De Beers Prices Up 14% Since Start of Year

 Rough diamonds De Beers

De Beers’ rough prices spiked in the first half of 2021 as supply shortages coincided with buoyant diamond demand at the trade and retail levels.

The miner’s price index rose 14% during the six months, reflecting “tightness in inventories across the diamond value chain, as well as positive consumer demand for polished diamonds,” parent company Anglo American said Tuesday.

De Beers implemented price increases at its January, February and June sights, with an emphasis on the larger categories of rough. This brought prices back to pre-pandemic levels: The index for the first half was flat versus the same period of 2020, the company reported.

Sales volume at De Beers rose to 7.3 million carats in the second quarter from just 300,000 carats a year earlier during the peak of the coronavirus crisis. The average sales price advanced 13% to $135 per carat as demand shifted to higher-value rough.

“Consumer demand for polished diamonds continued to recover, leading to strong demand for rough diamonds from midstream cutting and polishing centers, despite the impact on capacity from the severe Covid-19 wave in India during April and May,” the miner said.

Meanwhile, production more than doubled to 8.2 million carats for the quarter versus 3.5 million carats last year, reflecting planned increases to meet the stronger rough demand, as well as the sharp impact of lockdowns in southern Africa in 2020.

With half of 2021 now over, De Beers was able to give a more specific production outlook for the full year, predicting output of 32 million to 33 million carats — compared with a previous plan of 32 million to 34 million carats. The company has already reduced its guidance for the year twice because of operational issues at mines.

“Most of the impact on production for the year as a whole is a result of the challenges we experienced earlier in the year, particularly with excessive rainfall in southern Africa, the Covid-19-related shutdown in Canada, and power supply disruptions in Botswana,” a De Beers spokesperson commented. “We still expect production in the second half of the year to be significantly above the 15.4 million carats produced in the first half of the year, however, and this will take us to the narrower guided range.”

In the second quarter, output in Botswana more than tripled to 5.7 million carats from 1.8 million carats a year before. Production in Namibia slipped 6% to 338,000 carats, as one of the company’s mining vessels underwent planned maintenance and another remained demobilized.

Output in South Africa more than doubled to 1.3 million carats from 555,000 because the company processed higher-grade ore at the Venetia mine. Canada’s production climbed 14% to 899,000 carats, mainly reflecting the comparison with last year’s slowdown.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Raises Prices of Larger Diamonds

Rough diamonds at De Beers

De Beers increased prices of goods above 2 carats at this week’s sight as shortages of rough coincided with strong polished demand.

Prices rose around 5%, and more in some categories, market insiders told Rapaport News on Monday. Near-gem items also saw significant increases, while prices for other stones under 2 carats were either stable or slightly up.

“They seem to have picked areas where they’ve seen room [for price growth], and they’ve just hiked the prices up,” a source in the rough sector said on condition of anonymity. “For the time being, the market is absorbing it.”

Rough trading has been strong in recent weeks because of reduced supply from the large miners and solid polished sales. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds has risen 2.5% since May 1.

Rough above 1 carat has been especially sought-after, with premiums on the secondary market rising while manufacturers look to fill inventory gaps. A backlog of grading submissions at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has exacerbated the situation.

The June sight value will be similar to last month’s $380 million as customers snap up the limited goods available at the sale, sources said. Proceeds were higher earlier in the year — peaking at $663 million in January — when manufacturers restocked after the holidays and De Beers had larger volumes available to sell.

“There’s a shortfall in goods,” an executive at an Indian sightholder said Monday. “They’re not able to serve everyone what they’re entitled to.”

Rough demand slumped during the 2020 coronavirus crisis as the global supply chain froze. De Beers chose to maintain prices until August, when it offered deep discounts to encourage sightholders to resume buying. It has since reversed those cuts, gradually bringing prices to above pre-pandemic levels in many categories.

The sight began on Monday and runs until Friday. De Beers was not available for comment at press time.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Sight Sees Strong Demand, Low Supply

De Beers Sight Sees Strong Demand
De Beers Sight Rough Diamonds

Rough-diamond demand was robust at this week’s De Beers sight despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in India, customers reported.

Manufacturers snapped up the limited supply in anticipation of rough shortages, sources told Rapaport News. Sales will still be 10% to 25% lower than the previous cycle in March because of reduced availability, they estimated. That translates to a sight value of $330 million to $400 million.

“People are buying from the miners and the big sources, thinking that there will probably be tenders that will be canceled,” a sightholder said. “There is the perceived idea that there’s going to be a shortage in certain goods. People are as eager to buy rough as they were four weeks ago.”

De Beers is not offering any ex-plan goods — those over and above customers’ prearranged allocations — the sources added. The miner has fewer diamonds available for clients after reducing its inventories during a strong first quarter for the rough trade, when it sold 13.5 million carats against production of 7.2 million carats. It has suffered operational difficulties at some of its Botswana deposits, exacerbated by a temporary shutdown at its Gahcho Kué mine in Canada.

“If De Beers offered 20% more [goods at the sight], I think the market would eat it up,” a rough-sector insider commented.

Less manufacturing

While India’s diamond and jewelry sector has received permission to operate during the country’s several coronavirus wave, manufacturing levels have slumped by between 10% and 50% in the past month. This has resulted from capacity restrictions and absenteeism, with smaller sizes seeing a sharper downturn.

Companies that manufacture larger goods operate in factories with more space for social distancing and are able to retain workers by offering higher pay, a sightholder explained. Many employees who produce smaller stones have left Surat and returned to their hometowns for health reasons.

“My production is down by a little less than 10%, but for people who are in smalls, their production has been severely hit, and is probably down by more than 30%,” said an executive at a large-stone manufacturer.

In line with this, the market for large rough has survived better than the small-stone segment, sources explained.

“Anything in [0.75 carats] or up, it’s in big demand,” a customer noted. “You can sell whatever you want.”

Meanwhile, polished demand has strengthened as companies anticipate lower availability alongside steady retail sales. A backlog at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has also affected the supply situation, with the turnaround time standing at around a month for the Mumbai laboratory and a little more in Surat.

“Due to the supply scarcity, people are stocking [up on] some of the goods, so demand is high, and will remain strong for a month or so,” another manufacturer said.

India’s virus outbreak has seen activity shift to other global centers. Many large manufacturers relocated their buying teams to Dubai before travel restrictions went into effect, enabling them to continue obtaining rough for their factories, reported Trans Atlantic Gem Sales (TAGS), a tender house located in the emirate.

New contract

De Beers’ weeklong May sight, its fourth of the year, began on Monday, featuring viewings in Dubai, Antwerp and Tel Aviv. The session is also the first under a new supply contract that came into effect on April 1.

The agreement sees the miner offer proportionately more goods to manufacturers rather than dealers in an effort to limit the reselling of boxes. Sightholders expected sluggish rough trading on the secondary market this month as a result.

Certain assortments have also changed, with 8-grainer (2-carat) rough now forming part of a category of larger stones ranging from 2 carats upward, sightholders noted. The size was previously in a 4- to 8-grainer (1- to 2-carat) box, which will now become 4- to 6-grainers (1 to 1.50 carats).

“This was focused both on responding to sightholders’ commercial needs and ensuring we have the most coherent offering for beneficiation customers,” a De Beers spokesperson said.

Customers forecast stable pricing at the sight following successive increases from December to February.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Posts First Loss Since 2009

rough diamond at De Beers

De Beers recorded its first annual loss since the aftermath of the global financial crisis as rough sales and prices slumped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The miner’s underlying loss came to $102 million in 2020, compared with a profit of $45 million in 2019, parent company Anglo American reported Thursday. De Beers had not been in the red since 2009, according to Rapaport records.

“The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and measures taken by governments in response, had a profound impact on global diamond supply and demand,” the group explained. “Much of the industry was temporarily unable to operate, with up to 90% of jewelry stores closed at the peak of lockdowns, first in China, then in Europe and the US.”

Revenue slid 27% to $3.38 billion last year as the coronavirus closed stores, froze the Indian manufacturing sector, and prompted De Beers to offer sightholders unprecedented purchase flexibility. Rough sales volume fell 27% to 21.4 million carats.

The company’s rough price index, which tracks prices on a like-for-like basis, dropped 10%, reflecting reductions De Beers made from the August sight onward. The average realized price slipped 3% to $133 per carat as the miner sold a larger proportion of higher-value rough than in 2019, with both midstream and inventory mix influencing this trend.

Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 25% to $417 million as a result. A depreciation and amortization charge of $417 million, as well as finance costs, pushed the company out of the black.

However, an easing of restrictions and better trading conditions led to a partial recovery in the second half, with China showing an especially strong rebound and US demand “encouraging,” De Beers added.

“Recent consumer demand trends have been positive in key markets, and industry inventories are in a healthier position, providing the potential for a continued recovery in rough-diamond demand during 2021,” the company noted. Covid-19 could still affect this optimism, it cautioned.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Taps Into Unexpected Natural Wonders For New Collection

Reflections_of_Nature_by_De_Beers_Motlatse_Marvel_necklace


In celebration of the natural beauty of the countries from which its diamonds are produced, De Beers Jewellers has introduced Reflections of Nature, the venerable house’s latest collection in the stratospheric world of high jewelry.

The dazzling collection features five sets Okavango Grace, Motlatse Marvel, Namib Wonder, Landers Radiance and Ellesmere Treasure with a total of 39 exclusive pieces.

The latter is probably the most unexpected as few laymen would recognize Canada as a source for diamonds. Yet, Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic is the third largest producer of diamonds in the world.

The pieces in this DeBeers set were designed to reflect the island’s glacial beauty and are evocative of the ice and frosted flora of Ellesmere Island, where diamonds were first discovered in 1991. While colored stones are employed throughout the other Reflections of Nature sets, the Ellesmere Treasures are indeed treasures with their all white diamonds.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is inspiration for De Beers’ Okavango Grace set. Recalling the lush wetlands and the fluidity of the delta’s reeds, the set features a color scheme of rough pink, green, brownish pink, purple and grey diamonds suspended in organic strands that move freely with the wearer.

Design of the Namib Wonder set is based on the beauty of the world’s oldest and largest sand dunes found in Namibia’s  Namib Desert. Brilliant white and yellow diamonds set the stage for white rough diamonds, which are cap-set allowing them to move more freely and catch the light from every angle.

debeers
The sunburst motif of the Motlatse Marvel earrings is inspired by the brilliant sunrises and sunsets over South Africa’s Motlatse Canyon. (Photo courtesy of De Beers Jewellers)

The spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the peaks and caverns of Motlatse Canyon in South Africa provide the creative cue for the colorful Motlatse Marvel set. Pink, yellow and white diamonds conjure bejeweled sunbursts.

The teaming underwater universe of South Africa’s Landers Reef is suggested in the Landers Radiance multi-colored, multi-cut theme. “A rainbow of white and fancy color diamonds evokes the vibrant colors of corals and fish, shimmering in sunlit waters” is how De Beers’ promotional materials describe this set.

With introduction of the collection, De Beers Jewellers is reaffirming its commitment to environmental conservation through its widespread Building Forever sustainability initiative and the houses’s commitment to its code of best practices principles. That includes conservation of  “The Diamond Route,” some 50,000 acres throughout Southern Africa.

Source: papercitymag

De Beers Sales Hit Three-Year High

De Beers rough diamonds

De Beers’ rough-diamond sales soared to $650 million in January, its highest for any month since 2018, as manufacturers replenished inventory following the holiday season.

The total was 18% more than the $551 million the miner garnered a year earlier, and 44% above the $452 million it reported in December, De Beers said Wednesday. This was despite the company implementing a sharp increase in rough prices.

“With the midstream starting the year with low levels of rough and polished inventories, and following strong sales of diamond jewelry over the key holiday season in the US, we saw good demand for rough diamonds at the first cycle of the year as midstream customers sought to restock and to fill orders from retail businesses,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “Sales of rough diamonds are also being supported by expected demand ahead of Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.”

De Beers held the sight in its usual Botswana location, in addition to viewings in Antwerp and Dubai, as the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented many customers from traveling overseas. Its revenue figure encompasses sales that took place between January 18 and February 2, including the sight and auctions.

The January sight is usually one of the biggest of the year, especially after a positive holiday season. Even so, this year’s opening sale of the year exceeded all monthly sales going back to January 2018, when revenues came to $672 million.

De Beers raised prices by 4% to 5% at the sight in response to the improving balance between supply and demand, as reported last month by Rapaport News. Alrosa lifted its prices by 6% to 7%, with the Russian miner scheduled to publish its January sales value on February 10.

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers says recovery to Extend – Well Beyond 2020

De Beers Diamond Insight Report

The diamond sector’s rebound from the Covid-19 crisis will feature ups and downs that will continue into next year at least, De Beers predicted.

“The demand recovery is not expected to be linear, particularly as localized lockdowns take place,” De Beers explained Monday in its annual Diamond Insight Report. “Retailer expectations for the second half of the year are mixed, with more optimism in the US but muted sentiments in India and the Far East.”

The pandemic severely hit Chinese demand in the first quarter of this year and US sales in the second quarter, with the recovery likely to “extend well beyond 2020,” the company noted. The impact of Covid-19 on the global economy and the second wave of lockdowns in the fourth quarter have further harmed consumer spending, it added.

“The consequences of these events will determine the short to medium-term outlook,” De Beers added. “However, a weakening US dollar could offset some of the softness in demand in local currencies.”

The pandemic dented the positive trends that were visible at the end of 2019, De Beers said. Diamond-jewelry sales to Chinese consumers slid 45% year on year in the first quarter of 2020, and by around a third for the entire first half, the company estimated. The second-quarter recovery was “tentative,” mainly benefiting established brands and online sales, it added.

In the US, sales dropped about 40% in the second quarter of 2020, and by just under 20% for the first half. There was “evidence of rising sales” among independent jewelers and chains, as well as online, in June and the third quarter, the company continued. Demand in India dropped by more than 30% in the first half, reflecting a slump of nearly 50% during the April-May lockdown.

In 2019, global diamond-jewelry demand increased 0.5% to $79 billion — a weaker growth figure than in previous years as the strong dollar dented sales in China. Demand rose 4% in the US and 3% in Japan, offsetting weaker figures in other markets. The US expanded its share of the polished-diamond market to 48%, from 46% in 2018, while China slipped to 15% from 16%.

The Chinese yuan depreciated against the dollar in 2019 amid a trade war between Beijing and Washington, DC. In local-currency terms, demand from Chinese consumers climbed 1%.

Source: Diamonds.net

Covid-19 Ravages De Beers Sales

Canadian rough diamond

De Beers’ sales and production nosedived in the second quarter as the coronavirus crushed diamond demand throughout the pipeline and forced shutdowns at several mines.

“Demand for rough diamonds was significantly impacted by a combination of Covid-19 restrictions [affecting] consumer demand and access to southern Africa, as well as severely limited midstream cutting-and-polishing capacity due to lockdowns, particularly in India,” De Beers said Thursday.

Rough sales slumped 96% year on year to $56 million after the company canceled its March-April sight — the first of the quarter — and allowed clients to defer all May and June purchases to later in the year. Sales volume plunged 97% to 300,000 carats, and prices fell as well, the miner noted.

Most sightholders were unable to attend the usual sales in Botswana due to travel restrictions. The pandemic also affected international shipments.

Meanwhile, the shutdown of India’s manufacturing sector reduced rough demand: Factories in Surat, the country’s cutting hub, closed in March for around two months, and ongoing virus outbreaks have disrupted the reopening process.

De Beers’ rough production fell 54% to 3.5 million carats during the quarter as the miner lowered its output to reflect the weak demand. Measures by southern African governments to contain the coronavirus also limited the company’s ability to operate, with Botswana and South Africa accounting for a large proportion of its mining activities, alongside Canada and Namibia.

Sales volume for the first half of 2020 slid 44% year on year to 9.2 million carats, with the average selling price down 21% at $119 per carat. The company sold a higher proportion of lower-value rough than a year ago, and average rough prices across the period slipped 8% year on year on a like-for-like basis.

Despite these setbacks, De Beers maintained its production forecast of 25 million to 27 million carats for the full year. However, it will review this outlook based on Covid-19 disruptions and “the timing and scale of the recovery in demand,” it said.

Source: Diamonds.net

Don’t Ban Rough Buying, De Beers Urges

Bruce Cleaver

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver has called on the trade to allow rough purchases, assuring manufacturers the company won’t require them to buy in the weak market.

“We will only sell [rough] when the demand is such that it can create sustainable value for all of us,” the executive wrote in a blog post Friday. “However, just as we are not compelling our clients to purchase, we strongly believe it is counterproductive for any part of the industry to compel them not to purchase.”

Cleaver’s plea comes after the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and other Indian trade organizations called on the nation’s diamond sector to pause rough-diamond imports for 30 days, beginning on May 15. The move would improve the Indian industry’s liquidity situation and deplete inflated polished inventories, the trade bodies explained.

Without explicitly referencing the Indian trade groups’ appeal to their members, Cleaver argued that supply had already been significantly reduced after De Beers suspended production at most of its mines. “Almost all other diamond producers have halted or significantly reduced supply, with some mines unlikely to return to production,” he added. De Beers cut its production guidance for 2020 to 25 million to 27 million carats, more than 20% below its initial projection, Cleaver noted.

The company also canceled its March sight and is offering 100% deferrals at sight 4, which begins Monday. Sightholders are likely to defer the vast majority of purchases to later in the year, as weak consumer demand and the shutdown of India’s cutting industry have diminished appetite for rough.

On Friday, India extended its nationwide lockdown by two weeks, raising the question of when diamond manufacturing would revert to normal, especially in the city of Surat, which produces more than 90% of the world’s polished goods.

Marketing message

Meanwhile, Cleaver urged the industry to capitalize on the diamond’s symbolism, as consumers will seek to purchase “fewer, but more meaningful things” as they move out of lockdown. Signs of pent-up demand from delayed weddings, and self-purchases to reward hardships that have been overcome, are starting to show in China as the lockdown there has eased, the CEO commented. People are visiting stores and shopping malls again, he said.

In its communication with consumers over the coming months, De Beers will emphasize the role diamonds play in shaping a better world and in forging meaningful connections, he stressed.

“Just as they have had to find innovative ways to stay connected with loved ones, we will find new ways to connect with them,” he said.

“Throughout time, the diamond has served as a powerful symbol of connection and meaning,” he wrote. “It has always been attached to life’s most precious moments and relationships and represented a store of value, but increasingly we believe a diamond is becoming a store of values.”

Source: Diamonds.net

De Beers Makes Dramatic Cut to Production Plan

De Beers Production

De Beers has reduced its full-year production guidance by 7 million carats, putting the miner on course for its lowest output since 2009. 

The miner expects to produce between 25 million and 27 million carats in 2020, compared to the 32 million to 34 million in its original projection, it said Thursday. The revised forecast for 2020 was due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining activity and consumer traffic in key markets, the miner noted.

Rough-diamond production for the first quarter of 2020 slipped 1% to 7.8 million carats, roughly in line with the previous year. However, the coronavirus shutdown measures were not implemented at the miner’s sites until the end of the period, and had a limited impact on output, De Beers said.

Sales volume rose 19% to 8.9 million carats for the three months ending March 31. The increase was due to a favorable comparison with the same period the previous year, when demand was weak due to an oversupply of polished stones in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the decline in demand caused by the pandemic — during which De Beers allowed customers to defer some of their allocations to the second quarter — was offset by higher appetite for lower-value goods, the company noted.

Production in Botswana declined 5% to 5.6 million carats, with diamond recovery at De Beers’ Orapa mine falling 7% as result of challenges in commissioning new plant infrastructure. Output at Jwaneng slipped 4% due to a planned shift to lower-grade ore.

Production in Namibia grew 6% to 511,000 carats, and in South Africa jumped 97% to 751,000 carats, as the final ore from the company’s open-pit operations at Venetia was mined prior to the transition to underground.

Output in Canada slid 19% to 844,000 carats, primarily due to the closure of the Victor mine, which reached its end of life in the second quarter of 2019. Output from Gahcho Kué, which the company owns in partnership with Mountain Province, rose 4% to 844,000 carats.

The first quarter featured two sales cycles, with proceeds falling 9% to $906 million. Demand reached a near-yearlong high in January, but fell again in February as the coronavirus began to spread. The company was forced to cancel its third site, which was due to begin at the end of March.

In 2009, the company slashed production by 49% to 24.6 million carats for the year when the global economic slowdown hit diamond demand. 

Source: Diamonds.net