De Beers noted that in 2012, there was a 16 percent drop in its total sales to US$6.1 billion, while rough diamond sales decreased by 15 percent to US$5.5 billion. The company stated that its rough diamond sales took a slide down mainly owing to the diminished demand, changing product requirements from Sightholders, and reduced availability of some goods. Sales of rough diamonds via De Beers’ auction platform decreased to US$356 million in 2012 which the company attributed to subdued buyer activity.
Also, diamond jewellery demand from US, China and Japan did see an increase, although at a slower pace than in 2011.
Rough diamond prices dropped 12 percent in the years 2012. Also as the polished prices declined especially towards the third quarter of the year and with the increased stock levels at the cutting centre stock and tightening liquidity in the midstream resulted in a rough there was a correction in the rough diamond prices in the third quarter and by the year end, the rough prices stabilized, reflecting a modest improvement in consumer demand during the holiday sales season in most major diamond jewellery markets.
The Forevermark brand of the De Beers group saw an increase in its reach, as stores licenced to retail Forevermark diamonds grew by 40 percent to more than 900 independent jewellers worldwide. It grew in core markets of China, Japan, India and the US, and was launched in two new licensee markets - Canada and the UAE.
The year’s diamond production at De Beers totalled 27.9 million carats (2011: 31.3 million carats). Also, Anglo American plc completed its acquisition of a further 40 percent interest in De Beers, bringing total shareholding to 85 percent. There was free cash flow of $697 million, down 15 percent (on y-o-y basis) and debt was reduced by 61 percent to $722 million, excluding shareholder loans. De Beers is maintaining an outlook of moderate growth in diamond jewellery demand in 2013, with a more positive picture emerging from China and India compared to 2012. It noted that as the diamond manufacturing sector is currently holding high inventory levels, particularly in the high end goods, the challenges in liquidity continue.