RAPAPORT PRESS RELEASE, February 2, 2021, Las Vegas… The diamond trade began the year with optimism following a relatively successful holiday season. Polished-diamond suppliers anticipated steady inventory replacement in the first quarter. December and January therefore saw strong rough buying. The subsequent increase in polished inventory levels led prices to soften in key categories.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat polished diamonds fell 0.6% during January. The index is up 5% from a year ago.
|RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)|
Feb. 1, 2020, to Feb. 1, 2021
|RAPI 0.30 ct.||0.5%||-1.9%|
|RAPI 0.50 ct.||-1.1%||9.4%|
|RAPI 1 ct.||-0.6%||5.0%|
|RAPI 3 ct.||1.7%||6.3%|
© Copyright 2021, Rapaport USA Inc.
Diamond manufacturers raised production levels as shortages emerged in the fourth quarter of 2020. Polished inventory had declined due to a combination of increased holiday orders and a drop in manufacturing last year because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Demand for rough diamonds spiked in December. De Beers and Alrosa sold a combined $910 million during the month — 17% more than a year earlier. The momentum continued in January, spurring the two miners to raise prices by 4% to 7%. Rough prices at tenders by Mountain Province and Petra Diamonds rose 8% and are now back to pre-pandemic levels.
Polished inventory increased in January as freshly manufactured goods entered the market. The number of diamonds on RapNet climbed 11% during the month to approximately 1.3 million as of February 1.
Trading slowed toward the end of the month as suppliers completed orders for the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 12. Expectations are high for the lunar festival; the major jewelers in the region report a strong recovery in mainland China. Jewelers are emphasizing digital sales since Chinese consumers increasingly shop on popular apps such as WeChat and T-Mall.
The polished market is expected to cool in the coming months once the China and US holiday seasons are over and large volumes of new goods become available. This may put pressure on manufacturers that have aggressively bought rough at higher prices in the past month.
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About the Rapaport Research Report: The Rapaport Research Report provides subscribers with in-depth analysis of key themes affecting the diamond market. It also presents exclusive analytics for diamond prices in a variety of categories, based on sales and inventory data from RapNet®.
About the Rapaport RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™): The RAPI is the average asking price in hundred $/ct. of the 10% best-priced diamonds, for each of the top 25 quality round diamonds (D-H, IF-VS2, GIA-graded, RapSpec-A3 and better) offered for sale on RapNet® (www.rapnet.com). Additional information is available at www.diamonds.net.
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Image: Polished diamonds. (Shutterstock)