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De Beers cancels diamond sale

Parent company Anglo American (LSE: AAL) says De Beers will not hold its third diamond sale of 2020 owing to restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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Pandemic restrictions prompt De Beers’ diamond sale cancellation

Staff reporter

Anglo said due to the public health restrictions on the movement of people and product in Botswana, South Africa and India, which prohibited both customers from travelling and the shipment of goods, De Beers would not hold its third "Sight" for the year.

It said Sightholders could defer their allocations to later in the year and De Beers would "continue to seek innovative ways to meet Sightholders' rough diamond supply needs" in the coming weeks.

The value of rough diamond sales in its second cycle of 2020 had amounted to US$355 million, Anglo said earlier this month, which was down from the first cycle's $551 million.

"Following an improvement in demand for rough diamonds during the first sales cycle of 2020, we recognised the impact of COVID-19 coronavirus on customers focused on supplying the Chinese market and put in place additional targeted flexibility to enable customers to defer allocations of the relevant rough diamonds," De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said at the time.

De Beers has since closed its stores in London, Paris, the US, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia until further notice due to the ongoing pandemic.

The diamond market slump and De Beers' 55% reduction in underlying EBITDA for 2019 was one of the few negatives in an otherwise decent year for Anglo American.

Anglo closed 1% lower in London yesterday and is capitalised about £18.4 billion (US$22.7 billion).