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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 30, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market stable but positive momentum has slowed. Big-stone demand restrained. Shortage of better-quality goods as high-end consumers seek rare, unique pieces. Lower visitor traffic and fewer exhibitors at Baselworld reflect cautious Swiss watch industry. Brands offering vintage designs and lower price points are competing with smart watches. De Beers reduces 2017 sightholder ITOs, allocating more supply to beneficiation and government partners. Dominion to assess potential acquisition offers. Chow Sang Sang 2016 revenue -16% to $2.1B, profit -34% to $96M. Signet, United Laboratories to work with Diamond Producers Association to test synthetics-detection machines.

Fancies: Good demand for Pears in the Far East with Ovals overtaking Pears as the strongest shape in the U.S. Shortages of fine-quality, large Pears and Ovals. Cushions stable. Emeralds selling better than Princesses. Some demand for big fancy shapes, but buyers extremely picky. Improving demand for Radiant, 3.01 to 9.99 ct., D-I, SI1-SI2 elongated stones. Large price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and very hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Polished trading stable. Optimism from Hong Kong show diminishing with trading expected to slow in April during Passover and Easter spring break. Selective demand for better-quality, RapSpec A2 diamonds, which are difficult to find. SI-I2-clarity strong. Positive consumer confidence and retail sentiment ahead of June-July summer wedding period.

Belgium: Sentiment weaker amid reports of cautious trading at Basel show. Buyers are selective, filling specific orders and avoiding large inventory purchases. Good demand for commercial-quality, G-H, VS-SI dossiers. New supply selling better than leftover old stock. Rough trading strong due to lower supply at De Beers sight, with boxes selling at 5% to 10% premiums on the secondary market.

Israel: Polished trading slow after March show season. Very few dealers in the bourse, with Israeli buyers looking for goods in India and suppliers selling in New York and Hong Kong before the Passover break (April 11 to 18). Focus shifting back to the US with good demand for 0.90 to 2.99 ct., D-J, I1 diamonds. Rough trading cautious due to tight manufacturing margins.

India: Steady trading with US and Israeli dealers looking for goods in Mumbai. Manufacturers holding prices firm for new RapSpec A2+ production. Suppliers more flexible on older, lower-quality RapSpec A3 diamonds. Good Chinese demand for SI’s. Non-certified “American” piqué goods weaker than before. Rough trading strong with good 5% to 10% premiums on De Beers boxes during sight week.

Hong Kong: The market is stable with consistent demand for 0.30 to 1.10-carat, G-J, VVS2-SI2 diamonds.Some wholesalers still filling orders from Hong Kong show.Demand shifting to smaller and more affordable diamonds. Jewelry retail doing better in China than Hong Kong as jewelers start to prepare inventory for May 1 Labor Day holiday.
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