Polished Prices Firm Ahead of Holiday Season

Business Wire IndiaDiamond market sentiment improved in September as jewelers started to prepare for the fourth-quarter holiday season. Optimism was tempered by a continued rise in global Covid-19 cases and renewed government restrictions in key trading centers.
Polished prices firmed due to shortages and rising holiday orders. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat diamonds rose 2.3% during the month and was up 1.9% since the beginning of the year.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI)
  September YTD   Y2Y 
    Jan. 1 to Oct. 1 Oct. 1, 2019, to Oct. 1, 2020
RAPI 0.30 ct. 4.3% 5.2% 16.5%
RAPI 0.50 ct. 6.3% 14.7% 19.9%
RAPI 1 ct. 2.3% 1.9% 1.8%
RAPI 3 ct. 2.3% -3.1% -3.7%

© Copyright 2020, Rapaport USA Inc.
Polished inventory levels are well below those of previous years. Manufacturing has gone down drastically since March due to the coronavirus constraints. Large Surat-based factories are currently operating at an estimated 60% to 70% of capacity. 
Selective buying has left suppliers struggling to fill orders due to the scarcity of stones in specific categories. Demand is steady and prices firm for 1-carat, D-F, IF-VVS goods. Inventory of 0.30- to 0.50-carat diamonds has increased in recent months as the easing of Indian government restrictions has allowed manufacturers to raise production.  
The rough market was robust during September, continuing the momentum from the previous month. Manufacturing profit margins improved after De Beers lowered prices of rough diamonds below 1 carat by 5% to 10% at its sight. It had made similar adjustments for larger goods in August.  
Jewelers are mainly focused on sourcing memo goods, but some are beginning to make bulk orders for the season. High-end retailers are seeing solid interest in distinctive pieces among wealthy clients. The bridal category is supporting the broader jewelry market.
There is growing anticipation for the holidays as consumers seek to express emotions with more meaningful gifting during the pandemic. A rise in diamond category marketing has boosted optimism as well: The trade can now capitalize on the Natural Diamond Council’s high-profile “For Moments Like No Other” advertising campaign.
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