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Market Comments 3/27/2014

Mar 27, 2014 6:00 PM  
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Polished markets optimistic but liquidity under pressure due to tight bank credit and high rough prices. Demand for large diamonds robust as Basel shows begin. Rough trading stable ahead of next week’s De Beers sight. Tiffany & Co. 4Q sales +5% to $1.3B, loss of $104M vs. profit of $180M a year ago due to $480M Swatch arbitration. Signet Jewelers 4Q revenue +3% to $1.6B, profit +2% to $175M. Chow Sang Sang 2013 revenue +38% to $3.2B, profit +24% to $158M. The Diamond Show opens March 27 at Markthalle in Basel.

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.

Global Comments:

United States: Diamond trading in New York is steady with rising frustration regarding the delays at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). There is good demand for 1-carat, D-H, VS-SI diamonds as dealers are focused on sourcing goods for engagement rings. There is stable demand for fancy shapes, with rising demand for pears and ovals, 1-carat to 1.75-carat in EX and VG cuts, which are in short supply. Retail jewelry demand is stable and foot traffic to stores is slowly picking up as the weather warms up. There is ongoing strength in the bridal market. Retail jewelers note good demand for 0.75-carat and 1.50-carat, G-I, SI1 diamonds.

Belgium: Sentiment continues to improve and the market is more optimistic than a year ago. Polished demand is spread among all markets with the Far East and Europe steady and a slight slowdown in the U.S. There is good demand for 0.30-carat to 0.70-carat, G-L, VS-SI goods and more dealers are selling parcels in order to bypass delays of certifying goods at the GIA. There is also good large stone demand. Rough trading is stable with single-digit premiums on the secondary market ahead of next week’s De Beers sight.

China: Wholesale diamond and retail jewelry markets are steady, continuing the positive momentum witnessed since the Chinese New Year season. Still, there is some caution as overall consumer demand is not expected to repeat the same buoyancy seen in previous years as economic growth is expected to have slowed in the first quarter. Dealers note good demand for GIA-certified, 0.30-carat to 1.10-carat, G-I, VS-SI diamonds.

Hong Kong: Polished trading is stable and sentiment has improved since January. There is good demand for 1-carat, F-G, VS-SI goods, while SI-clarity stones are in strong demand across the board. Some dealers note that it’s becoming more difficult to make money from dossiers, while profit margins on triple EX certificated diamonds have also tightened.

India: Polished trading is stable with good demand and short supply of 0.30-carat to 0.40-carat stones and steady demand for 1-carat, VS-SI diamonds. Pears, cushions and emeralds are in good demand in the fancies market. There are a lot of international buyers in Mumbai looking for goods, while local demand is restrained ahead of the financial year end on March 31. Liquidity is tight among small and mid-size manufacturers, who continue to operate their factories at reduced capacity. Larger factories focused on the export market have maintained steady output. Rough trading is stable and manufacturers are hoping recent improved profit margins will be sustained.

Israel: The market is stable with rising expectations for the U.S. and International Diamond week in early April. There is growing concern that rough prices will increase further following the recent uptrend in polished prices. There is good demand for certified round, 0.30-carat to 1-carat, G-L, VS-SI diamonds. The fancy shape market continues to improve with good demand for pears, cushions and ovals. Large size fancy shapes above 4 carats are also in strong demand due to shortages.  
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