(LAS VEGAS) – Sentiment in the diamond industry improved amid rising expectations for the holiday season. A rallying stock market fueled optimism as the Dow average climbed 3% in November, and anticipation of a US-China trade deal helped as well.
Polished prices firmed, supported by reduced supply and steady US and Chinese demand for RapSpec A3+ diamonds below 1 carat. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat stones fell 0.5% during November, while RAPI for 0.30-carat improved significantly.
Polished inventory declined, resulting in shortages of RapSpec A3+ diamonds. There remains a large volume of lower-quality goods, mainly brown, green and milky (BMG) and fluorescent stones. Since buyers are insisting on nonfluorescent or faint goods, diamonds with fluorescence are selling at deeper discounts. The November Rapaport Research Report highlights opportunities to market fluorescent diamonds, as consumers aren’t bothered by the issue even if the trade devalues these stones.
Manufacturers reduced polished production in the third quarter and closed factories over Diwali, contributing to the inventory drop. Demand for 0.30- to 0.50-carat goods also picked up as jewelers in China prepared for the Chinese New Year. The number of 0.30-carat, D-H, IF-VS2, RapSpec A3+ diamonds on RapNet has declined by over 50% since its peak at the beginning of June.
Cutters are now raising production to compensate for shortages and for jewelers’ expected restocking orders after the season. Rough demand has improved, with De Beers’ 5% to 7% price cuts helping raise manufacturing profit margins.
The focus has shifted to retail. Initial reports of Thanksgiving weekend sales have been positive, particularly regarding online and mobile channels. Jewelers have taken a lot of goods on memo to diminish their inventory exposure. In this environment, dealers can add value by matching the right diamond with the right person at the right time, place and price.
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