Press Release: Polished Trading Cautious Despite China Boost
1ct. RAPI down 0.1% in February.
RAPAPORT PRESS RELEASE, March 7, 2023, Las Vegas… Diamond trading was quiet in February as the trade prepared for the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, which ran from March 1 to 5.
The market is segmented. Small goods are doing better than those over 0.50 carats. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 0.30-carat polished rose 3.5% during February, stimulated by a supply decline in the past year and a revival in Chinese demand.
RAPI for 1-carat diamonds slid 0.1% during the month and 21.7% year on year. Steady demand for VVS clarity in the RAPI category range offset weakness in VS. There were also sharp declines in SI goods.
Dealers were cautious due to lingering US economic uncertainty. Retail jewelers have not replenished inventory as they usually do in the first quarter. However, Valentine’s Day shopping boosted US jewelry sales, which climbed 6.5% year on year in January, according to Mastercard.
The focus shifted to the Far East after China lifted its Covid-19 restrictions and reopened its borders. While consumer spending is taking time to resume, jewelers expect a release of pent-up demand in the coming months.
Suppliers have increased discounts — particularly for 1-carat and larger goods — to encourage Chinese buyers at the show, reduce excess inventory and improve liquidity. Many exhibitors still left the show disappointed.
The rough market was steady in February as the drop in Alrosa supply prompted shortages. Factories are gradually raising polished production after a prolonged period of low output, anticipating better demand in the year’s second half. De Beers raised prices on small rough for the second month in a row. Prices have also increased at auctions. New sanctions that the G7 nations intend to impose on Russian-origin diamonds will likely stimulate demand for non-Russian supply.
Sentiment was ultimately mixed in February. Despite the prevailing caution, polished trading is expected to improve as Chinese buyers gain confidence and US retail gains momentum.
Rapaport Media Contacts: [email protected]
US: Sherri Hendricks +1-702-893-9400
International: Avital Engelberg +1-718-521-4976
About the 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.rapaport.com.
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 120 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; Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of diamonds, selling over 400,000 carats of diamonds a year; and Rapaport Laboratory Services, providing Rapaport gemological services in India and Israel. Additional information is available at www.rapaport.com
Image: Polished diamonds and loupe. (Shutterstock)