After the tumultuous year in industry, diamond traders and retailers may start breathing a sigh of relief as polished diamond prices slightly recovered in December. The RapNet Diamond Index for 1 carat stones increased 2% in December, while the index for 0.3 carat and 0.5 carat stones rose 5% and 3% respectively. The IDEX Polished Diamond Price Index also increased by around 1%, from 123.2 to 124.4 during the month.
Except for 4 carat, all major stone categories showed price increase in the IDEX Index. Similarly, the 3 carat diamond prices fell slightly in the RapNet Index. However, for the complete year, polished diamond prices dipped.
Increase in diamond prices in December are reported to be primarily on account of the holiday season and shortage in polished stones in some size categories. According to Rapaport, initial reports of the jewelry retail sales during the US holiday season are indicated to be up by around 8% and 50-60% in online mobile sales.
Despite this, the dealers and retailers may not just yet stock up on polished stone inventory due to continuing uncertainty in the market for post-holiday season sales and Chinese New Year. Some reports also indicate that diamond sales are generally losing their sparkle. Annual polished diamond exports from Israel decreased by 20%+ in 2015. Similarly, in India, jewelry exports are expected to decline by around 10% in 2015-16 financial year, a 6 year low.
During the year, rough prices of both De Beers and Alrosa declined nearly 15%. Besides, De Beers is expected to reduce its rough prices again in its next sight scheduled on 18th-22nd January. Recovery of polished diamond prices coupled with decrease in rough prices have brought some cheer to the Indian diamond cutting and polishing sector, which is going through a very hard time. Diamond wholesalers globally are also expected to shine again and diamond mining industry to grow at 5% CAGR during 2015-19 period.