Press release: 1ct. RAPI -1.5% in December; -10.7% in 2022.
Diamond markets were quiet toward the end of December as wholesalers took vacation between Christmas and New Year. Major dealers were satisfied with the holiday season but remained cautious about their short-term prospects.
Polished prices continued to decline in most categories. The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat diamonds fell 1.5% during the month and was down 10.7% for the full year.
RAPI for 0.30-carat rose 1.2% in December. The volume of 0.30-carat, D to H, IF to VS diamonds on RapNet declined around 60% during 2022, with lower supply contributing to the upturn in prices in November-December.
The midstream held historically high inventory in December. There were 1.77 million diamonds on RapNet as of January 1 — the same as a year earlier but 46% more than on January 1, 2020. Suppliers reduced prices to offload less-popular goods and raise liquidity.
Manufacturers kept polished production low. That fueled concern for post-holiday restocking, as there have been fewer newly manufactured stones available than usual. Many expect De Beers to reduce its rough prices in January to stimulate demand, especially after prices on the secondary market decreased in the fourth quarter.
Polished trading was sluggish due to the seasonal lull, the lingering economic uncertainty, and the slowdown in China. Although China eased its Covid-19 lockdowns last month, another outbreak stifled the recovery ahead of the January 22 Lunar New Year.
US jewelry sales fell 5.4% year on year in November-December, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. General retail grew 8% as consumers sought a mixture of gift products and experiences over the holiday period. Consumer confidence also rose as the outlook for inflation and employment improved, The Conference Board reported.