By Michelle Graff
Alrosa’s rough diamond sales totaled 8.3 million carats in the second quarter, down from 9 million carats in the same period last year, an 8 percent drop.
Moscow—Alrosa saw sales drop in Q2 and has cut it sales outlook for the year amid what its deputy CEO describes as “negative factors” impacting the diamond market.

The miner reported Monday that second quarter revenue fell 21 percent year-over-year to 57 billion rubles ($856.8 million) as it sold fewer and less expensive diamonds.

Year-to-date, revenue is down 24 percent.

Rough diamond sales by volume (both industrial and gem quality) totaled 8.3 million carats in the second quarter, down 8 percent year-over-year and 16 percent year-to-date.

Sales of gem-quality diamonds slipped 5 percent and are down 15 percent so far this year.

Alrosa’s net profit dropped 47 percent year-over-year to 13 billion rubles ($195.4 million) on the backs of lower sales and slimmer margins and is down 36 percent year-to-date.

Commenting on the results, Alrosa Deputy CEO Alexey Philippovskiy said the diamond market is being impacted by a slowdown in jewelry sales, which he tied to “global macroeconomic uncertainties amid escalating trade wars,” referencing the continuing back-and-forth between China and the United States.

Also contributing to the diamond miner’s slowdown in sales is the fact that mid-stream suppliers and retailers—who, Alrosa noted, are “embracing more efficient stock management practices”—have all the diamonds they need right now, while cutting and polishing businesses in India continue to have problems securing financing to buy rough.

Alrosa noted, however, that demand “can” rebound near the end of the third quarter as suppliers and retailers stock up for the holiday season.

The company’s comments mirror those of rival De Beers. CEO Bruce Cleaver cited “macroeconomic uncertainty” and noted that retailers are keeping inventory levels low in explaining De Beers’ 53 percent diamond sales slump last month.

Following the release of its second quarter results, Alrosa updated its sales guidance for the year to 32-33 million carats.

On the production side, the company mined 9.7 million carats of rough in the second quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year increase.

Alrosa attributed the increase to the launch of production at the V. Munskoye deposit, an increase in higher-grade ore processing at the Botuobinskaya pipe and a higher average diamond grade at Severalmaz.

Year-to-date, diamond production is up 10 percent.

The company upped its production guidance slightly, from 38 to 38.5 million carats, due to efficiency gains.

Diamond inventories rose to 15.9 million carats as of the end of Q2, a 36 percent year-over-year increase attributable to lower sales and higher output.

Alrosa’s average realized price for gem-quality diamonds was $130/carat in the second quarter, up 5 percent from $123/carat in the first quarter but down 21 percent from $164/carat a year ago.

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