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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 3, 2019 11:03 AM   By Rapaport News
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Trading quiet due to Chinese, Indian and Jewish holidays and weak market sentiment. Dealers cautious as fourth quarter begins. Jewelers limiting inventory purchases as shift to interactive digital shopping experience and omni-channel reduces their in-store stock requirements. Hong Kong retail sales slump as protests escalate during Oct. 1 Golden Week. Lower midstream inventory supporting polished prices. 1 ct. RAPI -0.3% in Sep. Large stones (3 ct.+) remain soft. De Beers restricting supply through flexible buyback policy at $295M Sep. sight. Richemont acquires Italian jeweler Buccellati. Rapaport offices will be closed on Wednesday, Oct. 9, due to Yom Kippur.

Fancies: Fancy shapes soft, reflecting slowdown in overall demand. 3 to 8 ct., I-K, VS-SI1 moving better than rounds as dealers and consumers shift to lower price points. Well-known brands are paying highest prices, as are buyers with specific requests. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well, especially 1.50 and 2 ct., G-H, VS and H-K, SI2. Marquises and Princesses weak despite reduced manufacturing. US sustaining market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Polished trading slow, with many businesses closed for Jewish New Year. Dealers focused on filling holiday demand. Retailers taking more goods on memo. Stable interest in 0.70 to 1.50 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds for the engagement-ring segment. Consumers shifting to lower-ticket items amid trade war uncertainty and stock market volatility. Good demand for estate and vintage jewelry.

Belgium: Market sluggish for this time of year. Dealers expect trading to pick up in coming weeks before India’s Diwali break. US orders improving.China demand cautious after weak Hong Kong show. Rough sentiment mixed, with auctions and tenders attracting stronger interest than sights.

Israel: Limited activity, with businesses shut for three days over Rosh Hashanah. Dealers focused on US, hoping demand will improve as the holiday season begins. Steady orders for 1 ct., G-J, VS2-I1, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Big-stone traders concerned about continued weakness. Bourse launches third video in campaign to market natural diamonds as “one of a kind” (see video here).

India: Short week due to Gandhi Jayanti national holiday. Few foreign buyers in Mumbai. Prices of 0.30 to 0.40 ct., D-G, IF-VVS2 firming as inventory diminishes. Rough trading down. Manufacturers maintaining low production capacity ahead of Oct. 27 Diwali break.

Hong Kong: Protests rattling the market. Muted celebrations amid security warnings. Very low expectations for Golden Week retail sales, as tourists staying away. August sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts -47%, reflecting impact of demonstrations on inbound tourism and consumption. Luxury jewelers consider reducing Hong Kong exposure and expanding in mainland.
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