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Diamond & Specialty Minerals Summary for Jan. 20, 2023

2023-01-20 20:49 ET - Market Summary

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by Will Purcell

The diamond and specialty minerals stocks box score on Friday was an upbeat 131-69-110 as the TSX Venture Exchange rose seven points to 623. Not so fast, Mr. Pessimist: Just when it looked like rough diamond prices would continue to fall, Paul Zimnisky's global rough diamond price index rallied 0.6 per cent, ending a two-week, 1-per-cent slide.

Nevertheless, prices remain 12.5 per cent lower than the high they reached in mid-February of 2022. The good news is that the 1.5 per-cent-per-month decline last spring and summer has flattened to half that rate since early October. Current rough diamond prices are 19 per cent higher than in mid-January of 2018 and are 15 per cent higher than 10 years ago -- percentages that highlight the bleak years between 2013 and 2018, when rough diamond prices relentlessly edged lower despite never-ending optimism that better days were just ahead.

Rosy price predictions continue to flourish. Vladimir Putin's not so special military operation triggered massive Western sanctions against most things Russian, including Alrosa, the country's state-controlled diamond miner. That was supposed to send rough prices soaring, but with Mr. Putin's three-day war now nearing its first anniversary, with over a thousand of Russia's tanks having popped their tops like a jack-in-the-box and with Russia's casualties now greater than the size of its invading army, there is no end to the war in sight -- or, therefore, to the inflation that has caused rough prices to decline.

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