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De Beers Rough Prices Slip 6% in 2023


De Beers’ prices fell last year as a prolonged oversupply in the midstream and economic challenges weighed on demand.

The company’s rough-price index, which reflects like-for-like values, dropped 6% for the 12-month period, parent company Anglo American reported Thursday.

Sales volume slipped 19% to 27.4 million carats, with the average selling price sliding 25% to $147 per carat. While the company has not published its full-year revenue, rough sales decreased 36% to $3.63 billion, according to data from De Beers’ 10 sight reports for 2023.

Output for the year was down 8% to 31.9 million carats as the company transitioned its Venetia deposit in South Africa to underground mining and processed lower-grade ore from its Canadian and Namibian sites, outweighing an increase in Botswana.

In the fourth quarter, sales volume plunged 63% year on year to 2.7 million carats, while production declined 3% to 7.9 million carats.

“De Beers offered full flexibility for rough-diamond allocations…as sightholders continued to take a cautious approach to their purchasing during the quarter as a result of the prevailing market conditions and extended cutting and polishing factory closures in India,” the company noted. “De Beers was loss-making in the second half of 2023 owing to the subdued sight sale results, reflecting conditions of cyclical lows driven by the prevailing macroeconomic environment. Whilst there has been some improvement coming into 2024, the prospects for economic growth remain uncertain and it may take some time for rough-diamond demand to fully recover.”

The miner expects to produce between 29 million and 32 million carats in 2024. However, it has cautioned that it “will assess options to reduce production in response to prevailing market conditions.”

Image: A haul truck at De Beers’ Venetia mine in South Africa. (Ben Perry/Armoury Films/De Beers)

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