By Michelle Graff
De Beers’ latest round of rough diamond sales totaled $415 million, 25 percent below the same period last year, while Alrosa’s rough and polished April sales were down 21 percent year-over-year. (Photo credit: Alrosa)
New York—Diamond sales for both De Beers Group and Alrosa are lagging behind last year due to macroeconomic conditions and continuing issues with financing in India, the companies said.

De Beers announced Tuesday that in its fourth sales cycle of the year, sightholders and auction customers purchased $415 million in rough diamonds, a 25 percent drop from $554 million in the same period last year.

It is also a decline from the third sales cycle when rough diamond sales reached $581 million.

To date in 2019, De Beers’ rough diamond sales have totaled $1.99 billion, down from $2.31 billion in the same period last year.

CEO Bruce Cleaver pointed to the “backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty” and noted that the industry is entering a seasonally slower period for rough diamond sales because factories in India will close for the standard summer break.

Here is a chart outlining De Beers’ sales so far in 2019.

2018 2019
First sales cycle          $672 million        $500 million
Second $563 million $496 million
Third $524 million $581 million
Fourth $554 million $415 million (provisional)
Fifth $581 million
Sixth $533 million
Seventh $503 million
Eighth $482 million
Ninth $442 million
Tenth $544 million

Meanwhile, rival Alrosa reported last week that April sales of rough and polished diamonds totaled $318.7 million, down 21 percent from sales of $405.3 million in April of last year.

Rough diamond sales amounted to $315.8 million, compared with $396.2 million in April 2018, while polished sales declined more sharply, dropping from $9.1 million to $2.9 million.

Year-to-date, Alrosa has sold $1.32 billion in rough and polished diamonds, down 34 percent from $2.01 billion at this point last year.

Evgeny Agureev, the director of Alrosa’s United Sales Organization, called global demand for diamonds “somewhat weaker” so far this year, due to mid-stream Indian companies still struggling to access affordable financing and the inherent cyclicality of the market.

He said: “The company maintains a moderately positive outlook for the foreseeable future, expecting the market situation to improve in the second half of the year.”

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