De Beers expects 5 to 6 percent growth in U.S. diamond sales this year, company executives said, following the release of its first-half financial results.
“In the U.S. there is a big creation of wealth,” CEO Philippe Mellier told Reuters. “Wealthy people are willing to buy luxury products.”
He said he expected sales to rise in both India and China.
He also noted that polished prices rose 6 percent in the first half of the year, and he expects “some pretty solid” increases in the second half.
The comments came as De Beers announced first-half financial results that could also be termed pretty solid. Sales increased 15 percent to $3.8 billion, of which $3.5 billion was rough diamond sales. Operating profit jumped an impressive 34 percent to $765 million. Production increased to 16 million carats, thanks to higher output from its Botswana and South African operations. Without being specific, it said there were favorable results from its Forevermark brand and De Beers Diamond Jewelers retail operation, which is now targeting Asian markets.
Mellier also seemed to confirm a report that De Beers may sell three of its mines: Voorspoed and Kimberley in South Africa and Snap Lake in Canada.
He said the mines were small holdings, but added: “The process is far from being concluded. We haven’t made a final decision…. If there is an opportunity to sell some of them, why not?”