Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa saw its March rough diamond sales gain 8% over its February results, as the market is gradually stabilizing, although it is still lagging far behind its rough sales a year ago. Alrosa sold $369.2 million in rough goods compared with $340.6 million last month and $278.2 million in January, saying demand for smaller-sized stones picked up during the quarter. Relative to 2018 levels, however, March 2019 represents a 33% decline from the $550.3 million in rough diamonds sold in March last year, while Q1 sales have tumbled by 38% to $988 million from 1.61 billion during the first three months of 2018.
Alrosa sold $8 million worth of polished diamonds in March, a 61% increase compared with $5 million a month earlier, bringing the miner's combined March total to $377 million, a 9% increase over last month. Compared to the same month a year ago, polished sales declined by 11% from the $9.1 million sold in 2018. For the quarter, 2019 polished sales are down 31% at $16.3 million, while they achieved $23.7 million in Q1 2018.
The miner is cautiously optimistic about the coming quarter. “The market is gradually stabilizing following a soft demand from cutting and polishing companies in the second half of the last year," said Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov. "Demand for smaller-sized stones demonstrated recovery in the first quarter." The miner has also slowed its inventory buildup as market demand is coming into line with production. "The sector is also gradually restoring the balance between the rough diamond inventories and rough diamond purchase volumes. We are cautiously optimistic about the second quarter, as, despite the persistent difficulties the Indian manufactures have with access to funding, in general, the end-demand for diamond jewelry demonstrates resilience."