Diamond prices should continue to rise in the second half of the year, De Beers’ chief commercial officer Bruce Cleaver tells JCK in an exclusive interview.
However, he does not expect them to increase as much as they did in the first half, when the Diamond Trading Company’s rough prices rose 35 percent.
“We expect positive growth through the year, but not at the same level as the first six months,” says Cleaver, who until July 18 had served as the company’s interim co-CEO.
Cleaver notes that the price gains have been fueled by increased demand for polished, which has led prices to swell more than 20 percent: “We have seen very strong growth in polished prices—more so than any period in the last 30 years.”
Some of that increase, he says, has stemmed from better gem sales in the United States. “We have been surprised by the demand in the U.S. in the first half,” he says. “We were expecting growth of maybe 3, 4 percent. But now we expect 6, 7 percent.”
And while the growth in China and India is outpacing America’s, Cleaver says the United States remains De Beers’ most important market: “We constantly stress we would be crazy to take our eye off the ball in the U.S. Even though China and India have shown spectacular growth, we don’t think it will be until 2015 that China and India combined equal the U.S.”