By Michelle Graff
The world’s two largest diamond mining companies, De Beers and Alrosa, are set to finish 2019 with year-over-year sales declines of 26 and 29 percent, respectively. (Image courtesy of Alrosa)
New York—Alrosa Group’s sales improved in the month of November but the Moscow-based miner will still finish the year well behind 2018 in what has been described as a tough year for diamonds.

The company’s sales totaled $287.8 million in November, a 5 percent year-over-year increase.

Rough diamond sales were $282.1 million, while sales of polished gems totaled $5.8 million.

“November sales growth is evidence that the midstream sector, specifically in India, is on track to restore its balance,” Deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev said.

“Somewhat more active purchasing activity at end consumers in key regions also provide support to our sales volumes.”

However, like rival De Beers, Alrosa is on track to finish the year with a double-digit decline in year-over-year diamond sales.

Year-to-date, the Moscow-based miner’s sales have totaled $2.97 billion, down 29 percent from $4.2 billion in the same period last year.

De Beers will finish the year with a similar decline.

As parent company Anglo American Plc noted in an update earlier this month, the diamond miner’s sales (detailed in the chart below) are down 26 percent on the year, from $5.4 billion in 2018 to approximately $4.04 billion this year.

De Beers' Annual Sales
               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
Seventh $503 million $287 million
Eighth $482 million  $297 million
Ninth $442 million $400 million
Tenth $544 million $425 million (provisional)  

In its final round of sales for the year, De Beers Group sold $425 million in rough diamonds to sightholders and auction clients.

That is down 22 percent from $544 million in the same period last year, but is the highest sight and auction total since April.

CEO Bruce Cleaver said polished diamond prices stabilized in the lead-up to the final sales cycle, which created “steady” demand for rough diamonds.

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