The RapNet Diamond Index for 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds was unchanged in the month of March and is up 1 percent in the first quarter.
New York--Steady dealer trading helped polished diamond prices to remain stable in March, even as the outlook for global consumer demand remains “uncertain,” the Rapaport Group said in its monthly price report.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) for 1-carat and half-carat diamonds graded by the Gemological Institute of America was flat for the month, while the RAPI for 0.3-carat and 3-carat stones fell very slightly.

The RAPI slipped 0.6 percent for 0.3-carat diamonds and 0.4 percent for 3-carat stones.  

In the first quarter of 2016, 1-carat polished prices are up 1 percent; prices for 0.3-carat stones have risen 6 percent; half-carat prices are up 5 percent; and the RAPI for 3-carat diamonds is down 3 percent.

Rapaport said the first quarter of 2016 has proved to be “relatively positive” for the diamond trade, though trading largely has been driven by dealers looking to replenish select inventory to fill existing orders. Jewelers and diamond dealers remain cautious in their buying, uncertain where consumer demand is going.

In Q1, some new polished production sold better than leftover stock, and there was “positive energy” among dealers at the Hong Kong show while there was “frustration” at Baselworld amid cautious European luxury demand and weak economic sentiment.

In the coming months, a larger volume of polished goods is expected to enter the market, given the estimated 20 percent increase in manufacturing levels this year, as companies resumed cutting and polishing diamonds after the drop-off at the end of 2015.

Rapaport said rough diamond demand is expected to soften in the second quarter because polished production has increased more than demand.

Manufacturers’ profitability has returned as polished prices have increased, and Rapaport said that rough from De Beers is in demand, as many believe the company is currently offering the best value to manufacturers.

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