Jewelry

De Beers Sells $560 Million of Diamonds, Least Since January

  • Miner sold $560 million of gems in fifth offering this year
  • De Beers says rough-diamond demand is stable, remains cautious

De Beers reduced diamond sales at its fifth offering this year to the least since January.

The value of the Anglo American Plc unit’s sales was $560 million compared with $636 million at the previous offering, the London-based company said in a statement Tuesday.

“Sales in the fifth cycle of the year were somewhat lower than in the fourth cycle, in line with our expectations and typical seasonal demand patterns,” outgoing De Beers Chief Executive Officer Philippe Mellier said in the statement. “Rough-diamond demand and polished-diamond prices remain stable, reflecting steady consumer demand, but we maintain a cautious outlook.”

De Beers, the world’s biggest producer of the gems, was said to have raised prices by as much as 2 percent in its third sale of of 2016, the first increase in more than a year. Last year, slowing Chinese demand and an industrywide credit crunch sent prices tumbling by the most since 2008. De Beers and rival Alrosa PJSC responded by cutting off supply to try to support the market.

The second half of the year is traditionally a tougher time for the industry, which usually replenishes inventories at the beginning of the year following the holiday period from Thanksgiving through the Lunar New Year in Asia.

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