By Brecken Branstrator
The Rapaport Group said in its monthly report for June that high rough prices squeezed profit margins for manufacturers but that suppliers held polished diamond prices firm.
New York--Diamond market sentiment was positive last month after strong demand at the Las Vegas jewelry shows, Rapaport Group said, echoing recent sentiments from De Beers.

Rapaport Group added that suppliers held polished diamond pricing firm even as there were shortages in some categories and as high rough prices squeezed manufacturing profit margins.

The RapNet Diamond Index for 1-carat diamonds was up almost 0.8 percent in June, while for 0.5-carat diamonds it was nearly flat with a 0.3 percent increase. Diamonds weighing 0.30-carats were up 3 percent and 3-carat diamonds rose 0.5 percent.

Prices strengthened during the second quarter across all four size categories, continuing the positive momentum the market has been seeing since January.

RAPI for 1-carat diamonds rose 3.4 percent in the first half of 2018 and was up 0.5 percent from a year ago on July 1, while RAPI for 0.5-carat diamonds was up 6.2 percent.

The strongest growth in polished diamond pricing for the half-year came from 0.30-carat diamonds, with a RAPI increase of 9.7 percent. Three-carat stones, meanwhile, were up 0.9 percent.

According to the Rapaport Group, the market is being supported by stable demand in the United States and China.

Retailers are requiring less inventory from polished suppliers due to increased efficiency and are relying more on memo; manufacturers and dealers are therefore adjusting their inventory to match retailer needs, resulting in slightly lower stock levels than this time last year.

Rapaport expects trade to slow in July and August as dealers in New York, Belgium and Israel go on vacation, but added in its latest report that there is optimism when it comes to the second half of the year as “jewelers and diamantaires adjust to a changing marketplace.”

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