De Beers has announced it sold $540m (£380m) worth of rough diamonds in the first sales cycle of 2016 – more than doubling the value achieved in the final sales cycle of 2015.
The company, which holds 10 sales cycles each year, said that the sales achieved was a “significant” improvement compared with the last sales cycle of last year in which it recorded sales of $248m (£174m).
It cited a positive holiday season in the US for retail, low levels of rough diamond purchases by the midstream in the fourth quarter of 2015 and a subsequent reduction in manufacturing which saw polished diamond stocks pull through the pipeline.
The company said this has resulted in “firmer” polished prices, with rough diamond demand broadening across the entire product range as cutting and polishing factories began to increase their activity.
Philippe Mellier, chief executive, said: “We are encouraged by the result of the first sales cycle of 2016, and will keep working closely with our customers to deliver sustainable improvements in the diamond industry in 2016.”