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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 8, 2020 9:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond market sentiment improving ahead of holiday season. Polished prices stable. Strong bridal category supporting the trade. Some jewelers buying for inventory but main focus is on memo. Selective demand has left dealers struggling to fill orders due to scarcity of stones in specific categories. Manufacturers trying to raise production after robust rough buying at lower prices in Aug.-Sep. Covid-19 restrictions limiting operations and trading activity. Sotheby’s raises $39M (77% by lot) at HK Magnificent Jewels; sold oval, 102 ct., D, FL diamond for $15.7M ($153,285/ct.) in special online auction. Rapaport Auctions sells $7M in Sep. (84% melee and 80% single stone lots sold).

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 increased 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: Rising expectations for the holidays. Jewelers focusing on commitment jewelry and seeing steady sales of engagement rings and eternity bands. Other segments like silver and fashion jewelry lagging. Solid dealer interest in 1 to 2.50 ct., G-I, VS-SI goods. Retailers mainly working off memo. Some larger chains making inventory orders, stimulating demand for melee. Some improvement in cushions, ovals and emeralds.

Belgium: Market quiet. Many Jewish diamantaires taking vacation during the religious holidays. Trading selective. Suppliers focused on EU are doing well. Other markets slow because of travel restrictions. Steady demand for 1 to 4 ct., H+, VS-SI goods. European retail sluggish due to lack of tourists.

Israel: Very little activity in diamond exchange during seven-day Sukkot festival. Business limited amid nationwide lockdown to curb Covid-19 infections. Protests adding to uncertainty. Dealers and memo houses mainly sourcing supply for US clients.

India: Demand improving ahead of US holiday season. Suppliers struggling to fill orders due to shortages and shipment delays. Manufacturers raising production to close supply gaps before Diwali (November 14). Large factories operating at 60% to 70% capacity in keeping with social distancing rules. Smaller businesses able to work at higher capacities. Retail jewelers gaining confidence for Diwali as consumers get used to new in-store protocols.

Hong Kong: Wholesale trading slow during Golden Week (October 1 to 7). Retail activity in line with low expectations as tourist traffic from China remains restricted. Mainland sales growing but still an estimated one-third below last year’s holiday levels.
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