Rough Diamond Sales Slow Down for De Beers, Alrosa

SourcingApr 13, 2021

Rough Diamond Sales Slow Down for De Beers, Alrosa

Leaders at both companies said the latest sales results are in line with expectations.

Rough diamonds in the hands of a De Beers employee at one of the company’s operations in South Africa. Both De Beers and Alrosa experienced a slowdown in rough diamonds sales in March and early April. (©De Beers Group, Photo credit: Ben Perry/Armoury Films)
New York—After starting the year out strong, rough diamond sales slowed in March and early April for the industry’s two largest mining companies, De Beers Group and Alrosa. 

De Beers reported $440 million in rough diamond sales between March 22 and April 6, its third cycle of sightholder and auction sales of the year. 

That is a 24 percent decline when compared with $581 million in cycle three of 2019. It is also down from the first ($663 million) and second ($550 million) sales cycles of 2021. 

(Cycle three of 2020 is not a comparable period due to the industrywide shutdown brought about by COVID-19. De Beers’ sales in that period totaled $0.) 

CEO Bruce Cleaver described rough diamond demand as “solid” and said results were in line with company expectations for the third sales cycle as the diamond industry heads into a historically quieter time of the year. 

He struck a cautiously optimistic tone for the months ahead. 

“Both market sentiment and overall industry conditions remain positive,” Cleaver said. “However, with pandemic developments in Europe and Mumbai’s recent lockdown resulting in the Bharat Diamond Bourse being closed, it is clear that we will continue to see challenges relating to COVID-19.” 

 Related stories will be right here … 

For Alrosa, diamond sales in March 2021 totaled $357 million, with the company moving $345 million in rough diamonds and $12 million in polished.

As with De Beers, March 2021 vs. March 2020 is not a viable comparison due to the onset of the pandemic and the resulting “steep decline” in demand. 

Alrosa’s March 2021 sales are down 5 percent when compared with March 2019, when sales totaled $377.1 million.

Diamond sales also have declined slightly each month this year, reaching $430 million in January, $372 million in February and $357 million in March for a total of $1.16 billion year-to-date. 

Alrosa’s year-to-date total is up 23 percent when compared with the first three months of 2020 and 12 percent from 2019. 

Deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev said jewelry sales in key markets, including the United States, continue to be strong while polished diamond stocks are at an appropriate level. 

“Alrosa retains its commitment to a prudent sales strategy, aimed at keeping the industry balance through supplying real demand,” he said. 

“March sales were in line with our expectations. As we see the market today, polished diamond stocks in the global pipeline are at a comfortable level while rough diamond stocks are approaching low levels.” 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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