Diamond prices are getting slashed, but that doesn’t mean you should run out to the jewelry store right now.
De Beers, the world’s largest producer and distributor of diamonds by value, is cutting diamond prices by as much as 9 percent, according to Bloomberg.
Diamond prices have already slumped over the past year as demand has fallen, partly as a result of the economic slowdown in China, the second-biggest market for the precious stones.
De Beers, which is a unit of mining giant Anglo American and controls one-third of the global diamond market, initially tried to stabilize prices by ramping down its production. It had started the year with a production goal of 34 million carats, but has twice slashed the goal to a current 29 million to 31 million carats.
That hasn’t been enough to counterbalance sagging demand, so De Beers says it will invest in a holiday marketing campaign in an attempt to boost consumer interest. The campaign will be focused in the U.S. and China, the world’s two leading diamond markets, and will primarily target men buying diamond jewelry gifts for their partners.
In other words, you can expect to see a whole lot of diamond commercials soon — and in an interview with The Fiscal Times, one diamond industry expert predicted that the industry’s struggles will lead at least some retailers to cut prices this holiday season.
The De Beers price cuts probably won’t have much effect on prices at high-end jewelry retailers such as Tiffany’s, though. These stores only purchase gems from a limited number of producers and since the diamonds they use are higher in value, their prices aren’t as vulnerable to market pressures as less valuable stones.
But it never hurts to look, right?
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“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.
The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.