Las Vegas jewellery shows reveal market is stable but cautious.
Rapaport has released its diamond report for May, detailing that certified polished diamond prices were steady during May, with the US remaining stable, and Europe still slow due to reduced consumer confidence.
Rapaport added that liquidity is “tight" and manufacturing profit margins low. Rough prices remain unsustainable and are expected to decline.
The recent jewellery shows in Las Vegas “were mixed with strong demand from high-end retailers”.
Indian buyers were said to be a no-show in Las Vegas due to the weak rupee and sluggish domestic demand, while Israeli buyers “were aggressively looking for polished goods”.
There is said to be significant improvement in demand for fancy shapes, especially square fancy shapes.
In May, the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1 ct. diamonds fell 0.6%. The 0.3 ct. category declined by 0.3% and the 0.5 ct. stones dropped 0.4%.
The RAPI for 3 ct. diamonds fell 1.6% during the month. Through the first five months of the year, RAPI for 1 ct. diamonds fell 1.7% and has declined by 4.5% from one year ago.
Polished inventories are stable but trading levels are low with shortages of well-made polished goods, particularly fancy shapes and SI clarity rounds.
Indian cutters are in the process of returning from their summer vacations but manufacturing levels are thought to be below capacity.
Rapaport said polished buyers expect prices to soften due to the weak economic environment but suppliers are holding their prices firm due to expensive rough.
Rough prices have also softened with an estimated 7% decline in BHP Billiton prices. De Beers and ALROSA production remains below capacity and rough supply is limited.
Sightholders hoping that De Beers will reduce prices or improve assortments at the next Diamond Trading Company sight, which begins today.
While there is a sense of stability in the market, uncertainty prevails. Buyers remain conservative and inventories across the pipeline are controlled. Trading is set to remain challenging in the second half of the year.