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UPDATE 1-Russia Alrosa sees diamond sales stabilising in fourth quarter

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MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russian state-controlled diamond producer Alrosa expects its fourth-quarter sales to stabilise year on year as demand for precious stones is recovering, its chief executive, told a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds, has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, although demand started to recover in August.

“We hope that in the fourth quarter we will be able to reach amount of sales close to those of the previous year,” Ivanov told Putin. Alrosa sold diamonds worth $916 million in the last quarter of 2019.

The government has been considering whether state precious metals and gems repository Gokhran could buy $0.5 billion-$1 billion of the firm’s rough diamonds to help it amid the pandemic.

Alrosa is in talks with Russia’s finance ministry over the sale of some of Alrosa’s diamonds to Gokhran, its CEO was quoted as saying in the Kremlin statement.

A deal, which would improve the balance between global production and consumption, is expected soon, Ivanov added, without disclosing the size. (Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Polina Devitt; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Edmund Blair and Louise Heavens)

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