Sales volume jumped 74% to 14.1 million carats, reflecting improved rough demand, the company said Monday. The number of sights — contract sales events — also impacted the result, as there were three this quarter compared with two during the same period last year, De Beers explained.
The increase in demand was especially notable for lower-value products that had built up in the company’s inventory following a drop in demand at the end of last year. Sightholders returned to buying these smaller diamonds in January after holding back their purchases due to the impact of India’s demonetization policy on liquidity in the manufacturing sector.
De Beers reported strong sales in January and slightly lower but steady sales in February and March. Its sales value increased by 2% year on year to $1.86 billion during the first three sights, according to Rapaport calculations. Those sights followed a steady decline in rough prices during 2016, when De Beers’ price index decreased 13%.
The company’s production increased 8% to 7.4 million carats during the quarter, amid improved trading conditions and the addition of diamonds from the new Gahcho Kué mine in Canada, which reached commercial production on March 2.
The miner maintained its full-year production guidance of 31 million to 33 million carats.