For De Beers and Alrosa, Rough Demand Is Exceeding Pre-Pandemic Levels
Consumer desire for diamond jewelry remains strong while midstream demand in India is returning, the companies said.
De Beers Group reported Thursday that it sold $470 million in rough diamonds to sightholders and via its auction platform between June 7 and 22, its fifth sales cycle of the year. (The company continues to extend its sights beyond their normal week-long duration because of ongoing travel restrictions.)
Rough sales totaled only $56 million around the same period last year. De Beers combined sales cycles four and five as the pandemic brought trading and demand to a near standstill.
Compared to the same period in 2019 ($391 million), rough sales are up 20 percent this year.
CEO Bruce Cleaver said as the diamond industry moves into the second half of the year, demand for diamond jewelry in the two key markets, the United States and China, remains strong.
In India, which was devastated by a deadly second wave of COVID-19 that started in March, midstream capacity is returning, fueling strong demand for rough.
“Overall sentiment is increasingly optimistic as we move towards the second half of the year and, while risks as a result of the global pandemic persist, we have been encouraged by the condition of the market,” Cleaver said.
The remarks of Alrosa Deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev mirror those of De Beers’ top executive.
The situation in India has improved since April/early May, with cutters and polishers again in need of rough diamonds, he said.
On the consumer side, demand for diamond jewelry remains “robust” in all key regions. Agureev said in the first four months of the year, U.S. diamond jewelry sales were 30 percent above pre-pandemic levels. In China, they were up by 10 percent.
In the month of May, Alrosa’s sales totaled $365 million, $346 million rough and $19 million in polished.
That a considerable improvement of course from May 2020, when Alrosa’s sales totaled only $40.1 million.
Compared to May 2019 (rough and polished sales of $266 million), this year’s results are up 37 percent.
Year-to-date, Alrosa’s rough and polished diamond sales total stands at $1.93 billion, 101 percent and 21 percent ahead of 2020 and 2019, respectively.
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