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RapNet members have called for the Rapaport Price List to be suspended, while others have withdrawn goods from the platform.
RapNet members have called for the Rapaport Price List to be suspended, while others have withdrawn goods from the platform.

Furore as diamond prices fall; Rapaport Price List suspended

A revision in the Rapaport Price List, published on 20 March, prompted hundreds of sellers to remove their products from the RapNet trading platform and vote to suspend the List for the first time in its history.

RapNet listed prices dropped 5–9 per cent across most diamond categories.

Rapaport founder and chairman Martin Rapaport said the prices reflected significant changes in the diamond market amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Martin Rapaport, Rapaport DIamonds
Martin Rapaport, Rapaport DIamonds
"It is vital that the Rapaport Price List reflects the realities of the market even when such realities are not pleasant or welcome"
Martin Rapaport, chairman Rapaport

“It is vital that the Rapaport Price List reflects the realities of the market even when such realities are not pleasant or welcome,” he explained.

“We cannot protect the market from price changes and must maintain the credibility of our price information.”

He added, “Buyers require and expect Rapaport to reflect the lower price realities of the market. We cannot misrepresent prices for the benefit of sellers, and we must not mislead buyers. While many in the diamond trade wish to maintain inventory values, this is not possible in the current environment.

“The most important thing is for the market to resume trading activity and provide liquidity as soon as possible.”

The price changes significantly devalued the inventory of RapNet’s more than 7,000 members, with one describing it as “thoughtless" and “miscalculated”.

Shortly after the new prices were published, protesting members created an Instagram account, @stock_off_rapnet, to encourage companies to withdraw their goods from the platform.

Protesting members created an Instagram account, @stock_off_rapnet, to encourage companies to withdraw their goods from the platform.
Protesting members created an Instagram account, @stock_off_rapnet, to encourage companies to withdraw their goods from the platform.

At the time of publication, the Instagram account had more than 1,900 followers and had published the logos of 600 companies that had removed their stock from RapNet.

In an interview with US publication National Jeweler, Martin Rapaport said, “I am doing my job: to communicate diamond prices and to establish a fair balance. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it, don’t use it. [But] I can’t put out false information.”

Indeed, some members announced their defection to rival trading platforms, such as IDEX, which publishes real-time pricing information updated hourly. Its Diamond Index indicated polished diamond prices fell on average 2–4 per cent from 1 to 23 March.

Meanwhile, other RapNet members have requested that the 20 March Rapaport Price List be recalled and for further Price Lists to be suspended until 1 May.

Martin Rapaport confirmed the List would be suspended following a member vote taken earlier this week, in which 72 per cent were in favour. He called the suspension "an extraordinary step we are taking as an act of solidarity with the trade".

RapNet will also allow members to list diamonds for sale anonymously from 30 March. 

Alternative for diamond dealers

Meanwhile, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has announced it will develop its own online diamond trading platform for all bourse members.

Ernie Blom
Ernie Blom
"If there is any silver lining to COVID-19, it has taught us that all diamond bourses should come together, promote and facilitate the diamond trade"
Ernie Blom, World Federation of Diamond Bourses

The platform will be “created with the needs of WFDB members in mind and backed by the peace of mind that comes with knowing that every transaction will be protected by the WFDB’s unparalleled and unique arbitration system,” according to a statement from the WFDB executive committee.

Ernie Blom, president WFDB, said, “If there is any silver lining and benefit to COVID-19, it has taught us that all diamond bourses should come together, promote and facilitate the diamond trade in order for members of every bourse to trade freely with one another and to feel safe while doing so.”

While the WFDB platform is being developed, the Israel Diamond Institute has opened its Get Diamonds international trading service to WFDB-affiliated bourse members.

 

More reading:
The white diamond report: evolution and surivival
An interview with Rapaport, the diamond maverick

 











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