By Michelle Graff
Gaborone, Botswana—De Beers Group recorded another precipitous drop in rough diamond sales as suppliers and manufacturers put off rough purchases.

The diamond miner and marketer said Tuesday that sales to sightholders and auction customers totaled $250 million in its most recent sales cycle, its sixth of the year. That’s less than half what it sold in the same period last year, $533 million.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said it allowed customers to defer some of their rough diamond allocations until later in the year due to the glut of supply in the midstream, the fact that retailers are keeping inventory levels low and the general “macroeconomic uncertainty.” And they clearly took advantage.

The 53 percent drop follows the 33 percent decline recorded in the last sales cycle.

De Beers’ rough diamond sales are down 23 percent in the year-to-date, from $3.43 billion to $2.63 billion.

Here is a chart outlining the company’s 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 $416 million
Fifth $581 million $391 million
Sixth $533 million $250 million (provisional)    
Seventh $503 million
Eighth $482 million
Ninth $442 million
Tenth $544 million

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