De Beers latest sale shows diamond demand remains strong

De Beers rough diamonds

De Beers, the world’s top diamond producer by value, saw sales jump by 18% in the second cycle of 2022 compared to the same period last year, attesting to the industry’s consolidated recovery from the first pandemic-induced shutdowns.

The Anglo American unit sold $650 million of diamonds between February 21 to February 25, down $10 million from the first cycle of the year, but higher than the $550 million it sold in the second cycle of 2021.

De Beers sells its gems through 10 sales each year in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, and the handpicked buyers known as sightholders generally must accept the price and the quantities offered.

Customers are given a black and yellow box containing plastic bags filled with stones, with the number of boxes and quality of diamonds depending on what the buyer and De Beers agreed to in an annual allocation.

The company said that owing to the restrictions on the movement of people and products in various jurisdictions around the globe, it has continued to implement a “more flexible approach” to selling roughs, which included extending the latest sight event beyond its normal week-long duration.

The miner, which has benefitted from a steady recovery in the diamond market, is said to have hiked prices by about 8% in January. It had already increased the price of its rough diamonds throughout much of 2021 as it sought to recover from the first year of the pandemic when the industry came to a near halt. Most of these hikes, however, were applied to stones bigger than 1 carat.

The strategy granted De Beers a steady recovery during 2021. Its diamond prices rose by 23% in “just over a year,” said Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American in a December presentation.

Russia-Ukraine effect
De Beers may benefit from the sanctions imposed to Russian companies as Moscow-based Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond miner by output, is its main competitor.

Alrosa and its chief executive Sergei S. Ivanov were included in the first wave of restrictions announced by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which targeted mainly banks and energy firms.

Data from the US Treasury shows Alrosa is responsible for 90% of Russia’s diamond production and 28% of global supply.

De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver said the company has been “shocked” and “saddened” by the war in Ukraine, so it will donate $1 million to aid organizations operating in the region and providing support to those affected by the ongoing conflict.

Experts believe that The Kremlin will soon be unable to pay its debts amid increasing international sanctions against Russia.

Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings has downgraded its view of the country’s government debt, warning a default is “imminent” for the second time this month.

“The further ratcheting up of sanctions, and proposals that could limit trade in energy, increase the probability of a policy response by Russia that includes at least selective non-payment of its sovereign debt obligations,” the agency said.

Moscow has told investors that it will continue to service its sovereign debt but warned that international sanctions imposed on its energy industry could limit its ability and willingness to meet its obligations.

Source: mining.com

Botswana’s Debswana diamond sales jump 73% in first nine months of 2021

Sales of rough diamonds by Debswana Diamond Company jumped 73% in the first nine months of 2021, statistics released by the Bank of Botswana showed on Tuesday, driven by the reopening of U.S. and China’s consumer markets.

Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American business De Beers and the Botswana government, sells 75% of its output to De Beers, with the balance taken up by state-owned Okavango Diamond Company.

Debswana sales fell by 30% in 2020 as the covid-19 pandemic hit demand while global travel restrictions hurt trading.

Botswana closed its borders for eight months last year in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, effectively locking out foreign buyers from centres such as Mumbai, Antwerp and China, who traditionally travel to Gaborone 10 times a year to view and buy diamonds from De Beers.

Since mid-2020 De Beers has shifted some of its rough viewings to places closer to international diamond centres, such as Antwerp, to cater for customers unable to travel to Gaborone.

According to data published by the central bank, exports of diamonds from Debswana stood at $2.589 billion in the first nine months of the year compared with $1.498 billion in the same period last year.

Botswana makes about 30% of its revenue and 70% of its foreign exchange earnings from diamonds. While it has taken measures to diversify its dependence on a single commodity, diamond sales continue to be its main revenue earner.

De Beers’ sales softened by 4% in the current sales period, which ended last week, as Indian manufacturers closed factories ahead of the Diwali festival, though the company said diamond jewellery demand remained strong in the United States.

Source: mining.com

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

World’s third largest diamond discovered in Botswana

1,098 carat rough diamond

The diamond firm Debswana has announced the discovery in Botswana of a 1,098-carat stone that it described as the third largest of its kind in the world.

The company’s acting managing director, Lynette Armstrong, presented the stone, which was found on 1 June, to the country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, on Wednesday.

It is the third largest in the world, behind the 3,106-carat Cullinan found in South Africa in 1905 and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona discovered in Botswana in 2015.

“This is the largest diamond to be recovered by Debswana in its history of over 50 years in operation,” Armstrong said.

“From our preliminary analysis it could be the world’s third largest gem-quality stone. We are yet to make a decision on whether to sell it through the De Beers channel or through the state owned Okavango Diamond Company.”

The “rare and extraordinary stone … means so much in the context of diamonds and Botswana,” she said. “It brings hope to a nation that is struggling.”

The minerals minister, Lefoko Moagi, said the discovery of the stone, which is yet to be named but measures 73 by 52 by 27mm, could not have come at a better time after the Covid-19 pandemic hit diamond sales in 2020.

Debswana is a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and the Botswanan government, which receives as much as 80% of the income from sales through dividends, royalties and taxes.

Production at Debswana fell by 29% in 2020 to 16.6m carats and sales fell by 30% to $2.1bn as the pandemic affected production and demand.

Debswana plans to increase output by as much as 38% to pre-pandemic levels of 23m carats in 2021 as the global diamond market recovers with the easing of travel restrictions and reopening of jewellers.

Source: theguardian

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 and Alrosa Raise Rough Prices

Rough diamond. (De Beers)

The two largest diamond miners increased prices at this week’s rough sales as demand improved due to post-holiday restocking and strong trading ahead of the Chinese New Year.

De Beers raised prices by an average of 4% to 5% at its first sight of 2021, while Alrosa’s increases were around 6% to 7%, industry insiders told Rapaport News Monday. Both companies implemented steeper hikes in larger categories than for smaller goods, sources said.

“Alrosa makes sure that prices reflect the actual market trends and a confirmed real demand,” a spokesperson for the Russian miner said. De Beers declined to comment.

The miners have steadily been reversing the prices cuts they made in the second half of last year. De Beers’ price rise was its second in a row, with January prices almost back to pre-pandemic levels, sightholders noted.

The rough market showed momentum in January following a better 2020 holiday season than many had feared earlier in the year. Cutting factories in India raised polished production to full capacity as shortages emerged and retailers restocked, prompting manufacturers to buy rough in large quantities.

Demand rose on the secondary market, with De Beers clients able to make profits of 5% to 7% by reselling goods ahead of the sight. Those premiums declined slightly following the price increase.

“[Polished] inventory levels are the lowest for at least the past seven or eight years,” an executive at a sightholder said. “That’s the reason people are going to be more aggressive in their purchasing,” he continued, adding that some traders foresaw a spike in consumer demand due to government stimulus packages.

Prices at smaller miners’ tenders were higher still — in contrast to mid-2020, when manufacturers could get goods up to 25% cheaper on the open market compared with De Beers and Alrosa boxes. Tender prices fluctuate with the market conditions more than contract-sale prices do, as the smaller rough producers have greater liquidity needs.

Some traders expressed concern that the surge in rough purchases could lead to an oversupply, as Chinese retailers have almost finished preparing their inventories for the upcoming lunar festival on February 12.

“It’s time to go back to business, but it’s no time to push your production to the max and buy rough at any price with the excuse that your factory needs it,” another sightholder argued. “The end of year has been OK, including in the States. There are great expectations for a fantastic Chinese New Year, but the reality is that any Chinese retailer has stopped buying as from this week.”

Amid the uncertainty, Alrosa kept its policy of allowing customers to defer 100% of their allocations in January, noting that it wished to uphold the balance between supply and demand.

De Beers also allowed sightholders to refuse a proportion of their allocations for goods up to around 0.75 carats, while maintaining its standard flexibility — including 10% buybacks — in larger categories.

De Beers’ sight began on Monday in Botswana and runs until Friday, with viewings also taking place in Antwerp and Dubai. Alrosa’s sale started last Friday and continues for a week.

Source: Diamonds.net