India’s Cash Crunch Has Not Affected Alrosa Sales

Moscow: ALROSA’s diamond sales jumped 63 percent from a year ago, to $255.2 million in November, a signal that the liquidity crisis in India has failed to derail a recovery in the rough market this year.

Rough sales stood at $245.6 million and revenue from polished came in at $9.6 million, the Russia-based miner reported.

ALROSA’s results are in line with a significant increase in demand for rough after last year’s slump, which was driven by a build-up of inventory in the midstream and sent manufacturers’ profit margins plunging.

Rough sales climbed 20 percent across the market in the first half as the midstream restocked following steady holiday sales, according to a report by Bain & Company released this week. The recovery continued in the rest of the year to date, with ALROSA reporting diamond sales rocketing 83 percent in the third quarter.

The notable improvement in rough sales comes as the Indian government’s decision to invalidate INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes last month led to a shortage of cash in circulation, slashing demand from the nation almost overnight.

“Market activity at year-end was affected by India’s currency reform,” said Yury Okoemov, ALROSA’s vice president. “One of its effects was a temporary decline in the activity of India’s small and middle-size diamond cutting companies, which also affected the low-end, small-size rough diamond segment.”

Activity in other parts of the rough market remains strong, Okoemov added.