Rapaport: Diamond Prices Firm Amid Market Optimism

Polished diamond prices rose in November amid steady demand and shortages of larger sizes, Rapaport said in a release. Dealers were busy filling US orders for retail jewellers as the holiday season got off to a strong start. The improving Chinese market helped buoy smaller certified goods, it noted.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat polished diamonds rose 0.9% during the month and was up 14% year-on-year as of 1st December.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)

Jan. 1 to Dec. 1
Year on year
Dec. 1, 2020, to Dec. 1, 2021
RAPI 0.30 ct.0.4%-2.0%-1.6%
RAPI 0.50 ct.0.5%-0.4%0.4%
RAPI 1 ct.0.9%11.4%14.0%
RAPI 3 ct.4.8%12.9%15.8%
© Copyright 2021 by Rapaport USA Inc.

Rapaport said jewellery outperformed most product categories at the start of the holiday period. Thanksgiving weekend sales were up 78% compared to last year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Overall e-commerce sales slid 1.4%, reported Adobe, as many consumers started their holiday shopping earlier this year.

The strong retail performance lifted sentiment in the diamond trade. Dealers were looking for inventory to fill ongoing orders and also because they expect the positive momentum to continue into the first half of 2022. However, higher prices made it difficult for dealers to buy and restock at reasonable profit margins.

Rapaport noted that polished inventory levels increased as Indian manufacturers shipped large volumes before the Diwali break. The country’s polished exports rose 45% year-on-year to $2.56 billion in October, it informed. While the number of diamonds on RapNet jumped sharply in recent months, the spike consisted mainly of 0.30- to 0.40-carat goods. 1-carat and larger are in short supply, Rapaport noted.

Rough trading remains robust. Manufacturers are raising production again after Diwali to provide goods for the first quarter, when jewellers typically replenish inventory they’ve sold during the holidays. Rough prices are firm; they have increased approximately 20% so far in 2021, according to Rapaport estimates.

The diamond market is optimistic for the next few months despite concerns about the Covid-19 Omicron variant and the effects of inflation on US consumer spending. The trade begins the final month of the year with the supply-demand dynamic working in its favour.

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