sold $500m of the precious stones, meaning that the firm has recorded nearly a 10 per cent increase year-on-year.
The first cycle of the year is usually one of the strongest buying periods, coming after the crucial holiday period. De Beers’ chief executive Bruce Cleaver said: “Demand for rough diamonds increased during the first sight of 2020 following the end of year selling season and subsequent inventory restocking.” Get the news as it happens by following City A.M. on Twitter Earlier this week Petra Diamonds’ chief executive Richard Duffy said that rough diamond pricing had improved in the third quarter, but warned that the markets continued recovery would depend on macro-economic conditions.
2019 proved a challenging year for diamond sales, with a combination of oversupply, ongoing trade tensions and increased sales of lab-grown diamonds all responsible for the fall in sales. The lower demand for the precious stones had seen De Beers cut its production from 35.3m carats to 31m carats for 2019. De Beers markets diamond production at 10 sights throughout the year, at which buyers are shown boxes containing a range of stones with prices attached.
According to Bloomberg the firm, which was founded by Cecil Rhodes, has been experimenting with how it sells its diamonds to combat the global slump. The firm has reportedly been giving buyers “unprecedented flexibility” in being able to reject the diamonds offered to them as well as in negotiating prices.