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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jun 4, 2020 11:02 AM   By Rapaport News
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Hong Kong emerging as important trade center with some post-coronavirus demand from China. US market mostly shut. New York and other regional centers closed due to Covid-19. Riots and looting are keeping jewelry stores closed following tragic death of George Floyd. India slowly reopening with Surat operating at 70% but Mumbai in lockdown except for limited staff handling exports. Rough markets at standstill. Limited sight expected in Antwerp. India begins 30-day voluntary rough import freeze. Alrosa allowing deferrals at June contract sale and offering goods online. Petra cancels May sale after rough prices -27% since Feb. DPA rebrands as Natural Diamond Council with tagline “Only Natural Diamonds.” Rapaport Price List returning to weekly publication starting next Thursday, June 11.

Fancies: Fancy shapes sluggish amid lockdown of US retail. Weakness across all categories, including top makes and large sizes. Downtrend affecting all products and stemming from external forces beyond industry’s control. Inventory still low in some categories of Pears and Ovals, but very little demand. High availability of other categories, with Cushions showing similar price declines to rounds. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Growing concern over market recovery as nationwide protests against police brutality turn violent. Stores closing again due to riots after partially reopening following Covid-19 lockdown. Dealers staying away from 47th Street. Jewelers and diamantaires acclimating to new normal and improving e-commerce platforms to facilitate sales.

Belgium: Some improvement in demand as global retail activity gradually returns. Dealers focused on Far East as many US businesses remain shut due to pandemic and recent riots. Rough market quiet, with some appetite for purchases via online platforms. More miners considering viewings in Antwerp given ongoing lockdown in southern Africa and India.

Israel: Trading floor open with social distancing and sanitization measures. Increase in country’s Covid-19 cases raises possibility of tightening restrictions again. Demand mainly from Hong Kong, since US retail and trading centers are still closed.

India: Mumbai lockdown continues; trading offices allowed 10% of workers to facilitate exports. Tropical cyclone also hits Mumbai coast. Surat 70% open for business. Manufacturers commence 30-day voluntary ban on rough imports to ease liquidity. Rough demand at historic lows. Titan Company issues profit warning for first half, noting only marginal sales this fiscal year due to coronavirus shutdown.

Hong Kong: Dealers taking some orders from China. Hong Kong positioned as most active trading center. About 90% of companies have reopened. Retail slow amid reports of second wave of infections in some areas, and concerns about renewed protests against China security laws. Tourist numbers have collapsed, with just 4,100 arrivals in April. China seeing accelerated shift to online shopping during Covid-19 period. Hong Kong sales of jewelry, watches and other luxury items down 77% in April at HKD 1.36 billion ($176 million), the lowest monthly level on record.
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