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Rapaport TradeWire March 16, 2012

Mar 15, 2012 6:00 PM   By Rapaport
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  Rapaport TradeWire  
Rapaport TradeWire
RAPAPORT NEWS SERVICE | March 16, 2012   www.rapaport.com | news@rapaport.com
 
 
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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment March 16, 2012

Fairly good activity at Basel show with demand for large fancy color and fancy shapes. Indian jewelers expected to limit diamond buying ahead of March 31 financial year-end. Diamdel sells 93% by lot at Feb. rough auction with good demand despite high prices and tight cutter profit margins. Tiffany & Co. countersues Swatch Group for $590M damages in failed marketing partnership. U.S. Jan. polished imports -5% to $1.5B, polished exports -7% to $1.2B. Israel Feb. polished exports -81% to $138M. Botswana creates Okavango Diamond Trading Company to conduct government rough sales. The Rapaport Group extends sincere condolences to our colleagues in Belgium following tragic bus crash.

RapNet Data: Mar. 15
     
Diamonds   870,377
Value $5,749,847,974
Carats   914,618
Average Discount -26.50%

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RAPAPORT ANNOUNCEMENTS
March
19-29
Mon-Thu
Rapaport
Rapaport Melee Auction
New York & Belgium

email: auctions@rapaport.com
March
20-28
Tue-Wed
Rapaport
Rapaport Single Stone Auction 
Israel & Belgium  

email: auctions@rapaport.com

  QUOTE OF THE WEEK
  The first rough sales of 2012 met with solid improvement in demand across all product categories and geographies. All our indicators point towards a continued, broad-based strengthening in demand in the coming weeks and into early second-quarter.

Neil Ventura | Diamdel

Careers@Rapaport  
 
The Rapaport Group is growing rapidly. If you wish to work with the best and brightest, join us. We have great opportunities for trading managers, gemologists, sales assistants, and entry level positions for our offices in New York, Antwerp, Mumbai, Dubai, and Shanghai. To get on the fast track, email your resume to careers@rapaport.com.


INDUSTRY  
 
Diamdel Auction 93% Sold by Lot

Diamdel concluded its latest rough auction, which it calls "Diamdel Days," and observed that all major markets showed improved demand for rough goods with the greatest increase coming from buyers out of India. Diamdel's auction was 93% sold by lot. Demand was also greatly improved from Israel and Belgium. Buyers out of the Asia-Pacific region were showing a steady demand for diamonds in February. Diamdel offered 323 lots of rough diamonds, which spanned large, 2-carat-plus sizes, grainers, smalls and near-gem products.



 
Goldman Sachs: Prices to Hold Firm

Goldman Sachs predicted that diamond prices should remain firm this year due to strong demand from India and China. Analysts Eugene King and Fletcher Tully wrote that stronger demand from India as the rupee has appreciated against the dollar will lower costs for domestic consumption. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also expects to lower the reserve ratio and add $9.6 billion in lending capacity, which should ease access to funds for the trade. Analysts stated that China's plan to have a more consumer-driven economy should provide a boost for the industry. “Coupled with the expected cut to taxes on imported luxury items later this year, we believe the diamond market in China is poised to experience an extended period of strong demand,” they explained.



 
Richey Wins Design Business Incubator Contest

WATCH NOW: Dealer trends from Baselworld 2012 indicated that yellow diamonds, in particular, were hot while blue and pink stones experienced good demand. Generally there was good interest in fancies in the 0.50-carat to 15-carat range while demand for rounds was more subdued. High-end watches proved to be in good demand and the jewelry brands indicated strong interest from European and Asian buyers for very high-end diamond jewelry.

In this broadcast, Petra Diamonds' Johan Dippenaar explains how the diamond mining company expects to meet growing global demand for rough diamonds in the next two years. Prices have recovered from their slump in third-quarter 2011 and Dippenaar observes very good demand for small stones especially from India and China.

From New York, a group of jewelry industry professionals launched a program, the Future of Design Business Incubator Contest, for which jewelry designers competed in an effort to show a strong case for their designs as well as marketing and business plans. Cindy Edelstein of the Jewelers' Resource Bureau explains how the project arrived at this final stage and selected one incubator winner during the MJSA Expo in Manhattan.



RETAIL & WHOLESALE  
 
Jewelry Store Sales +4%

U.S. department store sales rose 4.8% year on year to $13.42 billion in February, marking the strongest increase in two years. In the government's more detailed report, which lags by two months, found that jewelry store sales increased 4.3% in January to $1.72 billion, but that rate of growth was far below the increase of jewelry price inflation for the month. As reported by Rapaport News on February 17, consumer price inflation for jewelry in January set a new record and surged 8.2%.



 
New Botswana Firm to Sell, Market Rough

Botswana created the Okavango Diamond Trading Company, a private diamond firm that will buy, market and sell 10% to 15%  of Debswana's production, which the country is entitled to do according to terms of the recent marketing agreement signed with De Beers in 2011. The new company expects to  auction rough diamonds worth $300 million to $350 million per year on to the open market from  Debswana's average of $3 billion-a-year supply, according to Mmegi.



 
Tiffany Files Against Swatch

The Swatch Group and Tiffany & Co. ended their joint marketing agreement in September and now both parties claim damages for the failed partnership. Swatch sued Tiffany & Co. for $4.1 billion (CHF 3.8 billion) in December 2011 for lost revenue and profits related to the agreement and now Tiffany & Co. sued Swatch with a counter claim for $590 million (CHF 542 million). Both parties vow to vigorously contest the claims.



 
Gemesis Increases Marketing Efforts

Gemesis Diamond Company is in full production for lab-created colorless and fancy yellow diamonds and it sells direct to the public at www.gemesis.com. The company is promoting the advantages of lab-created stones to consumers online through its public relations agency, French|West|Vaughan. Gemesis also developed its own fine jewelry line. In addition to selling product via its website, which includes a "Create Your Own" jewelry component, Gemesis will offer parallel sales through select retailers and provide consumer education about lab-created stones versus mined diamonds.



 
Christie's NY to Auction Clark Jewels

Christie’s New York will auction an exceptional collection of jewelry from the estate of Huguette M. Clark, who passed away in 2011 two weeks shy of her 105th birthday. Clark is described as one of the last great heiresses of the country's Gilded Age. Her jewelry collection, which is believed to have been stored in a bank vault since the 1940s, includes signed art deco jewels by Cartier, Dreicer & Co., and Tiffany & Co. The entire sale, which will be held April 17 in Manhattan, carries a presale estimate of $9 million to $12 million. The top lot is a 9.00-carat, cushion-cut fancy vivid purplish-pink diamond that is mounted in a Belle Époque setting by the French jeweler Dreicer & Co. Based upon the date of the stone’s setting, circa 1910, the ring is believed to have originally belonged to Clark’s mother, Anna Eugenia La Chapelle, and it carries a presale estimate of $6 million to $8 million.



 
Sotheby's HK Jewels Sale on April 3

Sotheby’s Hong Kong will hold its Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale 2012 on April 3 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Many important and extremely rare blue and pink diamonds, Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies and Kashmir sapphires, natural pearls and exquisite jadeite jewelry mark this auction, which altogether includes 358 lots and a total presale estimate of $75 million to $92 million (HKD 587 million to HKD 717 million). The Hong Kong sale is led by an 8.01-carat, VVS1, emerald-cut fancy vivid blue diamond and diamond ring with a presale estimate of $11.5 million to $14 million. Sotheby's stated this was the largest vivid blue, emerald cut to appear at auction for a number of years.



 
New Owners for Van Craeynest

The Emerson family of Redlands, California purchased Van Craeynest, an 86-year old San Francisco-based vintage Victorian jewelry manufacturer. The Van Craeynest and Emerson families were working together on the transition to not only keep the apprenticeship model of workmanship thriving, but to expand the Van Craeynest jewelry line into more independent jewelry stores.



 
Gitanjali Expands to Singapore

Gitanjali Gems Ltd. established a Singapore-based jewelry retail and distribution company with the mission of expanding its business in the country and throughout the Far East. Leading Singapore Jewels Pte. Ltd. was incorporated through Aston Luxury Group Ltd., Gitanjali’s Hong Kong-based subsidiary. The main activity of Leading Singapore Jewels will be retailing and distribution of jewelry, Mumbai-based Gitanjali stated.



 
Singleton to Head Piercing Pagoda

Zale Corporation appointed Jamie Singleton as senior vice president and general manager of Piercing Pagoda, effective March 27. In this role, Singleton will have overall responsibility for the company’s kiosk business and will report to Theo Killion, Zale's chief executive. Singleton most recently served as senior vice president of business expansion at CPI Corporation where she led the integration of Bella Pictures Inc., an Internet-based wedding photography company.



 
BDB to Auction Office Space

The Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) will hold an online auction for leasing space from April 11 to 14. The BDB complex has an area of 20 acres with 1.8 million square feet of space, houses 2,500 offices and one million square feet of basement parking. Currently 2,400 diamond traders have offices in the BDB complex.



MINING  
 
Biti: Diamond Revenue Falls Short

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Tendai Biti (pictured), again claimed diamond revenue from the Marange has not arrived at the Treasury. Biti noted that diamond revenue was so far was only $19 million through early March, but the Treasury projected $600 million in revenue, or roughly $50 million per month, for the entire year. In an effort to persuade human rights activists and NGOs that Marange area abuses have ceased, the government sponsored a tour of the diamond fields. The tour, however, failed to fully reassure activists, who argued that they were not given the opportunity to talk with local villagers or to roam freely and observe the actual health of the mining region.



 
Stornoway Deal to Net $15M

Stornoway Diamond Corporation entered into a bought-deal financing agreement with Scotiabank for 15 million units, where each unit will be priced at $1, exercisable for one common share of Stornoway for no additional consideration, plus one-half of a common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant entitles a holder to acquire one share at a price of $1.20 for a period of 24 months following closing of the offering. Net proceeds will be used for pre-development capital expenditures of the Renard diamond project and for general corporate purposes. Stornoway expects the closing to occur on or about March 28, subject to approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.



 
Firestone Widens Loss

Firestone Diamonds released interim results for the six months that ended on December 31, and reported that while revenue rose 88% year on year to $3 million, costs surged more than eight-fold leaving the company with an operating loss of $13.5 million. The company also announced restructuring program to focus on Lesotho and a new round of funding it expects will reach $23 million.



STATS  
 
Israel

  $Mil. Feb. %Chng. $Mil. YTD %Chng.
Polished exports $138 -81% $706 -47%
Polished imports NA   NA  
Net exports NA   NA  
         
Rough imports NA   NA  
Rough exports $187 -50% $429 -44%
Net imports NA   NA  
         
Net diamond account ($302)   ($7)  


 
USA

  $Mil. Jan. %Chng.
Polished imports $1,522 -5%
Polished exports $1,180 -7%
Net imports $339 1%
     
Rough imports $38 -32%
Rough exports $50 47%
Net imports ($12)  
     
Net diamond account $327 -6%


ECONWATCH  
 
Diamond Industry Stock Report

Shares in LJ International and Goenka Diamonds soared 11%, Zale was up 7%, Gemfields saw it stock jump 26% and Petra leaped 15%. Read the extended industry stock report for this past week.
  Mar. 15 Mar. 8 Chng.  
$1 = Euro 0.764 0.754 0.010  
$1 = Rupee 50.28 50.07 0.2  
$1 = Israel Shekel 3.77 3.77 0.00  
$1 = Rand 7.62 7.49 0.13  
$1 = Canadian Dollar 0.99 0.98 0.01  
         
Precious Metals        
Gold $1,658.50 $1,700.80 -$42.30  
Platinum $1,683.00 $1,655.00 $28.00  
         
Stock Indexes       Chng.
BSE 17,675.85 17,145.52 530.33 3.1%
Dow Jones 13,252.76 12,907.94 344.82 2.7%
FTSE 5,940.72 5,859.73 80.99 1.4%
Hang Seng 21,353.53 20,900.73 452.80 2.2%
S&P 500 1,402.60 1,365.91 36.69 2.7%
Yahoo! Jewelry 1,197.66 1,171.60 26.06 2.2%


INDIA MARKET REPORT  
 
Polished and rough trading activity

Local polished trading is steady with some shortages for SI goods; rough trading weakens with little to no compromise on buying/selling prices.  Read the full report.



 




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