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Diamond Prices Slide in March as COVID-19 Spreads

1 ct. RAPI down 8.7% in 1Q
Apr 7, 2020 8:06 AM   By Rapaport
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RAPAPORT PRESS RELEASE, April 7, 2020, Las Vegas…Diamond prices fell in March as the spreading coronavirus led to a dramatic decline in the global economy. Diamond markets are under pressure and facing a severe liquidity crisis as jewelry retail, diamond manufacturing and trading shut down.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds dropped 6.8% during the month and 8.7% in the first quarter.

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™)
March 1Q 2020 Year on year
Apr. 1, 2019, to Apr. 1 2020
RAPI 0.30 ct. -5.0% -3.2% -6.5%
RAPI 0.50 ct. -4.9% -4.9% -9.5%
RAPI 1 ct. -6.8% -8.7% -13.1%
© Copyright 2020, Rapaport USA Inc.

Prices slumped amid slowing demand and increasing supply. Manufacturers bought large volumes of rough between December and February, anticipating strong inventory replacement after a good US holiday season. De Beers’ rough sales exceeded $1.3 billion in those three months preceding the pandemic, while Alrosa’s reached $1.1 billion.

De Beers canceled its March sight, and Alrosa allowed customers to defer their full allocations in early April. Rough prices are expected to decline when sales resume. Prices at March rough auctions slid 15% to 25%. Meanwhile, production at the major mining companies has continued, adding to the inflated inventory they held at the beginning of the year.

Polished demand weakened as the coronavirus intensified. Polished exports from India fell 41% year on year in February. Shipments from Belgium dropped 38%, and Israel’s plummeted by 73%. Inventory rose among diamond manufacturers and dealers, with new supply becoming available while demand stayed frozen. We estimate that midstream inventory increased 20% from the beginning of the year to mid-March.

It is unclear how long the pandemic will continue and the full extent to which it will impact the global economy. The industry must emphasize online trading and improve its e-commerce jewelry platforms in this environment. It must also prepare strong marketing campaigns for when demand recovers.

Following this period of quarantine and isolation, people will crave emotional connections more than ever, providing the industry an opportunity to strengthen the desirability and value of diamonds.

For in-depth diamond price, supply and demand data, subscribe to the Rapaport Research Report 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 of 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). 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; 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: Table top shot of rough and polished diamonds next to each other (De Beers).
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Tags: Alrosa, De Beers, Diamond prices, diamonds, Jewelry, Rapaport, RAPI, RapNet
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