Sourcing

De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Down 37% YOY

SourcingDec 21, 2023

De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Down 37% YOY

The company was up against tough comps and had to curtail sales as diamond demand waned.

Rough diamond from De Beers Gahcho Kue mine in Canada
De Beers Group sold $130 million worth of rough diamonds in its 10th and final sales cycle of the year (Nov. 9-Dec. 19). It finished the year with a rough diamond sales total of $3.63 billion, compared with $5.80 billion in 2022.
Gaborone, Botswana—De Beers Group finished 2023 with rough diamond sales totaling $3.63 billion, down 37 percent when compared with 2022.

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.

 Related stories will be right here … 

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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