De Beers raises prices 4% at its $600M May sight

Avi Krawitz

The De Beers May sight had an estimated value of $600 million as the company raised its rough diamond ‎prices by approximately 4 percent. The price hike reflected a change in list prices on ‎various goods as well as adjustments made to De Beers box assortments. ‎

Dealers noted that trading on the secondary market was significantly reduced following the ‎sight that ended on May 9 as De Beers goods are now selling at around list price, erasing the 5 percent ‎premiums they had gained in the past few months. ‎

One India-based sightholder noted that they were in fact losing money on the secondary ‎market when accounting for the various broker fees and other costs associated with the ‎goods. “Sightholders are losing money so they don’t want to sell,” he explained. “So ‎they’re putting everything into manufacturing. We may not make so much money in ‎manufacturing but at least we’re not losing.”‎

Factories in India have maintained cautious manufacturing levels, which are expected to ‎remain well below capacity in the coming months, especially during the May summer ‎vacation period.‎

Most sightholders who spoke with Rapaport News were frustrated by the sight and ‎expressed surprise at the price hike as it followed an increase of approximately 3 percent ‎implemented in April. ‎

‎“As manufacturers, we’re again in that awkward position where we have to pay more for ‎the rough and we have to fight for our prices on the polished,” said one Antwerp-based ‎sightholder. “But we really don’t get a return on the goods and that’s very dissatisfying.”‎

Another sight participant added that the second quarter is generally a quiet period for the ‎polished market as Indian dealers take their summer break and there’s no ‎season to boost sales in the U.S. or the Far East. Given the three month manufacturing ‎cycle, he reasoned that sightholders will need to defend these new rough prices come ‎July, when he hopes the market will improve.It’s not easy as there has been some price ‎growth in the polished but not in all categories and definitely not to the same extent as the ‎price of rough,” the sightholder stressed. ‎

Rapaport estimates that rough prices have increased by approximately 10 percent so far ‎in 2013. In contrast, the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat certified polished diamonds has ‎increased by only 0.3 percent, while RAPI for 0.30-carat stones has risen 9 percent this year, ‎driven by strong Chinese demand for these goods. ‎

Feedback from De Beers May sight indicated that rough in sizes of 4 grainers to 8 grainers in all ‎qualities, which yield 0.30 carat to 0.70 carat polished goods, registered price increases of ‎about 7 percent, while cheaper Indian goods rose about 4 percent. De Beers reduced ‎prices on some less popular goods. ‎

During the first four sights of the year, De Beers sight sales have declined by 5 percent ‎year on year to approximately $2.35 billion, according to Rapaport estimates. While the ‎May sight was the first of the new contract year, sightholders expect smaller sights in the ‎coming months given that their applications for goods for the year ahead was about 20 ‎percent below those made last year. ‎

Source Rapaport