De Beers' rough diamond sales during Cycle 8 in Sept.-Oct. provisionally totaled $295 million, a 39% drop from the $482 million sold in the same period last year. The decline comes as no surprise as it had already been reported that the miner once again offered sightholders several options to increase the flexibility of buyers struggling with an industry-wide slump caused mainly by an oversupply polished stones in the diamond 'pipeline'. Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, confirmed those reports, stating, “As we approach what is traditionally a quieter time of year for the diamond industry during the Diwali holiday, we have again offered our customers flexibility during this sales cycle.”
For the year to date, De Beers' rough sales are down 27% at $3.21 billion from $4.41 billion through the first eight cycles in 2018. Over the past three sales, De Beers has made an effort to accommodate an already-saturated market, reportedly giving its clients the opportunity to leave up to 50% of available goods on the table. As a result, their rough sales have not topped $300 million since the fourth sight back in May. All indications are that it will take at least several months if not longer before the midstream works through the high levels of inventory it is currently holding. Until then, manufacturers' appetite for rough goods will remain soft. With only two more sales and three month' time before the end of the year, we should expect rough diamond revenues industry-wide to decline by about 25% in 2019.