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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jul 2, 2020 11:02 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished trading slow despite improved retail sales in China. US jewelers limiting purchases, as they have enough inventory to meet 3Q demand. Trade sees potential for good holiday season since consumers are not spending on travel. Major retailers investing in technology to drive multichannel sales. Savvy independents nurturing ties with local communities to maintain market share. Rough market quiet. De Beers and Alrosa prepared to sell fewer diamonds at higher prices through the downturn. India extends voluntary ban on rough imports. Christie’s sets record with online sale of emerald, 28.86 ct., D, VVS1 diamond ring for $2.1M ($73,284/ct.). GIA, IGI reopen NY labs.

Fancies: Fancy shape sales sluggish as US retailers reopen. Dealers hoping for improvement in fancy shape engagement rings as consumers seek alternative designs at lower cost. Reduced inventory of 1.50 ct. Ovals and Pears supporting prices, but demand still weak. High availability of fancies below 1 ct., with Cushions showing similar price declines to rounds. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Retail sales improving since the return to business, but some states shutting down again due to spike in coronavirus infections. De Beers notes positive June jewelry sales driven by gift purchases. Polished trading slow. Dealers happy to be back in the market and are skipping their usual July summer break. Focus on filling memo calls for bridal goods.

Belgium: Traders more optimistic about post-coronavirus opportunities. Stable demand for 0.30 to 0.90 ct., F-H, VVS1-VS2 and 1 to 2 ct. (3X, no fluorescence) diamonds. Very few overseas buyers due to travel restrictions. Low rough sales expected to continue in July even as Alrosa considers viewings in Antwerp.

Israel: Market slow. Local trade targeting US and China retailers via online channels due to travel restrictions. Buyers avoiding inventory purchases. Steady interest in 0.50 ct., D-H, VS2-SI1 diamonds. Shortages supporting market for pear and oval, 1.50 to 2 ct., F-J, VS goods. Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association elects Nissim Zuaretz as president.

India: Sentiment weak as Surat closes down again due to spread of Covid-19 in factories. Tensions with China also fueling caution. Some interest from Hong Kong for dossiers, with stable demand for 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI goods. US inquiries to fill existing orders. Rough trading slow as industry extends moratorium on imports to end of July.

Hong Kong: Shorter week due to Establishment Day holiday on July 1. Trading limited to local dealers, since quarantine requirements for arriving foreigners are restricting activity. More polished going to Shenzhen to serve Chinese buyers. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct. and 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI, 3X polished. China jewelry sales maintaining positive momentum, but Hong Kong retail remains weak.
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