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Record sight for diamonds

The De Beers-controlled Central Selling Organisation has experienced a record sight of precious diamonds at centres in Europe and the Far East.

The latest sight was valued at US$715 million due to a number of factors that have allowed De Beers to sell substantially more diamonds than last year.

Restocking by Far Eastern jewellers, continued strong demand in the United States and a part-economic recovery have all contributed to the improved sight.

The increase has also been attributed in part to more positive business sentiment in some sectors in the Far East, including Japan, millennium fever and De Beers’ desire to spread its stock load among dealers and manufacturers.

According to South African stockbroker BoE Securities Monitoring, the previous sight has led to an upgrade of the sixth sight from US$570 million to US$610 million. The broker reported that the sight was well received in all centres.

The sight to Bombay was again increased in the better quality articles and decreased in the medium and cheap ranges.

“De Beers appears to have sold a large quantity of melées in the 0.25 carat to 0.75 carat range with the result that prices of these goods are coming under some pressure,” BoE Securities analyst Hilton Ashton said.

“In Antwerp the mood is positive with firm polished prices. As a result, diamantaires are making good profits although premiums on the boxes may have eased due to more goods being allocated at the sight.

“The large sight is also expected to lead to an easing of prices in the larger categories.

“Israelis are enjoying increased demand for their polished goods from the Far East, particularly Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.

“We have increased our forecast for the year to US$5 billion with the next three sights expected at US$550 million, US$390 million and US$290 million.”

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