It’s a rough time for diamond prices!

Global rough diamond prices are expected to deteriorate further during the second half of the year.

De Beers Global Sightholder sales have been on the decline since the start of the year, with the trend projected to continue for the remainder of 2019.

The recent Monetary Policy Report released by Bank of Botswana (BoB) attributes this lean period to the increase in polished diamond inventories due to global economic slowdown.

Similarly, the report states that polished diamond prices, as well as diamond jewellery prices are expected to fall as prospects for global end-consumer demand remain restrained.

According to the report, risks to the global diamond industry are tilted to the downside, in context of uncertainty surrounding the spread of man-made diamonds and weak downstream sentiment related to macroeconomic and geopolitical factors.

Other contributing factors include excess supply of smaller diamonds as well as slow sales in the Indian consumer market.

The latest rough diamond sales for De Beers seventh cycle sales were almost half of what the company registered in the same period last year.

In the corresponding period in 2018, the sales amounted to US$503 million while this time around it recorded US$280 million.

De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver noted that midstream participants continue to work down polished diamond inventory levels.

Meanwhile, in the second quarter of 2019, Debswana, whose diamonds are sold by De Beers, registered a decrease in production.

The company produced 5.7 million carats of diamonds during the second quarter of the year, a decrease of 8.9 percent compared to the first quarter.

The decrease was due to lower production at Orapa Mine, which plummeted by 23.3 percent following a planned shutdown.

Production at Jwaneng Mine on the other hand increased by 6.5 percent in the same period. Meanwhile, another diamond producer, Lucara Diamond Corp, which operatesKarowe Mine, saw its output go up by a massive 34.1 percent to 109 312 carats in the second quarter of 2019.

The increase in production is attributed to improved efficiency in the recovery of smaller diamonds.

Lucara, which has a history of recovering huge diamonds, unearthed a total of 225 special stones, which are classed as diamonds larger than 10.8 carats.

The special stones accounted for 8.1 percent of the total recovered carats.

For the year, the company anticipates production to be between 375, 000 to 420, 000 carats, higher than the 366, 086 carats recovered last year.

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