Rough-diamond sales began to rebound at De Beers’ August sight as demand picked up ahead of the holiday season and governments reduced Covid-19 restrictions.
“Diamond markets showed some continued improvement throughout August and September as Covid-19 restrictions continued to ease in various locations, and manufacturers focused on meeting retail demand for polished diamonds, particularly in certain product areas,” De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said Friday.
The company reported sales of $320 million for its seventh cycle, which ran from August 19 to September 10, up 11% year on year, and nearly triple that of its $116 million total for cycle six. De Beers continued to implement a more flexible approach to rough-diamond sales during the sight, reducing pricing of rough larger than 1 carat by around 6% to 8%, according to sightholders.
While customers at this sight were not permitted to defer 100% of their goods — a move De Beers has implemented since its March-to-April trading session — they were still allowed some deferrals, and were also able to sell back between 20% and 30% of their purchases.
“Overall industry sentiment has become more positive as jewelers in the key US and Chinese consumer markets gained confidence ahead of the important year-end holiday season, supported by strong bridal diamond-jewelry demand across markets,” Cleaver added. “Accordingly, we saw a recovery in rough-diamond demand in the seventh sales cycle of the year, reflecting these retail trends, following several months of minimal manufacturing activity and disrupted demand patterns in all major markets.”
However, while demand is returning, recovery is still in the infancy stage, and will likely take time before returning to its pre-pandemic level, he continued.