De Beers rough diamond sales impacted by Coronavirus

South African diamond conglomerate De Beers announced on Wednesday through its CEO, Bruce Cleaver, that its sales of rough diamonds had fallen by more than a third in February due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The 2nd annual sale of the group (which manages 10 sales cycles per year at the rate of one every 5 weeks, the last of which took place the week of February 24) indeed reached 355 million dollars, compared to 551 million dollars at the time of the first sale of the year and 496 million dollars during the same period a year earlier. De Beers’ sales for the start of the year totalled « only » $906 million, the slowest start since sales data were first released in early 2016. The spread of Covid-19 and efforts to contain it have led to a decline in demand for air travel and tourism that has hit luxury goods companies, many of which depend on Chinese consumers. The OECD warned earlier this week that the coronavirus outbreak is now the biggest threat to the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis, adding that global GDP growth in 2020 may not exceed 1.5% if the coronavirus-related disruptions persist.