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Russia 'Considering' Offers for $1 Billion of Alrosa Diamonds

YAKUTSK —  The government may sell the diamonds it bought last year for $1 billion from state-owned Alrosa, the world’s largest rough diamond producer, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Saturday.

“We are being asked to begin selling diamonds from the reserve we acquired last year,” Kudrin told reporters in Yakutsk, in the republic of Sakha. “We are now considering these offers.”

The government bought the gems to support Alrosa after diamond prices plunged more than 40 percent from their 2008 record.

Russia has earned 15 percent to 18 percent on the diamonds after prices rebounded, Alrosa chief executive Fyodor Andreyev said in a July 12 interview. Gokhran, the state repository, may choose to sell the gems on its own or offer Alrosa “some kind of swap,” he said at the time.

Prices of rough, or unpolished, diamonds have climbed this year after producers cut output and gem dealers rebuilt stockpiles.

The world market has “woken up” and prices for gems have recovered, “completely justifying” the government’s decision to support Alrosa last year, Kudrin said Saturday.

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