De Beers' rough diamond sales at Cycle 5 in June were (provisionally) $390 million, making sight number five of 2019 the lowest-earning sight of the year to date, the smallest since the October 2017 sight ($370 million, Cycle 8) and the lowest for a June sale since the miner started releasing monthly sales data in 2016. June is not typically a slow month for rough diamond sales. Cycle 5 sales from 2016-2018 averaged $555 million, or 30% more than in 2019.
The $390 million in reported sales represents a 33% decline from sales in Cycle 5 2018 ($581 million) and is more than 6% lower than at the previous sight in May. De Beers cited a variety of factors impacting their sales, including high levels of polished inventory, which spoils the appetite of manufacturers to consume more rough goods. Bruce Cleaver, CEO De Beers Group, commented: "While overall retail sentiment for diamond jewellery in the US remains solid, a more challenging environment in China and higher than normal polished diamond inventories in the midstream resulted in a cautious approach from rough diamond buyers during the fifth cycle of 2019." Sentiment concerning rough trading is certainly running low, with no obvious turning point on the horizon, as even lower prices failed to entice buyers.