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by Will Purcell
The diamond and specialty minerals stocks box score on Friday was a positive 96-76-128 as the TSX Venture Exchange rose 12 points to 937. While the post-COVID-19 surge in rough diamond prices does appear over, the subsequent decline has been subtle. Rough prices rose 0.2 per cent last week according to Paul Zimnisky's global rough diamond price index, a modest upward move that follows three equally small declines. The modest squiggles since rough prices peaked in early August sum to a 1.1-per-cent decline over the past two months.
The decline notwithstanding, chart gazers might think that the diamond market is doing rather well. Prices are 27 per cent higher than a year ago and are up 40 per cent from the depth of their COVID-19 depression, in early spring of 2020. Nevertheless, the long-term pattern is not as rosy, as prices are barely 10 per cent higher than five years ago and are up just 3 per cent over the past decade.
Indeed, current prices are 15 per cent lower than in early 2011, when diamantaires and promoters were all agog at the prospects for rough in the years ahead. Unfortunately, that bubble burst and today, when promoters grouse about the difficulty in raising cash during trying times, it is unclear if they are talking about the COVID crisis or the lingering fallout from the Great Recession.
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