Diamond prices softened slightly in October amid slow trading as businesses closed for Indian and Jewish holidays. Polished inventory levels dropped during the month, but remain higher than usual for this time of year, exerting downward pressure on prices.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds slid 0.2% in October and has declined 4.7% since January.The Rapaport Monthly Report – November 2017 notes that the US and Chinese jewelry markets are showing signs of sales growth. However, fewer jewelers are operating in the US: 228 businesses closed in the third quarter, while just 40 opened, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.
Jewelers who can create a sense of community, tell an authentic story, guarantee ethical sourcing, and mesh online engagement with their in-store experience are gaining market share and will have a successful holiday season.
Jewelers are maintaining cautious inventory controls as they adjust to the new consumer reality, and diamond buying has consequently contracted. Manufacturers have built up polished inventory, due to aggressive rough buying in the first half.
The number of unique diamonds listed on RapNet has increased 18% since January to 1.4 million. Dealers are holding large volumes of hard-to-move goods and seeing shortages of select in-demand categories, such as RapSpec A3+, SI-clarity diamonds.
Rough trading slowed in October due to low profitability and Indian manufacturers closing for three weeks over Diwali. Still, mining companies remain bullish about rough supply. In the third quarter, global production rose to its highest quarterly level since 2008.
Stable diamond trading is expected in the next two months, with demand shifting to the Far East ahead of the Chinese New Year. The first quarter will likely see stronger activity as jewelers replenish stock following the Christmas season, hopefully enabling dealers to reduce their built-up inventory.