Sales for De Beers fifth cycle are considerably lower than those recorded from the same cycle last year.
Figures released by De Beers parent company – Anglo American – this week, show that rough diamond sales amounted to US$390 million compared to US$581 recorded in the corresponding period from 2018.
It also marks a slight drop from the US$416 million worth of sales recorded in the fourth cycle.
When commenting on the latest figures, De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver explained that even though overall retail sentiment in the US remains solid, a more challenging environment had emerged in China. He also noted that higher than normal polished diamond inventories in the midstream resulted in a cautious approach from rough diamond buyers during the fifth cycle.
Early in the year, De Beers, which runs Debswana together with the Botswana government as a 50/50 joint venture, predicted a positive year for its sales. The diamond sellers believed this would be driven by positive global consumer demand.
Every year, the company, through its Global Sightholder Sales, holds sights – referred to as cycles – for its registered clients who come into the country to buy rough diamonds 10 times a year.
De Beers source most of its rough diamonds from Debswana mines, which itself is targeting production of 24 million carats this year. In March it announced the commencement of Cut 9 project, which will extend the life of Jwaneng Mine, the country’s most valuable diamond mine, to 2035.
Over US$2billion is expected to be invested during the course of the project and is anticipated to yield an estimated 53 million carats of rough diamonds.