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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jun 17, 2021 10:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Positive sentiment as demand outpaces supply. US retail upbeat; May jewelry sales +203% year on year and +45% vs. May 2019, says Mastercard. Rising expectations for 2H but concern that inflation surge will curb consumer spending. Some jewelers delaying inventory replacement until more polished becomes available. Suppliers’ polished prices firm amid escalating rough costs and anticipated Alrosa price hike. Mountain Province 1Q prices +18%. Manufacturing increasing as India Covid-19 cases drop; worker absenteeism remains a challenge. GIA backlog still over 30 days. India polished exports +131% to $2B, rough imports +601% to $1.3B. Botswana’s Jwaneng mine yields 1,098 ct. diamond.

Fancies: Market robust. Prices firming across most sizes and categories amid shortages and growing fancy demand. Retailers offering wider product ranges as consumers seek alternative shapes. Dealers seeing increased sales of fancy-shape engagement rings. Rise in orders for Ovals, Pears, Emeralds, Princesses, long Radiants and Marquises. Ovals and cushions closing price gap with rounds. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Excellent cuts popular and selling at premiums. Steady orders in China helping the market. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Dealers upbeat as demand remains steady. Filling orders difficult due to shortages and high replacement costs. 1 to 2 ct., G-J SIs moving well; good sell-through rate on memo items. Retailers picky and looking for better goods to display in their stores — no fluorescence, no brown, green, milky (BGM). Online jewelers less selective and selling at discounts.

Belgium: Diamond trade optimistic as US and China retail maintains growth momentum. Better profit in polished trading than rough manufacturing. Scarcities limiting activity. Strong market for 0.30 to 0.90 ct., F-G, VS-SI stones. Concern emerging over rising rough prices.

Israel: Positive trend. Dealers looking for goods to fill orders. Robust bidding at polished auctions. Demand driven by US market and some improvement from Europe. Shortages enabling suppliers to sell old inventory of less desirable goods such as those with fluorescence and black centers. Growing interest in fancy shapes.

India: Manufacturing activity increasing to satisfy strong US and Chinese demand. Many workers have not returned to Surat after leaving during Covid-19 wave. Local market gaining steam. Cutters struggling to replace sold items as rough prices remain high. Steady movement in F-J, VS-SI, 3X, nonfluorescent, no-BGM goods. Fancy shapes positive.

Hong Kong: Polished trading seasonally slow amid lull in China’s jewelry sector. Local Hong Kong retail sales improving as coronavirus infection rate drops. Dealers expecting uptick in 2H. Stable demand for 1 to 2 ct., J-M, SI diamonds. Weaker market for 2 ct. and larger.
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