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MOSCOW, May 12 (Reuters) - Russia’s Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds, said on Wednesday its April sales of rough and polished stones rose by 12% month-on-month to $401 million after demand for diamond jewellery strengthened in the main markets.
Global demand for precious stones has been recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since the second half of 2020.
Sales by the state-controlled company totalled $1.6 billion for the first four months of 2021. At the height of the pandemic in April 2020, Alrosa’s sales were only $15.6 million. They rose to $357 million in March this year.
Alrosa, which competes with Anglo American unit De Beers, is gradually restoring its production after last year’s 22% reduction. It plans to return to its usual annual output of 36-37 million carats within 2-3 years from 31-32 million carats in 2021.
Rough diamonds account for the bulk of Alrosa’s sales, although it polishes those of rare colours or of large size for sale in auctions.
“Our April sales were well supported by the successful results delivered by auctions of high-quality large rough, as well as by strong sales of polished diamonds,” Evgeny Agureev, its deputy chief executive, said in a statement.
A 100.94 carat stone called the Alrosa Spectacle - the largest polished diamond ever cut in Russia - will be auctioned by Christie’s in Geneva on Wednesday. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens and Barbara Lewis)