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Positive Data Raises Hopes for Hong Kong Show

Municipality’s Polished-Diamond Imports Rise 10% in 1H

Sep 12, 2017 9:35 AM   By Rapaport News
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 The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair started Wednesday amid improved Chinese consumer sentiment and positive trends in the local polished-diamond trade.

“As the national economy gains a steady momentum, Chinese consumers are becoming more willing to spend, with [a] nationwide buying spree driving [the] upgrade,” said Vishal Bali, managing director of data provider Nielsen Company’s China branch.

China’s official consumer-confidence index rose to its highest level since 1996 in July, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Diamond dealers are hoping improved confidence will translate to stronger demand at the show, which begins Wednesday, with recent data signaling a return to growth for the local trade.

Polished-diamond imports to Hong Kong jumped 10% to $9.35 billion in the first half of the year, while exports grew 1% to $6.72 billion, according to data from the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China.

“We are pleased that...Chinese demand for diamonds and jewelry is rising after a period of stagnation,” said Shmuel Schnitzer, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute. “I am hopeful about the outcome of the show despite the challenges the diamond industry has been facing.”

Hong Kong’s polished-diamond exports to mainland China, its largest market, rose 21% to $1.53 billion. Meanwhile, a large portion of Hong Kong’s polished imports remain in the municipality, with net polished imports — the excess of imports over exports, representing the value of goods available for local consumption — rising 41% to $2.63 billion.

The increase mirrors an improvement in consumer trends, with retail sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts increasing 13% to $793 million (HKD 6.19 billion) in July, according to figures the Census and Statistics Department released last month. Proceeds in the first seven months were up 2.5% to $5.29 billion.

Major jewelers such as Chow Tai Fook, Luk Fook and Chow Sang Sang recorded some improvement in Hong Kong from last year’s heavy declines, and a sharper rise in sales in mainland China.

“The strong job market and the associated robust income growth have supported consumer confidence,” Bloomberg cited Robin Xing, the chief China economist at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong, as saying in its report. “Consumer confidence is further driven by the unleashed consumption potential in lower-tier cities.”

The exhibition’s 35th edition will run at AsiaWorld-Expo from Wednesday to Sunday, and at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from Friday to Tuesday.

Image: UBM
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Tags: China, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, Hong Kong show, Rapaport News
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