The diamond market was steady in September with better-than-expected sentiment at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.
The latest RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) from the Rapaport Group found the polished market was supported by “relatively high” rough prices as suppliers held polished prices firm, preferring to delay sales rather than suffer losses from expensive rough.
The price of 1-carat, GIA-graded polished diamonds fell 0.2% in December, while 0.50-carat and 3-carat diamonds also both fell 0.2%. The only polished diamond to see a price increase was 0.30-carat at 0.3%.
The Hong Kong show signalled three trends affecting the diamond market; dealer demand improved but sales were limited; manufacturers increased polished production even though profit margins tightened; and Chinese demand stabilised at levels well below those of the expansion years.
The report said the diamond market is re-adjusting to lower retail inventory requirements, particularly in the Far East where jewelers have halted or scaled down their store expansion programmes.
Polished manufacturing is expected to soften for the rest of the year as dealers concentrate on filling final Christmas orders, while consumer spending is expected to be cautious due to economic volatility and political uncertainty.