Certified polished diamond prices were stable in April as trading slowed during the Passover and Easter holidays. The Basel show and New York auctions demonstrated strong demand for select, top-quality diamonds but overall market sentiment remains weak.
High-end large stones above 10 carats, as well as fancy intense pink and blue diamonds, and very finely cut fancy shapes are hot. There is steady Chinese demand for 0.30-0.40 ct., G-H, VS-SI, triple EX diamonds for engagement rings. Chinese demand for commercial quality stones is also improving.
Certified polished diamond prices held steady in March with 0.30-carat stones continuing to outpace other sizes. Market sentiment improved throughout the first quarter of 2013 driven by seasonal Far East demand during the Chinese New Year period and steady U.S. bridal demand.
The March Hong Kong show exceeded expectations with both Chinese and Indian buyers active in the market. However, demand is limited to a specific range of commercial quality diamonds with 0.30-0.40ct., G-K, VS2-SI2 goods hot and good demand for medium to low qualities up to 2ct. There is strong demand for excellent cut triple EX goods which are in short supply and garnering premiums of up to 8 percent over VG-graded goods.
Martin Rapaport will discuss the challenges and opportunities confronting the global diamond trade in a special presentation at the International Diamond Week in Israel, Monday March 18, 2013 at 4 p.m. in the Israel Diamond Exchange. The presentation will include an analysis of the competitive relationship between Israel and India, as well as the outlook for diamond prices and demand in 2013.
Certified polished diamond prices fell in 2012 as global economic weakness slowed growth in China and poor government policy fueled further declines in India. Steady U.S. demand sustained the jewelry industry but consumer sentiment softened in December as pending tax hikes reduced holiday retail spending.
In December, the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat polished diamonds was flat for the month, while other categories rose slightly, representing the first monthly increase since March 2012.
Certified polished diamond prices edged down in November as the holiday season started with mixed prospects for the jewelry sector. Diamond dealers were active but retailers continue to efficiently manage sufficient inventories, with little promise for significant restocking in the New Year.
Superstorm Sandy and the presidential elections impacted U.S. sentiment at the start of the month but spending improved over the Thanksgiving weekend, despite the unresolved fiscal cliff negotiations. There are rising concerns that potential tax increases will reduce luxury spending. Global economic uncertainty continues to impact jewelry sales in China, particularly mid-to-high-end purchases. India’s Diwali festival was satisfactory for jewelers but high rupee-based gold prices have since reduced spending.
Certified polished diamond prices continued to decline in October as economic and political uncertainties have diminished holiday expectations.
Trading quieted toward the end of the month as Hurricane Sandy halted business in New York’s diamond market. There is some concern that the storm will impact holiday luxury sales along the East Coast as consumers focus on necessities during the recovery period and put holiday gift buying on hold.
Rapaport Auctions, the largest auction market for recycled diamonds, reported strong activity for the third quarter of 2012 with sales of 82,260cts. for $14.3 million. Melee prices stabilized, increasing 3% after a decline of 13% in Q2. Single stone sales were better than expected with steady demand from Israeli dealers.
“There has been a noticeable uptick in prices and trading volume for small melee diamonds following a slow summer season. The recent strengthening of the Rupee and expectations for a reasonably good U.S. holiday season improved demand and stabilized prices for a broad range of commercial and promotional quality diamonds at popular price points.” said Ezriel Rapaport, Director of Rapaport Global Trading.
Certified polished diamond prices were relatively stable in August easing the steep declines witnessed in previous months. Dealers have sensed a restrained improvement in demand from Far East and Indian buyers ahead of the fourth quarter season but trading volume remains low.
Jewelry retailers, who have been largely absent from the diamond market in 2012, started to inquire about goods again but have yet to resume significant buying. They are content to maintain low inventory levels and are monitoring whether price levels will hold steady through the September Hong Kong show.
The Rapaport International Diamond Conference 2012 held in Mumbai on August 29, 2012 attracted over 300 participants, including many of India’s leading diamantaires. The conference was inaugurated by Mumbai’s Commissioner of Customs Shri P.M. Saleem.
The morning session highlighted India’s new regulatory environment, which will require compliance procedures that the industry is not yet ready to perform. The new laws governing transfer pricing, service tax and cross border investments are becoming increasingly burdensome. Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group, cautioned companies and warned foreign investors that India’s government authorities are targeting the diamond sector. Sanjay Kothari, Vice Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), said that the industry is in talks with senior government officials.
Certified polished diamond prices fell in June as Far East and Indian demand stalled and industry liquidity dried up as the Indian Rupee collapsed. Year on year one carat prices declined 13.7%. Demand in the United States is steady but wholesale buying remains selective as consumer’s trend toward more affordable price points. Rough trading is at a standstill and DTC sightholders are rejecting overpriced De Beers boxes.
In June, the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1 ct. certified diamonds fell 1.6 percent. The RAPI for 0.3 ct. stones declined by 1.2 percent and the RAPI for 0.5 ct. diamonds dropped 1.4 percent. RAPI for 3 ct. diamonds fell 1 percent during the month.
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