The Rapaport monthly report states that polished diamond prices rose in February continuing the up-trend evident since November.
The report says shortages have continued to support the market while trading slowed during the month as dealers in China and Hong Kong took vacation during the Chinese New Year period.
The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds rose 0.3%in February. RAPI for 0.30ct diamonds advanced 0.4% and RAPI for 0.50ct diamonds grew 0.7%. RAPI for 3ct diamonds fell 1.2%.
RAPI for 1ct diamonds increased 1.3% during the first two months of the year but remains 7.8% below levels recorded one year ago.
The Rapaport Monthly Report demonstrates that polished prices remained firm ahead of the Hong Kong International Jewelry Show (March 1-7). Chinese buyers are expected to return to the market for the show but buying levels are uncertain due to the slowdown in China’s economy and stock market devaluations in 2016.
The uptrend in polished prices is being driven by shortages rather than growth in demand. Manufacturers increased their rough purchases and polished production in 2016 in order to fill shortages in the polished market. However, scarcities remain in the short-term as it takes three-to-four months for new polished production to enter the market.
Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, issued a cautionary statement regarding the impact of increased supply on polished prices.
Rapaport said: “The recent surge of rough diamond prices on the secondary market is dangerous and unsustainable. Current polished price levels reflect artificial shortages created by a 42% decline of rough supplies in the second half of 2015. Production is now normalizing which will soon significantly increase polished supply while overall demand remains weak.”