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Diamond giant De Beers cancels third sales event of 202...

Business Maverick


Diamond giant De Beers cancels third sales event of 2020

Diamond image by Lars Plöger from Pixabay

A diamond may be forever, but sales can be put on hold. De Beers has announced the cancellation of its third scheduled ‘Sight’ for 2020.

A “Sight” in the arcane jargon of the diamond world is a sales event where “Sightholders”, or authorised bulk purchasers, buy rough diamonds from producers. De Beers, an unlisted unit of Anglo American, said on Monday, 30 March that it was not holding its third Sight of 2020 because of restrictions on the movement of people in Botswana, South Africa and India stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“De Beers Group is enabling Sightholders to defer 100% of their Sight 3 allocations to later in the year, and will continue to seek innovative ways to meet Sightholders’ rough diamond supply needs in the coming weeks,” the company said in a statement.

Diamond sales have been depressed recently and demand is bound to contract, at least for the foreseeable future, in the wake of the economic havoc wrought by the unfolding pandemic. In 2019, De Beers’ revenue fell on lower sales to $4.6-billion from just over $6.0-billion the previous year. On 4 March, the company said that sales at its second Sight of 2020 amounted to $355-million compared to almost $500-million at the second Sight in 2019. 

Among other things, Botswana is going to see a sharp decline in its key export – diamonds built an economy widely regarded as a success story – and this will coincide with a sharp drop in the tourists who flock there for its wildlife. BM


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