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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Aug 10, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment improving with steady Chinese and Indian jewelry sales. High hopes that September Hong Kong show will reflect Chinese improvement. US retail market challenging as jewelers adjust to changing consumer trends. Polished suppliers under pressure with increased inventory and tight profit margins. Diamond buyers conservative and asking for lower prices during slow summer trading. India’s Titan Company 1Q sales +42% to $635M, profit +97% to $37M. Sarine 2Q revenue -13% to $18M, profit -47% to $3M. Lucara 2Q revenue -43% to $80M, profit -30% to $32M. Belgium July polished exports -1% to $1B, rough imports -14% to $777M. Patrick Evans named CEO of Dominion Diamond Corp.

Fancies: Ovals best-selling fancy shape in US market, with shortage of 3 ct. stones. Cushions gaining popularity. Steady demand for Pears in the Far East. Emeralds improving and selling better than Princesses in larger 2 ct.+ sizes. Some demand for big fancy shapes such as Radiant, 3 ct.+, D-I, SI1-SI2 elongated stones, but buyers extremely picky. Large price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Polished trading improving. Buyers filling specific orders rather than making inventory purchases for the holiday season. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A2+ (triple Ex, no fluorescence) diamonds. Midstream inventory levels high, with rising concerns that prices will soften due to oversupply. Retail sales stable with small-to-mid-size jewelers driving growth.

Belgium: Market very quiet with bourses officially closed and most dealers on vacation until August 18.

Israel: Official summer vacation from August 6 to 18, with bourse limiting services. Dealers focused on preparing inventory for September Hong Kong show.

India: Trading stable and sentiment improving. Overseas buyers in Mumbai with good demand for nice SIs. Large manufacturers maintaining firm prices, while smaller suppliers willing to negotiate due to liquidity concerns. Steady domestic demand as jewelers replenish stock after new tax program and November demonetization policy. Rough trading slightly slower after strong buying in the first half.

Hong Kong:
Polished trading expected to remain quiet until September show. Dealers shifting to lower-color and -clarity diamonds, reflecting changing consumer demand. Steady demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-H, VS1-SI2, 3VG+ diamonds. Chinese retail driving growth in the region. Hong Kong retail sentiment improving, despite 2% decline in June tourist arrivals.
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