Diamond Sales by Anglo’s De Beers Decline to Lowest This Year

  • Offering still showed good demand for rough diamonds, CEO said
  • Buyers get rough gems earlier in year to ready for peak season

De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, said sales of the gems at its most recent auction fell to the lowest this year.

The company, owned by Anglo American Plc, sold $470 million of diamonds in the ninth cycle, compared with $494 million at its previous offering, it said in a statement Tuesday.

The diamond industry is seasonal, with the holiday period from Thanksgiving in November through the Lunar New Year in Asia in January or early February typically the busiest period for jewelry sales. De Beers’ customers tend buy more rough stones earlier in the year to prepare for this period.

“The ninth sales cycle of 2016 showed continued good demand for De Beers’s rough diamonds, with sales in line with expected seasonal demand patterns,” Chief Executive Officer Bruce Cleaver said.

While rough-diamond prices gained 7.4 percent this year, Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani and other executives have cautioned that the final six months of 2016 could be more difficult for the industry.