One-carat diamond prices remain under pressure with low trading volume during the August vacation period. Polished inventory is increasing with steady manufacturing and sluggish demand as dealers prepare for the fourth-quarter holiday season. Some improvement in under-the-carat goods as Chinese bridal demand stabilizes.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds fell 0.8% in August. RAPI for 0.30-carat was flat and RAPI for 0.50-carat rose 0.2%. RAPI for 3-carat increased 0.2%.
|RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)|
January 1 – September 1
Changes at September 1
|RAPI 0.30 ct.||0.0%||0.0%||3.3%|
|RAPI 0.50 ct.||0.2%||3.7%||3.9%|
|RAPI 1 ct.||-0.8%||-1.8%||-4.5%|
|RAPI 3 ct.||0.2%||-9.6%||-14.8%|
Copyright © 2016, Rapaport USA Inc.
Diamond markets are conservative with buyers selective and price-sensitive, according to the Rapaport Monthly Report – September 2016. Manufacturing profits are under pressure as polished production increases before Indian factories close for Diwali (October 30).
Steady rough demand is enabling mining companies to reduce inventory built up last year. De Beers and ALROSA reported strong earnings in the first half of 2016 and growth is projected for the second half given last year’s low comparisons. Rough demand is expected to slow in the coming months as polished inventories increase. The number of unique diamonds listed on RapNet rose 21% since the beginning of the year.
Suppliers are hoping the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair will stimulate stronger trading. Chinese buyers are pushing for higher discounts as they prepare for the October 1 National Day. Dealers are holding prices firm as they anticipate stronger selling at the show, even if they’re cautious for Christmas and the Chinese New Year.
Hong Kong jewelers require less inventory as sales slumped due to the weak economy and lower tourist spending. Expectations for the U.S. diminished with disappointing sales at Signet Jewelers and Tiffany & Co.
The trade is deeply concerned about weak diamond demand following slow trading this summer. Large investments in marketing are required to boost consumer demand this holiday season. Attention will focus on Signet and De Beers branded campaigns, and the Diamond Producers Association’s generic campaign.