Rapaport: Diamond Prices Stable As Market Finds Balance

The diamond industry was optimistic in February as the US and China saw solid jewellery sales, the Rapaport group said in a press release. Polished trading was steady during the month, though seasonally slower than in January, it noted.

Polished prices were stable despite a gradual increase in inventory levels. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds rose 0.8%.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
 FebruaryYear to dateJan. 1 to Mar. 1Year on yearMar. 1, 2020, to Mar. 1 2021
RAPI 0.30 ct.0.0%0.5%-0.4%
RAPI 0.50 ct.-0.1%-1.2%11.0%
RAPI 1 ct.0.8%0.2%7.6%
RAPI 3 ct.-1.9%-0.2%7.1%
© Copyright 2021, Rapaport USA Inc.

Strong e-commerce growth drove positive sales during the Chinese New Year, with government data indicating that online retail revenues rose 15% in mainland China in 2020, Rapaport said. Digital platforms are also leading the recovery in the US, where jewellers reported good Valentine’s Day activity.

Retailers have been steadily restocking since the holiday season but are keeping fewer goods in-store than before. Dealers and manufacturers are carefully considering their requirements for the year ahead.

Rapaport informed that midstream inventory levels have increased following a spike in rough buying. Polished suppliers depleted inventory last year when the Covid-19 lockdowns limited manufacturing. Cutters have since raised polished production to fill shortages in the market. The quantity of diamonds listed on RapNet as of 1st March was 1.25 million — 11.1% more than at the beginning of the year, it noted.

“The market continues to enjoy a healthy balance between supply and demand. Manufacturers are trying to protect their profit margins with firm polished prices after the recent hike in the cost of rough. De Beers and Alrosa raised prices an average 3% to 5% in February, the third increase in as many months. Rough valuations are approaching pre-pandemic levels,” Rapaport said.

Rough buying is expected to cool in the coming months. Although manufacturers need inventory to meet jewellers’ growing memo demands and the faster pace of e-commerce orders, they also want to avoid upsetting the current equilibrium once polished trading seasonally slows in the second quarter, Rapaport stated.

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