[LONDON] De Beers, the biggest diamond producer, sold US$540 million of the gems in its first sale of the year.
The total was more than double the US$248 million it sold in the last sale of 2015, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Polished diamond prices have firmed after production cuts last year and a "positive" holiday season in the US, it said.
Diamond prices are at the lowest in six years after slumping 18 per cent in 2015, the most since the global financial crisis in 2008, according to data from from UK-based WWW International Diamond Consultants. De Beers and Alrosa PJSC responded to slowing demand and a price slump last year by cutting supply to the market.
De Beers reduced prices by as much as 7 per cent at the sale, according to people familiar with the process. The company didn't provide prices in the statement.