By Michelle Graff
An Alrosa employee sorting diamonds at the company’s headquarters in Mirny (Sakha Republic). The company’s rough and polished sales totaled $40 million in May, as the diamond market worldwide remains sluggish due to COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Alrosa)
Moscow—Alrosa’s diamond sales were “expectedly low” in May as it continued to allow long-term clients to postpone purchases until later in the year.

Rough diamond sales in the month totaled $36.2 million while polished diamond sales were $3.9 million, for a total of $40.1 million.

That’s an 85 percent drop from $266 million in May of last year, with total sales pacing 40 percent behind last year.

While year-over-year sales are down as market activity remains subdued due to COVID-19, May’s $40 million total was more than double the $15.6 million sold in April ($13.1 million in rough diamonds and $2.4 million in polished goods), a month the company described as its low turning point for the year.

As previously noted, Alrosa expects the diamond business to pick up again around July or August.

“Alrosa remains committed to its price over volume strategy, allowing the cutters, who are just resuming their work, to reduce the accumulated rough and polished diamond stock,” the company said.

“We believe that our approach to avoid putting pressure on the market will accelerate recovery of the market of supply and demand balance. According to our estimates, buying activity at the midstream will resume in the middle of the third quarter.”

De Beers also is allowing clients to push purchases and has abandoned monthly reporting for the time being, noting with the flexibility its giving customers it’s “not really possible to provide meaningful sales information at a particular point in time.”

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