Diamonds set record

THE sale of diamonds last year by the De Beers controlled Central Selling Organisation achieved an all-time record, according to South African stockbroker BOE Securities.

The value of diamonds sold by the CSO was US$5.24 billion and De Beers expects the sales momentum to be maintained into 2000.

This expectation is based on an anticipated greater market share backed by a highly focused marketing and advertising campaign. The De Beers branding campaign is a specific area that will receive greater emphasis in the coming year.

BOE analyst Hilton Ashton said, although the CSO sales for 1999 were an all-time record, margins were weak and earnings were therefore not expected to reflect as great an increase.

“Although there have been problems with the SA Government Diamond Valuator, the series 98 exports were cleared within two weeks and the 99 series was cleared and exported before Christmas,” he said.

“In contrast, the 97 series took between six to eight weeks to clear.”

Of note is that cutting centre stocks recently touched US$6 billion.

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