Positive sentiment spreads to trading centers after Hong Kong show demonstrates strong Chinese demand for under the carat certs. Smaller size 0.25-0.50ct., H-L, VS-SI certs very strong as Far East shifts to lower colors, with non-certs selling due to GIA delays. Strong Israeli demand for large rough at International Rough Diamond Week. Antwerp chases Zimbabwean rough supply, strengthens ties with Russia. U.S. Jan. jewelry store sales +7% to $2.1B. U.S. Jan. polished imports +13% to $1.9B, polished exports -12% to $1.3B.
Fancies: Fancy shape market steady with good U.S. demand for commercial-quality Cushions, Ovals, and Pears. Square-shapes cool with big Asschers and Emeralds strong. Availability of well-shaped fancies tight with shortages of select fine-qualities in large 5ct.+ sizes. Rising investment demand for large expensive stones. Off-make, poorly-cut fancies hard to sell even at very deep discounts. Buyers very selective regarding shape- and cut-quality with extreme price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies.
United States: The polished market is picking up with steady demand for melee goods and non-certified 1-carat stones. There is stable demand for GIA dossiers and rising demand for certified 2-carat to 3-carat, D-I, VS-SI diamonds. Fancy shapes are stable with improving demand for square-shaped fancies. Diamond market sentiment is positive, continuing the momentum of the past three months. The retail market is stable with jewelry sales about in line with last year. Engagement and bridal lines are strong as the spring and summer wedding season approaches.
Belgium: Sentiment remained positive in the polished market as suppliers reported steady sales at the Hong Kong show. While the Far East is driving growth, Antwerp dealers note improving European demand for polished. There is good demand for GIA dossiers and for 1-carat to 1.25-carat, F-H, IF-VS, triple EX diamonds. Rough demand is stable as prices remain firm at auctions and tenders.
China: Polished trading has improved as retail jewelers are restocking after the Chinese New Year, with a strong emphasis on small certified diamonds. There is good demand for 0.30-carat to 0.50-carat, G-K, VS-SI goods, while demand is steady for all sizes of GIA dossiers. Consumer demand remains cautious as data reflects mixed economic sentiment in the country amid a gradual slowdown of growth.
Hong Kong: There is a positive mood in the polished market after the Hong Kong show met the expectations of local dealers. The show signaled that polished buyers in the region have started to build up inventory again after buyers were absent for a relatively lengthy period. There is also a lot of inter-dealer trading taking place. There is good demand for GIA-certified, 0.30-carat to 0.50-carat, G-, VS-SI diamonds and stable demand for larger stones above 3 carats.
India: The market is upbeat after the Hong Kong show, which signaled steady demand from Chinese and Far East buyers. Foreign buyers in Mumbai are looking for both certified and non-certified goods with steady demand for diamonds up to 3 carats. The strongest category remains 0.30-carat to 0.50-carat, D-I, VS-SI, triple EX diamonds. Domestic demand has also improved and Indian buyers have gained a bit of confidence to buy. There is liquidity in the market but cutters are cautious to raise their manufacturing capacity as they expect rough prices to rise and bank credit to tighten in the near term. Rough trading is stable and prices are firm on the secondary market.
Israel: The focus in the bourse shifted to the rough market with numerous auctions taking place during the International Rough Diamond Week. There is good demand for large rough stones and fancy colored diamonds. Polished dealers returned from Hong Kong noting that there is strong demand for GIA dossiers and improving demand for 1-carat to 3-carat goods, while demand for large stones is stable. The mood in the bourse remains positive.