RAPAPORT... The Diamond Trading Company (DTC) February sight ended Wednesday with an estimated value of $600 million. The De Beers distribution unit kept prices stable with minor adjustments on specific items. The sight one year ago this month was estimated at $690 million.
Sight participants noted that the mood has improved slightly since the January sight largely due to better Indian demand on the back of a more stable rupee. The rupee hit a peak of INR 54 to the dollar in late December, but has since stabilized at around INR 49 in February.
One sightholder noted that Indian goods are starting to trade at high single-digit premiums again, but suspected that Indian dealers are pushing prices higher to raise the value of their inventories before the financial year ends on March 31, 2012.
Reports indicated that DTC made a slight reduction on rough that is polished to melee stones, which are popular in the Indian market, and that prices on these goods also softened at the recent BHP Billiton tender. Prices on most other BHP Billiton ranges increased slightly.
Most sightholders who spoke with Rapaport News indicated that in general premiums on DTC boxes have improved with most boxes of 4 grainers and up selling at around list or at slight discounts.
Still, many complained that DTC prices are high and that manufacturers are struggling to profit from their cutting and polishing activity. “Rough prices still remain firm so to make business viable, polished prices will have to go up because it doesn’t seem that rough producers are in the mood to reduce prices,” said one sightholder.
Another sightholder noted that while prices remain high, he was not aware that anyone refused goods from DTC at the sight.
Rapaport estimates indicate that through the first two sights of the year, DTC sales are down 14 percent to $1.25 billion.