De Beers Sales Up 10%

De Beers said Wednesday that sales in the first half of 2008 increased 10 percent to $3.74 billion.

In addition, sales of rough diamonds for the period also rose 10 percent for the period to $3.3 billion. Diamond production totaled 24.2 million cts. for the period, ended June 30, which was only “marginally behind 2007 results,” the company said.

The company’s underlying earnings for the period increased 8 percent to $350 million.

For the remainder of the year, the world’s largest mining company stresses caution, largely because of the financial conditions in the U.S.

“Mass market retail diamond jewelry sales have been impacted by economic issues in the most important market, the United States,” the company said in a statement. “While strong growth in China, India, Russia, and the Middle East has helped to mitigate the impact of the U.S. slowdown, the overall retail market is likely to be challenging. While demand for high-end diamonds is likely to remain robust, the smaller, lower qualities, which are more dependent upon U.S. demand, are expected to remain subdued.”