De Beers’ marketing arm, the Diamond Trading Company, sold $5.6 billion in rough diamonds in 2004, 3% higher than 2003.
Net earnings in 2004 were $498 million, up from $398 in 2003.
The DTC instituted three price increases during 2004, and the cumulative effect was the price was 14% higher than 2003. It added that there was a “strong first sight in 2005,“ at which it raised prices by a further 3%.
A “Director’s Comment” noted that 2004 was “another good year for the diamond industry.” It said indications are that global retail sales rose 6% in local currencies, but only 8% in U.S. dollars, because of the dollar’s continued weakness.
Strong areas of growth were Asia-Pacific, India and the Gulf region. Japan also recorded modest growth for the second year running. The U.S. reported a solid Christmas season overall, despite concerns over high personal debt levels.
It also noted that “during the year, levels of polished stocks in the cutting center declined but cutting centre bank debt continued to climb in line with the increase in the volume of trade. However, the lending banks seem reasonably comfortable with the ability of the trade to finance the higher level of debt.”