De Beers' rough diamond sales fell by a third in February due to the outbreak of coronovirus. The sales declined by 28 per cent to $355 million year on year in February.
One of the largest producers of diamonds, De Beers sells its roughs to a select 80 buyers who are called sightholders in Gaborone. However, diamond sales in China has come to a standstill, as shoppers are reluctant to stepout to purchase jewellery.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Following an improvement in demand for rough diamonds during the first sales cycle of 2020, we recognised the impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus on customers focused on supplying the Chinese market and put in place additional targeted flexibility to enable customers to defer allocations of the relevant rough diamonds.”
The slump in Chinese diamond demand is causing a ripple effect back to cutters, traders and ultimately the mining companies like De Beers. The Anglo American Plc unit had given its buyers special permission to refuse to buy goods destined for China, reported Bloomberg.