The first half was a bit lacklustre since China was struggling with covid, and markets taking a breather after a huge rally in demand of luxury goods post covid.
Indian as an economy is doing extremely well which is quite evident from the fact that the stock markets are at an all-time high. India's growth story cannot be ignored anymore with it touching 3.75 trillion and poised for further up move in the second half. With the festivities and wedding season kicking in, in the second half, we see a very strong demand for the natural diamond studded jewellery. There is 20-25% increase in marriages in India this year as compared to last year which can boost the natural diamond demand in the coming days.
If we see the other regions, they are also providing positive signals be it the US with the employment data and the consumer confidence index data which is very strong. China has been subdued for a while but with the golden week in October and replenishment needs, we see an uptick in demand in the next couple of months.
The European brands are shining bright with demands quite steady throughout. In fact, we see shortages in certain sizes and better qualities which these brands are predominantly using owing to rough shortages. As far as the pricing is concerned, I don't see too much fluctuation from the current prices and if at all, we can witness a higher single to double digit increase in certain small sizes where there is genuine shortage.
One thing I would like to clarify here is that there are many negative rounds doing this industry pertaining to the falling prices it is actually half-truth. The prices of 30 pointers and above goods have definitely declined 25-30% from the peak of March 2022 but in actual terms, it's just a 10-12% decline because we saw almost 15% jump in prices in March 2022 which the industry did not absorb, so in all it's just a healthy decline. Also we have to understand that prices of goods below 30points have been very steady but since larger goods declined, it made a negative rumoured impact on the smaller sizes where as in contrary, the rough prices actually became even stronger due to shortages.
Going further, if we consider the current pricing as the benchmark, I am cautiously optimistic of an increase in prices of smaller size goods as the inventory in the entire pipeline, be it rough or the polished, is negligible. And with the wedding & festive season kicking in globally, I won't be surprised to see a sporadic increase in demand and a steady increase in prices.
One important thing which I want to mention in the end is that since it's a natural commodity, 2-5% increase in prices year on year is very healthy for the entire chain from the miner to the retail, but prices moving sporadically can damage not only the industry but the consumer sentiments as well.
As an industry, it is our collective duty that we make sure not to engage in speculation when the markets are trading at highs or to spread negative sentiments when the business is slow, after all ours is one of the oldest industries and its future is entirely in our own hands.
Natural diamonds are rare, and will continue to be so as they are more than a billion years old and hold a very strong sentimental value.