De Beers Group today announced the value of rough diamond sales (Global Sightholder Sales and Auction Sales) for the fourth sales cycle of 2017, provisionally valued at $520 million. The fact that sales remain solid as the summer slowdown looms indicates continuaing upbeat sentiment in the manufacturing sector, spurring demand. Cycle 4 sales were down 11% from the revised figure of $586 million sold at the last sight (contract sales session) and slipped 18% from the fourth cycle a year ago. De Beers has earned $2.29 billion since the start of 2017, which only represents a 3% decline from the same period a year ago despite three consecutive sights achieving softer results. This is attributable to a 34% jump in January sales, which came to $729 million as rough demand improved when the liquidity crisis in India at the end of 2016 subsided.
Additionally, this latest sight marks the first under the new sightholder contract period. It had already been announced that in the new intention-to-offer (ITO) period, the supply of rough to international sightholders would decline to levels below the 2016-17 ITO year, as De Beers is allocating a larger proportion of goods to its beneficiation and government partners, so a decline was already expected. Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, commented: “We are continuing to see steady demand for rough diamonds, despite the industry entering a typically quieter season. Sentiment remains positive as we head towards the important Las Vegas trade show in early June."