De Beers’ total revenue for the full year 2022 increased 18% to $6.6 billion compared with $5.6 billion in 2021. Rough diamond sales in value terms grew 22% to $6.0 billion versus $4.9 billion in 2021, reflecting strong demand for rough diamonds, particularly in the first half of the year, with the midstream replenishing stocks following strong consumer demand over the 2021 holiday season, the miner said.
However, in volume terms rough diamond sales dropped 9% to 30.4 million carats from 33.4 million carats in 2021. De Beers said the average realised price rose by 35% to $197/ct versus $146/ct in 2021, driven by growth in the rough price index, as well as selling a larger proportion of higher value rough diamonds in the first half of the year. The average rough price index increased by 23%, reflecting overall positive consumer demand for diamond jewellery, particularly in the first half of the year.
Underlying EBITDA increased by 29% to $1.417 billion, reflecting overall positive consumer demand for diamond jewellery. Unit costs were broadly flat at $59/ct (2021: $58/ct), as rising inflation and higher input costs were offset by the benefits of higher production and favourable exchange rates.
Rough diamond production increased by 7% to 34.6 million carats, reflecting strong operational performance and higher planned levels of production to meet continued strong demand for rough diamonds, particularly in the first half of the year.
Despite the near-term economic uncertainty, De Beers Jewellers continued to focus on developing its geographic footprint in China, with underlying demand for branded diamond jewellery expected to remain strong following the removal of Covid-19 related restrictions.
Anglo American reported, “Early indications are that the 2022 holiday season was robust, with diamond jewellery sales remaining above pre-Covid-19 levels, though below the record level seen in 2021. However, continued softening in global macro-economic conditions could see a contraction in consumer spending and demand for diamond jewellery, which may result in lower demand for rough diamonds in the near term. This may be partly mitigated by an increase in demand for diamond jewellery in China, following the removal of Covid-19 restrictions in late 2022.
“The first half of 2022 saw largely positive trading conditions throughout the diamond pipeline; the year started with retailers restocking following strong consumer demand for diamond jewellery sales over the 2021 holiday season. While the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of related formal sanctions, as well as self-sanctioning, on Russian diamonds created uncertainty in the sector, healthy consumer demand, particularly in the US, led to polished price growth and robust demand for rough diamonds in the first half of the year. De Beers’ focus on enhanced provenance assurance for its rough diamonds helped underpin solid demand.
By June, the global economic picture was more uncertain, owing to interest rate increases by advanced economies’ central banks to combat accelerating inflation. With a weaker economic outlook, consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the US softened in the second half of 2022, though it remained above pre-Covid-19 levels. Amid this economic uncertainty, retailers restocked more cautiously, causing midstream polished diamond inventories to build up through the second half of the year, putting downward pressure on polished prices and softening demand for rough diamonds. In China, the heightened Covid-19 restrictions from the second quarter onwards impacted diamond jewellery retail sales, resulting in negative demand growth for the year.
De Beers is continuing to invest in its ability to provide source assurance for its diamonds at scale, underpinned by the Tracr™ blockchain platform. It believes that the increased focus on diamond provenance by a number of US-based jewellery businesses and global brands has the potential to underpin continued demand for De Beers’ rough diamonds in the medium and longer term.