Diamond industry sentiment has sunk to where it was in 2008, when the financial crisis froze all buying and selling, according to online trading service RapNet.
Polished prices have consistently dropped since the beginning of the year, it said, adding that rough prices have remained steady, squeezing manufacturer margins.
“Cutters usually make large-scale rough purchases in July and August as they ramp up polished production for the Christmas season,” said an accompanying note. “That is not the case this year.”
It hopes the lack of activity will trigger a decline in rough prices, which would restore profitability to manufacturers.
RapNet’s index (RAPI) for 1 ct. diamonds slid 2.5 percent in July. The RAPI for 0.3 ct. diamonds sank 6.3 percent, and its measurement for 0.5 ct. diamonds tumbled 4.7 percent. Faring better were 3 ct. diamonds, which tumbled only 1.7 percent. The RAPI for 1 ct. diamonds fell 2.8 percent, and the 1 ct. index has nose-dived some 14.1 percent from a year ago.
However, in its monthly report, IDEX found that polished prices generally held steady in July. Both services use different methodologies: RapNet tracks specific stones, while IDEX tracks the overall market.
IDEX agreed that 0.5 ct. diamonds dropped significantly in price, along with 4 caraters. Stones from 1 ct. to 3 cts. posted varying gains, it said.