De Beers' Reports 43.9% Sales Increase

June 23, 1999

De Beers' Reports 43.9% Sales Increase

Surpassing even the most optimistic predictions by analysts, De Beers' Central Selling Organisation reported a 43.9% increase in sales of rough diamonds for the first half of 1999 compared to the same period last year.

The CSO said in a release it responded cautiously to encouraging signs of market improvement, including strong holiday retail sales in the U.S., continuing U.S. consumer confidence and tentative signs of economic improvement in Asian countries. It also cited low stocks in diamond-cutting centers and limited supply of rough from non-CSO sources. Due to these factors, the CSO increased the size of its sights as 1999 progressed.

Last year the CSO restricted rough diamond supply to regulate prices in the face of slipping demand from Asian markets. Sales were down 28% in 1998 from the previous year.

- by Stacey King