De Beers sales volume spiked in the first half as diamond manufacturers restocked inventory that had depleted toward the end of last year.
Sales surged 29 percent from a year ago to 17.2 million carats, while average realized prices dropped 14 percent to $177 per carat, according to parent company Anglo American. De Beers rough price index, which monitors prices on a like-for-like basis, dived 16 percent from a year ago. The gauge fell 8 percent from the beginning of 2016, Anglo American reported.
Mark Cutifani, Anglo American’s chief executive officer, pointed out the increase in sales and “more normal trading conditions” in the January-to-June period were helped in part by several moves by De Beers last year that included a significant cut in the supply of rough.
De Beers also scaled back its mining operations, resulting in production declining 15 percent to 13.314 million carats in the period under review. The company placed its Damtshaa mine in Botswana and the Snap Lake operation in Canada on care and maintenance, and sold its Kimberley mines in South Africa. Output in Botswana retreated 9 percent to 10.512 million carats, accounting for a vast majority of De Beers total supply.
De Beers maintained its production outlook for this year at 26 to 28 million carats.