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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

May 19, 2022 10:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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News: Dealers unsure where market is headed and hope upcoming Las Vegas shows will provide clarity. Trade starting to feel impact of Russia crisis amid lower supply and cautious demand. Chinese slowdown fueling uncertainty. Manufacturing down due to Surat summer vacation and withdrawal of Alrosa rough. De Beers positioned to gain from Russian sanctions as May sales +57% to $604M. Shortages expected to support prices in 2H. Brilliant Earth forecasts slower growth due to volatile geopolitical situation and inflationary pressures; 1Q sales +42% to $100M, profit +40% to $3.4M. US 1Q net polished imports +43% to $1.6B. India’s GJEPC presents plan to expand local lab-grown sector.

Fancies: Market slowing. Supply shortages supporting prices. 1.20 to 3.99 ct., F-J, VS-SI is hottest category. Oval is leading shape, followed by Emerald, Pear, Cushion and Marquise. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Growing interest in fancy-shape engagement rings. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Chinese demand helping the market. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Rising expectations for Las Vegas shows as dealers seek guidance on market direction. Larger companies with inventory are selling at firm prices. Smaller and mid-tier suppliers seeing slowdown from first-quarter trading. Good demand for 1.25 and 1.70 ct., G-J, VS-SI, 3X, no-fluorescence diamonds. Desirable merchandise difficult to replace at the right price.

Belgium: Demand steady amid shortages. Russia crisis creating scarcities. Buyers looking for goods despite high prices, currency volatility, and US inflation concerns. Melee and parcel items below 0.20 ct. doing well. Certs up to 1 ct. stable. Oversizes in SI and better very strong and selling at a premium. Rough trading solid; fewer stones on secondary market.

Israel: Business slow; not as many deals or goods available. US orders supporting the market but well below last year’s demand. Shortage of select categories that are popular in US, namely oversizes, ovals and marquises. Outlook for China cautious as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease. Halt in Alrosa supply significantly affecting rough trading and manufacturing.

India: Activity down as manufacturers shut for summer break and Russian supply starts to dry up. Scarcities supporting prices. US demand strong; companies preparing inventory for important Las Vegas shows. Chinese orders weak due to Covid-19 measures. Some interest in D-F, IF-VS1 diamonds from Hong Kong buyers.

Hong Kong: Sentiment improving as coronavirus infections decrease. Steady appetite for 0.30 to 0.80 ct., D-I, VS goods. Government retail vouchers stimulating sales of low-end jewelry. Chinese demand slow as lockdowns continue. Orders coming in from other Far East markets, including Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Weakening of Chinese yuan creating concerns about consumer spending.
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