Polished-diamond prices declined in April due to continued oversupply and selective Far East demand. US jewelry sales remain firm, helping to support the global trade.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds slid 0.5% in April. The index has fallen 1% so far this year, and 3% since May 1, 2018.
Large inventories of lower-quality old goods are available, and suppliers are willing to discount them to raise cash. Liquidity is tight, as Indian credit lines declined after the March 31 fiscal year-end. Manufacturers reduced rough purchases in the first quarter, hoping to ease liquidity concerns by depleting polished stock.
Combined rough sales by De Beers and Alrosa dropped 19% by volume and an estimated 30% by value in the first quarter. Mining companies are planning to reduce supply, with global production down approximately 6% during the period.
Polished supply continues to rise. The volume of diamonds listed on RapNet as of May 1 was up 7% since the beginning of the year, coming to 1.6 million stones valued at $8.23 billion. RapNet listings have grown 22% over the past 12 months, with a significant increase in 0.30- to 0.50-carat, G-J, VS-SI diamonds.
US demand for 1.00 to 1.50-carat diamonds is steady ahead of the summer wedding season. The country’s polished imports fell slightly in the first two months of the year, with more goods at lower prices. US jewelry sales are stable, even with the number of specialty jewelers declining, as outlined in the April edition of the Rapaport Research Report.