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End-Year Diamond Prices Decline, says RAPI

Rapaport released its new RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) on 3 January 2023. Diamond markets were quiet toward the end of December as wholesalers took vacation between Christmas and New Year. Major dealers were satisfied with the holiday season but remained cautious about their short-term prospects.


Polished diamond prices continued to decline in most categories. RAPI for 1-carat diamonds fell 1.5 percent during the month and was down 10.7 percent for the full year.


RAPI for 0.30-carat rose 1.2 percent in December. The volume of 0.30-carat, D to H, IF to VS diamonds on RapNet declined around 60 percent during 2022, with lower supply contributing to the upturn in prices in November-December.


The midstream held historically high inventory in December. There were 1.77 million diamonds on RapNet as of 1 January 2023— the same as a year earlier but 46 percent more than on 1 January 2020. Suppliers reduced prices to offload less-popular goods and raise liquidity.


Manufacturers kept polished production low. That fuelled concern for post-holiday restocking, as there have been fewer newly manufactured stones available than usual. Many expect De Beers to reduce its rough prices in January to stimulate demand, especially after prices on the secondary market decreased in the fourth quarter. Polished trading was sluggish due to the seasonal lull, the lingering economic uncertainty, and the slowdown in China.


US jewellery sales fell 5.4 percent year on year in November-December, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. General retail grew 8 percent as consumers sought a mixture of gift products and experiences over the holiday period.


Jewellers are not rushing to buy, and the trade has muted expectations for the post-holiday inventory replenishment that typically occurs in January. After the continued price declines of December, dealers remain unsure whether market conditions will carry on the downward trend of 2022 or return to growth in the year ahead. (Photo courtesy: Rapaport)



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