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Polished Prices Slide Amid Coronavirus Fears

1 ct. RAPI -1.6% in February

Mar 3, 2020 5:00 AM   By Rapaport
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RAPAPORT PRESS RELEASE, March 3, 2020, Las Vegas… Diamond trading declined sharply in February due to economic uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. Manufacturers and dealers are facing a severe liquidity crunch as sales to China and Hong Kong have stopped.

Diamond prices dropped as a result of the slowdown, with the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds down 1.6% in February. RAPI for 0.30-carat goods, a popular category in the Chinese market, fell 2.1%.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
February Year to date
Jan. 1 to Mar. 1
Year on year
Mar. 1, 2019, to Mar. 1 2020
RAPI 0.30 ct. -2.1% 1.9% -12.8%
RAPI 0.50 ct. -1.5% 0.0% -6.5%
RAPI 1 ct. -1.6% -2.0% -9.2%
RAPI 3 ct. -3.2% -3.0% -22.3%
© Copyright 2020, Rapaport USA Inc.

The downturn in China will have a broad impact on the industry. Major trade shows in Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland, have been canceled and buyer traffic in the bourses has declined.

With Chinese retail at a standstill, the slump in jewelry sales means stores have more inventory than usual for this time of year. Chinese buyers are not expected to return to the market in the coming months. That will result in a buildup of excess goods and a squeeze on liquidity among polished-diamond suppliers.

Midstream inventory levels have already increased: The number of diamonds on RapNet stood at 1.56 million on March 1, up 14.7% since the beginning of the year. Manufacturers are reducing prices to raise cash and minimize their inventory risk.

Meanwhile, rough demand has dropped as manufacturers maintain low polished production. De Beers is trying to support the market by letting sightholders refuse goods that would typically be destined for China.

The diamond industry must align supply with lower levels of demand. Miners are stuck with surplus rough they couldn’t sell last year and will have to reassess production levels in the current weak market, as the February Rapaport Research Report outlines. At the same time, manufacturers need to make rough buying decisions based on declining polished prices and keep inventory low while the crisis persists.

To learn more about the Rapaport Research Report and to subscribe, click here.

Rapaport Media Contacts: media@diamonds.net
US: Sherri Hendricks +1-702-893-9400
International: Alex Shine +1-718-878-5138
Mumbai: Prashant Bhojani +91-97694-66855

About the Rapaport Research Report: The Rapaport Research Report provides subscribers with in-depth analysis about key themes affecting the diamond market. It also presents exclusive analytics on diamond prices for a variety of categories, based on sales and inventory data from RapNet® – The Diamond Market.

About the Rapaport 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® – The Diamond Market. www.RapNet.com has daily listings of approximately 1.6 million diamonds valued at approximately $8 billion. Additional information is available at www.diamonds.net.

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 121 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, with over 15,000 members in 97 countries and daily listings of approximately 1.6 million diamonds valued at approximately $8 billion; Rapaport Laboratory Services, providing GIA and Rapaport gemological services in India, Israel and Belgium; and Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of diamonds, selling over 500,000 carats of diamonds a year. Additional information is available at www.diamonds.net.

Image: Diamond undergoes grading by De Beers Group Industry Services (De Beers). 
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Tags: China, Coronavirus, De Beers, diamonds, Rapaport, RAPI, RapNet
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