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De Beers sees gem price rebound as jewellery sales hit US$81b

[LONDON] De Beers, the world's biggest diamond producer, expects gem prices to rebound as cutters and polishers restock after the market was depressed by "softer than expected" holiday season sales.

"We should see a slight rebound," Chief Executive Officer Philippe Mellier said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

"Now we think that polished prices have bottomed and rough prices have also bottomed," he said, referring to polished stones sold in jewelry and the uncut gems it mines.

Rough diamond prices fell in the fourth quarter as banks that lend to the industry tightened credit. De Beers said the outlook for diamond jewellery growth in 2015 is positive across all the main markets after sales rose 3 per cent to US$81 billion last year.

Demand in the US, the biggest diamond market, rose 7 per cent to US$37 billion, while sales in China rose 6 per cent to 62 billion yuan (US$14 billion), according to De Beers, a unit of Anglo American Plc.

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