London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 August 2008 – The increasing international demand for diamond prices has driven diamond giant De Beers – the largest diamond mining company in the world – to boost its rough diamond prices by 16% so far this year.
Reuters reports from here that the group’s marketing unit – the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) – has increased prices for rough, or unpolished, diamonds several times this year. The latest 16% cumulative figure included a further hike in August, a company statement revealed.
De Beers – 45 % owned by mining group Anglo American – said last month that it was cautious about developments in the second half, due to a downturn in the United States, which is the top diamond jewellery market in the world.
It said a difficult retail market in the United States – which accounted for around half of all diamond jewellery sales – was dampening sales of cheaper, mass market items using lower quality gems. However, buoyant growth in China, India, Russia and the Middle East was helping to balance some of the U.S. impact.
“So far during 2008, DTC has seen strong and continuing consumer demand for most categories of polished diamonds, especially in the larger goods,” said DTC sales and client services executive director Mahiar Borhanjoo. “The DTC takes a long term, sustainable view on its pricing, and decisions are influenced first and foremost by demand for polished gems,” he added.
Reuters points that De Beers – which controls around 40% of the rough diamond market – posted a 10% rise in first half rough diamond sales to US$3.3 billion (R24.75 billion), and increased its contribution to the underlying earnings of Anglo by 6.4% to US$166 million (R1.25 billion).