De Beers posted a record $5.67 billion in rough gem diamond sales in 2000–primarily in the first half of the year. The strong economy and De Beers’ abandonment of its stockpiling policy led to stellar sales that dropped off in the second half yet still allowed for an overall 8% increase in sales.
De Beers credited the continued strength of the U.S. market for the strong return for 2000. The
U.S. De Beers said, accounts for 50% of world retail sales of diamonds and continues to be the main engine for consumer sales growth.
Despite the strong overall showing in 2000, the second half actually suffered a 23% drop from 1999. While still the second-highest period for De Beers’ 112-year history, slowing demand led to a significant discrepancy in sales. Analysts, meanwhile, expect the stagnating economic mood to carry through into 2001 and make continuing sales increases difficult for De Beers.