NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Diamond trading this February was slower than in previous years, with buyers pushing for deeper discounts and suppliers expecting firmer prices at the Hong Kong show. Sentiment improved, as dealers anticipate U.S. and Chinese jewelers will start replacing inventory sold during the holiday seasons.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat polished diamonds declined 0.3% in February and was down 1.2% from the beginning of the year.
|RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)|
|RAPI 0.30 ct.||0.5%||0.2%||-5.5%|
|RAPI 0.50 ct.||-1.1%||-2.9%||-9.0%|
|RAPI 1 ct.||-0.3%||-1.2%||-7.5%|
|RAPI 3 ct.||
© Copyright 2017, Rapaport USA Inc.
The Rapaport Monthly Report – March 2017 notes that polished inventories are rising as major manufacturers return to full polished production following strong rough buying in January and February. Rough demand was steady, with De Beers February sight valued at $545 million, following a large $720 million January sale. Profit margins tightened in 2017 as rough prices firmed and polished prices softened.
The effect of India’s demonetization policy has stabilized. Smaller diamond and jewelry companies must improve transparency and shift to electronic payments. Higher governance and compliance standards in all industry centers will enable greater bank financing and improve profitability.
Greater investment in marketing will raise consumer demand and ensure long-term profitability. Larger marketing budgets are required to strengthen the status of natural diamonds as an emotional store of value, following disappointing sales during the Christmas and Chinese New Year seasons.
Hopes are high for the Hong Kong show, as jewelers are expected to return to the market. Rough sales are projected to slow as a large volume of new polished supply hits the market in the second quarter. Suppliers hope polished prices will increase, enabling a return to profits. Excess supply may put a strain on midstream inventory if the expected rise in polished demand doesn’t materialize.
The Rapaport Monthly Report is available at store.rapaport.com/monthly-report.