De Beers halts online auction sales

Baitshepi Sekgweng

De beers has announced the recent sales of rough diamonds from sightholders and auctions sales for Cycle 8 of 2023, with figures showing a massive decline.

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The miner’s year-on-year rough sales went down for the eighth consecutive cycle, hitting their lowest point of the year.

The most recent sight, which ran from 18 September to 3 October, totaled US$200 million. This is 61 percent less than for the same period last year, and 46 percent down from August’s numbers, when sales amounted to US$370 million.

As a result, De beers has cancelled the remaining two online rough auctions scheduled for the year in an effort to stabilize the slow market.

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Confirming this, the company’s CEO, Al Cook said, “De beers will continue to support its sightholders to help re-establish equilibrium between wholesale supply and demand. The company will provide full flexibility for rough-diamond allocations at the year’s final two sights, as well as suspending De beers online rough-diamond auctions for the remainder of 2023.”

The mining giant’s also announced an additional US$20 million investment in natural-diamond marketing to help drive consumer demand during the holiday season.

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Diamond trading has slowed this year amid economic caution across the world with cutting firms in India reducing polished production in an effort to limit their inventories.

While sales figures were erratic during the first three cycles, they have been on a downward spiral since cycle four.

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With Cycle 1 recording $454 million in sales, Cycle 2 and 3 went on to rake in $497 million and $542 million respectively.

However, during Cycle 4 the figures went down to $479 million before further falling to $456 million in cycle 5. Cycle 6 and 7 saw a further decline to $411 million and $370 million respectively before Cycle 8’s new low.

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De beers holds ten rough diamond sights per year in Gaborone, with its remaining sights scheduled for 23rd-27th October and the 4th -8th of December.

Back in May, De beers was forced to combine its May and July auctions as weak consumer spending in the US and China dampened manufacturers’ demand for rough diamonds.

As a result, its not only De beers feeling the pinch, with government owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) feeling the heat too.

ODC which has access to 25 percent of goods from the country’s Debswana, saw 62 out of 148 lots go unsold at its May spot auction. This trend continued in September’s spot auction, with 66 out of 115 lots failing to find a buyer.

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