Anglo American diamond sales slump amid ‘challenging’ Chinese trading

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An Anglo American employee analyses rough diamonds (Anglo American/PA)

Mining giant Anglo American has reported a slump in diamond sales, blaming a fall in demand from Asian customers.

The FTSE 100 firm saw shares lift slightly on Tuesday morning despite announcing that a “challenging” trading environment in China has resulted in a fall in sales.

The company said overall retail sentiment for diamond jewellery, particularly in the US, has remained positive.

Its De Beers Group rough diamond arm reported provisional sales of 390 million US dollars (£305.6 million) for its fifth sales cycle of 2019.

Throughout the year, the company runs ten five-day sales cycles.

This represented a decline of 6.3% from its sales of 416 million US dollars (£326 million) in the fourth sales cycle of the year.

Diamond sales plunged 32% year-on-year, dropping from 581 million US dollars (£455 million) of sales reported in the fifth cycle of 2018.

Bruce Cleaver, chief executive officer at De Beers Group, said: “While overall retail sentiment for diamond jewellery in the US remains solid, a more challenging environment in China and higher than normal polished diamond inventories in the midstream resulted in a cautious approach from rough diamond buyers during the fifth cycle of 2019.”

In 2018, De Beers reported 6.1 billion US dollars (£4.8 billion) of revenue for the London and Johannesburg listed miner.

It represents around 22% of the total 27.6 billion revenue (£21.6 billion) reported by Anglo American in 2018.

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