In a two-hour question-and-answer session, De Beers managing director Gareth Penny gave a presentation on the state of the industry, during which he stressed that “diamond inventories have fallen to levels which have justified increasing the mining production of the De Beers mines after it had been reduced by some 90 percent in the first quarter of the year.”
“The demand for rough diamonds is picking up,” he continued. “De Beers production is increasing to keep pace with demand. Retail sales have also shown an improvement.”
Answering a question from moderator Chaim Even-Zohar, Penny was unwilling to disclose if the company will raise prices at its upcoming sight, but left sufficient hints for the audience to draw its own conclusions.
Penny further added the 2009 Christmas season will be better than that of 2008. “I think that it’s a pretty reasonable assumption from where we are sitting now,” said Penny cautiously, taking comfort from the rising US stock market and improved consumer confidence.
AWDC said it will organize similar town halls in the future.