Diamond markets are under pressure as profit margins have tightened and the trade war with China has fueled uncertainty. US jewelry sales are robust, but the midstream is not profitable enough to support a sustainable supply chain.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds fell 0.7% in May and is down 1.7% since the beginning of the year.
Diamond trading was weak at the JCK Las Vegas show. Demand is selective, with buyers avoiding inventory purchases. Jewelry retailers are taking more goods on memo. Polished suppliers are offering technology and source verification as a value-added service.
There is good demand for 0.60- to 1.99-carat, F-J, VS2-I1 diamonds. Buyers are insisting on well-cut stones. Polished below 0.50 carats is slow due to excess supply, weak Chinese demand and tight Indian liquidity.
Cutters are operating at lower capacity as they try to reduce inflated inventory. The number of diamonds on RapNet declined 2.6% to 1.5 million stones in May, but was up 16% from a year earlier on June 1.
Manufacturers are rejecting high-priced rough that has made polished production unprofitable. De Beers and Alrosa are carefully managing production and price levels amid this year’s slow rough demand, as outlined in the May edition of the Rapaport Research Report.
“Diamond demand is relatively good, but the middle markets are in danger of collapse,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group. “We are reaching the point where there is insufficient liquidity to support the flow of diamonds through the supply chain. If the trade does not change its business practices and adapt to new realities, the diamond industry will suffer extreme financial and regulatory disruption. Manufacturers will stop cutting.”
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About the Rapaport Research Report: The Rapaport Research Report provides subscribers with in-depth analysis of key issues affecting the diamond market. It presents exclusive analytics of diamond prices for a variety of categories, based on sales and inventory data from RapNet – The Diamond Market.
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® – The Diamond Market. has daily listings of more than 1.5 million diamonds valued at over $8 billion. Additional information is available at www.diamonds.net.
About the Rapaport Group: The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added-value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive and efficient diamond and jewelry markets. Established in 1976, the Group has more than 20,000 clients in over 121 countries. Group activities include Rapaport Information Services, providing the Rapaport benchmark Price List for diamonds, as well as research, analysis and news; RapNet, the world’s largest diamond trading network, with over 15,000 members in 97 countries and daily listings of more than 1.5 million diamonds valued at over $8 billion; Rapaport Laboratory Services, providing GIA and Rapaport gemological services in India, Israel and Belgium; and Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of diamonds, selling over 500,000 carats of diamonds a year. Additional information is available at www.diamonds.net.
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