De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Down 37% YOY
The company was up against tough comps and had to curtail sales as diamond demand waned.
The company faced tough comparables—2022 sales neared $6 billion, the company’s strongest showing in four years—and softer-than-expected demand due to inflation and the sluggish Chinese market.
De Beers holds 10 “sales cycles” per year, and the total for each generally includes sales of rough diamonds made to both sightholders and online auction customers.
Sales began declining steadily in the fourth sales cycle (May 1-16) and in the eighth (Sept. 18-Oct. 3), De Beers began pulling back on sales in earnest.
It canceled the remainder of its online auctions for the year and announced it was giving sightholders full flexibility on purchases in sights 9 and 10.
In mid-September, the company also announced plans for a $20 million marketing campaign for natural diamonds using the iconic “A Diamond Is Forever” tagline.
De Beers moved $200 million in rough in sales cycle 8 (mid-September through early October), compared with $508 million in the prior-year period; and only $86 million in sales cycle 9, compared with $454 million.
In its 10th and final sales cycle of the year (early November through mid-December), rough diamond sales totaled $130 million, down 69 percent compared with $417 million in the same period last year but up 51 percent when compared with sales cycle 9.
On Wednesday, De Beers CEO Al Cook said there are signs the supply-demand balance is returning and polished diamond prices are stabilizing as wholesalers sell through more of their inventory.
Still, he said he expects the recovery in rough diamond trading conditions to be “gradual.”
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