Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses
stock_off_rapnet Instagram campaign (image from Instagram)
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has announced it will create a cross-bourse diamond trading platform, amid industry furor over recent price drops on the Rapaport Price List attributed to the market slowdown induced by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
In statements issued yesterday to the industry and the media, WFDB said the new state-of-the-art World Federation Diamond Trading Platform is being created with the needs of its members in mind. Underpinned by WFDB’s arbitration system, it can be used by all members of all bourses.
The Israel Diamond Institute has invited all WFDB members to use its international trading platform at www.get-diamonds.com while the new site is being developed.
“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. Unity in the face of crisis is the way forward for our industry. We encourage all of our member bourses to enthusiastically participate in this new venture,” WFDB President Ernie Blom said.
“We all fully understand and empathise with the feelings of concern and frustration that our members have expressed to us with regard to the current crisis and we believe that at this period, all the actors in the global diamond industry should act with full responsibility and utmost caution,” Blom continued.
In a separate statement, Israel Diamond Exchange (ISDE) President Yoram Dvash said the organisation had worked closely with the WFDB to find a solution that would serve the diamond trade in an objective, competitive and mainly transparent manner. “We believe that this new platform would strongly contribute to the promotion of the trade and to healthy competition,” Dvash said, adding that ISDE would seek “additional transparent solutions to promote and facilitate the diamond industry.”
The announcement on WFDB’s upcoming diamond trading platform came as diamond suppliers decried the 5 to 9 percent drop in polished prices across categories in the March 20 Rapaport Price List. This sparked a social media campaign on Instagram, stock_off_rapnet, that encouraged suppliers to pull their stock from the Rapaport trading platform.
At press time, a large number of suppliers had joined the movement, indicating that they had either pulled their stock from RapNet, transferred to other trading platforms, or were negotiating based on prices in the March 6, 2020 list.
Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, meanwhile, said it was vital that the Rapaport Price List reflects the current market situation. In a March 20 statement, Rapaport said, “We cannot protect the market from price changes and must maintain the credibility of our price information.”
Noting that the Rapaport Price List is used by buyers and sellers alike, he said buyers require and expect Rapaport to reflect the lower price realities of the market. “Many buyers wait for Rapaport to lower prices before buying. They want to be sure that they are trading at the correct price levels. If we do not lower prices on time, we are discouraging buying activity. While many in the diamond trade may 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,” he said.
Rapaport has since suspended the price list until May, according to industry reports.