Diamond trading is starting to regain traction in Hong Kong with some demand from China. Hong Kong is mostly open for business, but concerns are mounting about renewed protests following new Chinese security laws. New York’s 47th Street remains closed as other parts of the US slowly begin to open. US riots over police brutality are also creating concern. India is partially active again, while bourses in Belgium and Israel are operating under health and safety guidelines.
Polished prices were stable in May amid minimal trading; business was limited to online platforms. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds rose 0.2% during the month, but has dropped 8.3% since the beginning of the year.
The slowdown in jewelry retail is affecting the rest of the market. Stores have reopened in many US states, offering virtual consultations and curbside pickup. Foot traffic remains down as shoppers favour online channels.
Jewellers have enough inventory to satisfy short-term demand, at least until the holiday season. They are expected to focus their promotions on bridal, as well as classic diamond jewellery like solitaire necklaces and tennis bracelets.
Manufacturers are trying to reduce supply. Miners’ inventories have grown during the shutdown as rough sales have slumped. Mining companies are offering more goods on their digital platforms as travel restrictions remain in place. Some are relocating their sales to Antwerp while southern Africa and India remain on lockdown.
The industry is starting to rethink its marketing message, moving to highlight diamonds as a symbol of values and emotional connections as people emerge from isolation. The new Natural Diamond Council (NDC), formerly the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), has an opportunity to reengage with younger consumers in an authentic and dynamic manner that is appropriate for today’s tough market conditions. (Rapaport Research)