"Diamond prices softened slightly in October amid slow trading as businesses closed for Indian and Jewish holidays," according to Rapaport's latest press release. "Polished inventory levels dropped during the month, but remain higher than usual for this time of year, exerting downward pressure on prices." They note that the number of unique diamonds listed on RapNet has increased 18% since January to 1.4 million, as dealers are holding large volumes of hard-to-move goods and seeing shortages of select in-demand categories, such as RapSpec A3+, SI-clarity diamonds. Rapaport further notes, "Jewelers are maintaining cautious inventory controls as they adjust to the new consumer reality, and diamond buying has consequently contracted. Manufacturers have built up polished inventory, due to aggressive rough buying in the first half."
Meanwhile, the RapNet Diamond Index for 1-carat diamonds slid 0.2% in October and has declined 4.7% since January, but prices for 0.50-carat stones have fallen more precipitously; -1.8% in October, but -18.1% for the year to date and -20.7% YoY. Prices in the category of 0.30-carat diamonds have seen little movement, while larger sizes are performing better, increasing 4.5% for the first ten months of the year. The Rapaport Monthly Report for November 2017 notes that the US and Chinese jewelry markets are showing signs of sales growth. Rapaport expects to see stable diamond trading in the next two months, "with demand shifting to the Far East ahead of the Chinese New Year. The first quarter will likely see stronger activity as jewelers replenish stock following the Christmas season, hopefully enabling dealers to reduce their built-up inventory."