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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 1, 2020 11:31 AM   By Rapaport News
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Trading quiet due to Chinese and Jewish holidays and Covid-19 uncertainty. Expectations low for Oct. 1 Golden Week Hong Kong retail sales. Global brands focusing on China and e-commerce as mainland luxury shoppers limit travel, impacting seasonal sales at Hong Kong, New York and London flagships. Government crackdown on diamond smugglers ensures level playing field for legitimate traders looking to capitalize on Chinese demand. Lower midstream inventory supporting polished prices. 1 ct. RAPI +2.3% in Sep. Orders improving but concerns rising about shipment delays during the pandemic. Rough robust during De Beers sight and achieving steady premiums on the dealer market.

Fancies: Reduced inventory supporting prices for select fancy shapes. Ovals and Pears strong in 1.50 to 2 ct., G-K, VS-SI categories and 3 to 5 ct. SIs. Princesses improving. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand and selling at premiums. Rising orders in China helping the market. Dealers hoping for improved sales of fancy-shape engagement rings as consumers seek alternative designs at lower cost. High availability of fancies below 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Positive momentum as jewelers prepare for the holiday season. Bridal driving demand as the industry looks to capitalize on “For Moments Like No Other” fourth-quarter advertising campaign. Some looking to buy inventory but focus is on memo calls. Steady interest in 1 to 2.99 ct., G-H, VVS-VS goods. Commercial-quality melee also selling well due to orders from large jewelry manufacturers.

Belgium: Dealers optimistic amid continued upturn since end of lockdown. Solid US demand for dossiers. Increasing shift to parcel goods due to shortages of certs. A lot of inquiries without mazal as buyers take time to assess prices and potential resale value. Large-stone segment tough. Rough market active. De Beers boxes selling at around 3% to 4% premium.

Israel: Polished trading quiet with businesses closed for the Jewish holiday period. National lockdown also limiting activity. Restrictions expected to continue for at least two weeks to contain alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Focus on filling US orders. Not a lot of new goods on the market.

India: Market improving. Steady demand for round, 1 to 5 ct., I-L, VVS-VS diamonds. Growing interest in melee. Ovals, emeralds, pears and cushions moving well. Shortages supporting trade as production remains at estimated 60% capacity. Suppliers maintaining firm prices. Some concerns about buyers missing payments.

Hong Kong: Short week due to October 1 Mid-Autumn Festival. Lack of tourism is weighing on retail. Hong Kong sales of jewelry, watches and other valuable items down 38% at $318 million in August. Local consumer sentiment improving as Covid-19 rules loosen. Stronger expectations for Chinese demand as mainland shoppers continue spending domestically.
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