Jewelry Price Inflation in April 2009

Inflation at the jewelry retail and supplier end for the month of April 2009, as indicated as a percentage variation year-over-year (April 2009 versus April 2008) in the U.S. market is:

  • Jewelry Producer Price Index +0.8 percent
    • Platinum & Gold utilized in Jewelry +0.7 percent
    • Other valuable Metals utilized in Jewelry +4.0 percent
  • Jewelry & Watch Consumer Price Index +2.5 percent
    • Jewelry CPI +2.6 percent
    • Watch CPI +1.5 percent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics created a new sub-category for Jewelry Producer Price Index called “Other Precious Metals Used in Jewelry.” Earlier, these metals were incorporated in the “Platinum & Gold” category. “Jewelry made of silver; jewelry made of other metals, but clad or plated in gold, silver, or platinum; jewelry made of precious or semi-precious stones; and other miscellaneous jewelry products made from precious metals like cuff links (one of a pair of linked ornamental buttons or button like devices for fastening a shirt cuff) and money clips.” April’s inflation rate recorded 4.0 percent for this “other” precious metals category which suggests that there may be a sampling deviation that should be corrected, since there has been no corresponding increase in commodity prices to explain this type of producer price inflation.

At the retail end, inflation continues to decline, as forcasted, mainly because the anniversary date is approaching last year’s price increases which jewelers started in the second quarter of 2008. Comparisons in the initial few months of 2009 with the same period in 2008 will convey “old pricing” in 2008 versus “new higher prices” in 2009. In consecutive months in 2009, retail prices will be analyzed with the higher prices which were executed in the second quarter of 2008. As there was no material retail price hikes since mid-2008, inflation at the retail level in the U.S. market must remain unaffected. Merchants are cautious before they will execute new higher prices which might discourage their loyal customers.