Sourcing

De Beers’ 2023 Sales Off to a Slower Start

SourcingMar 09, 2023

De Beers’ 2023 Sales Off to a Slower Start

New CEO Al Cook said the economic uncertainty that lingered in late 2022 caused sightholders to put off buying until later in 2023.

2022_De Beers rough Gahcho Kue.jpg
Rough diamonds from Gahcho Kué, De Beers’ diamond mine in Canada. The company’s rough diamond sales, including both sightholder and auction sales, totaled $495 million in late February/early March, down 24 percent when compared with the same period last year. (©De Beers Group/Photo credit: Ben Perry @ Armoury Films)
Gaborone, Botswana—After a massive 2022, the new year is off to a slower start for De Beers Group.

Rough diamond sales for what De Beers terms its second sales cycle of the year (the period spanning Feb. 20 to March 7) totaled $495 million compared with $652 million in the second sales cycle of 2022.

That is a 24 percent year-over-year decline.

Compared to the first sales cycle of 2023 ($454 million), De Beers’ sales were up 9 percent. 

So far this year, the company’s sales total $949 million through two rounds of sales, compared with $1.31 billion at this point in 2022, an exceptionally strong year for De Beers.

Demand for diamond jewelry, which spiked during the pandemic and has remained elevated, coupled with sanctions on Alrosa goods bolstered demand for the company’s diamonds in 2022.

De Beers finished the year with rough diamond sales totaling $5.79 billion, a 20 percent year-over-year increase. It was the first time since 2018 that the company’s annual rough sales topped $5 billion.

De Beers ramped up production to near-maximum capacity, mining 34.6 million carats, a 7 percent year-over-year increase.

 Related stories will be right here … 

De Beers’ latest sales results, released Wednesday, are the first under new CEO Al Cook, who started at the company two weeks ago.

Cook replaces Bruce Cleaver, who stepped down as CEO in early 2023 but became co-chairman of De Beers Group, serving alongside Anglo American executive Duncan Wanblad. 

Cook described rough diamond demand as “steady” while also noting “positive trends” in diamond jewelry demand at the start of the year. 

“In this, my first sight update to the market, I am pleased to see continued steady demand for rough diamonds in line with our expectations for sales as the year progresses. For example, we know sightholders planned more of their purchases for later in 2023, given the economic uncertainty at the time they were taking their planning decisions at the end of 2022,” he said, referring to the recession fears that permeated the market late last year. 

“It is also encouraging to see some positive trends in end-client demand for diamond jewelry at the start of the year.” 

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