De Beers recorded its smallest sight of the year in November amid a seasonally quiet period for the rough diamond market after the Diwali festival.
The ninth sales cycle of 2016 totaled $470 million compared with $178 million a year ago when the rough market was in the doldrums, but fell short of November sales in 2013 and 2014. The company restated its October sales to $494 million.
“The market was firm and De Beers could have sold more goods,” a sightholder told Rapaport News.
Prices of 1-carat to 2-carat rough were about 1 percent higher, while smaller and lower-quality stones were stable or slightly lower, sightholders reported. Premiums on the secondary market were about 5 percent for higher-quality goods but sightholders noted they softened after the Indian government announced it has scrapped INR 500 and INR 1,000 currency notes as legal tender, effective November 9. De Beers kept its box assortments relatively unchanged.
Many Indian sightholders did not attend the De Beers sale as it was held toward the end of the Diwali holiday season, contributing to the smaller sight. De Beers is not overly concerned by the lower headline figure as the first eight sights have been stronger, sources noted. The company has sold about $5.16 billion worth of rough this year, representing a 34 percent increase over the first nine sights of 2015.
“Encouragingly, the ninth sales cycle of 2016 showed continued good demand for De Beers rough diamonds, with sales in line with expected seasonal demand patterns,” said Bruce Cleaver, De Beers chief executive officer.
De Beers sales figure includes the latest sight held in Gaborone, Botswana, from November 7 to 11, as well as auction sales and supply to beneficiation and government partners. The final sight of the year is scheduled for the week of December 5.