petra diamonds

Sales of De Beers diamonds fell in the first sales cycle compared to the same period a year ago, with owner Anglo American (LON:AAL) seeing its share price fall at market open.

The provisional value of rough diamond sales for De Beers’s first sales cycle of 2018 amounted to $665 million, compared to $729 million a year ago.

However De Beers Chief executive Bruce Cleaver said there were “positive early signs” for diamond jewellery sales over the holiday season in the US, with “the need for the industry to restock led to increasing demand for our rough diamonds in the first sales cycle of 2018.”

“This seasonal restocking demand does usually see a larger share of annual purchases being planned into the first sales cycle of the year by our customers, resulting in an encouraging sales performance.”

Cleaver explained the fall in sales on the same period last year, saying:

“In the equivalent sales cycle last year, sales levels benefitted from purchases that had been deferred from late in 2016 as a result of the initial impact at that time of India’s demonetisation programme.”

Anglo American shares are currently trading down 1.74 percent at 1,725.40 (0804GMT).