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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Feb 25, 2021 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Positive outlook for 2021 amid steady jewelry sales in US and China. Polished inventory rising. More goods going to GIA for grading. Rough market buoyant as De Beers and Alrosa raise prices again by 3% to 5%. Manufacturing profit margins may come under pressure as slower summer season approaches. De Beers 2020 revenue -27% to $3.4B, loss of $102M vs. 2019 profit of $45M. Rio Tinto 2020 diamond sales -26% to $459M, profit of $9M vs. $21M loss. US 2020 polished imports -39% to $11.8B. GIA uncovers several lab-grown and treated stones carrying natural-diamond reports and fake inscriptions. Boaz Moldawsky elected president of the Israel Diamond Exchange.

Fancies: Stable demand for select fancy shapes as consumers seek alternative designs at more affordable prices than rounds. Dealers hoping for increased sales of fancy-shape engagement rings. Rise in orders for Ovals, Pears, Emeralds and Radiants above 2 ct. Cushion, Princess and Marquise improving. Buyers showing preference for elongated shapes with the right proportions. Excellent cuts in demand and selling at premiums. Steady orders in China helping the market. High availability of fancies below 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Sentiment relatively upbeat in wholesale and retail markets. Polished trading seasonally slower in February than January. High end doing well, with more consumers relating to diamonds as a store of value. Engagement rings strong amid hopes that Covid-19 restrictions will end in time for summer wedding season. Large volume of goods expected to become available in the coming months.

Belgium:
Rough market positive following De Beers price hikes. Polished trading steady. Dealers and manufacturers concerned about tightening profit margins. Solid demand for 0.30 to 0.60 ct., G-J, VVS-SI goods; 1 ct. also selling well in those categories.

Israel: Activity in the bourse improving after lifting of month-long lockdown. Polished inventory levels rising. Dealers maintaining polished prices following rough increases. US supporting the market as jewelers replace merchandise they sold during holiday season. Steady orders for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds.

India: Confident outlook for rest of 2021 amid drop in Covid-19 cases and reduced restrictions. Good demand for 0.30 ct. to 0.70 ct. diamonds. Hong Kong buyers showing interest in D-G colors; US market focused on H-K. Melee moving well. 1 ct. stones strong in SI clarities. Positive reports from physical Surat Sparkle exhibition.

Hong Kong:
Dealers optimistic as Chinese stores continue making orders during quiet season after lunar new year. Strong demand for GIA-graded, 1 ct., D-H, VS2-SI2, 3X diamonds. 2 ct. also moving well in G-I, SI, VG+ qualities. Local retail market slow amid tight Covid-19 rules and lack of tourist arrivals. Mainland activity better, with low-end jewelry seeing successful sales on e-commerce sites.
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