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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 4, 2021 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Market sentiment upbeat. Steady trading levels supported by US demand and gradual return of Chinese buyers. Retailers optimistic amid expectations that Covid-19 vaccine rollout and $1.9 trillion stimulus will boost economy. E-commerce still driving growth. Polished prices stable; 1 ct. RAPI +0.8% in Feb. Manufacturers concerned about tightening profit margins following rough-price hikes in last three months. Alrosa 4Q revenue +55% to $1.3B, profit +82% to $288M. Sarine 2020 revenue -20% to $41M. De Beers piloting project to track value by monitoring sightholders’ use of supply. Stuart Samuels elected president of Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America.

Fancies: Stable demand for select fancy shapes as consumers seek alternative designs at more affordable prices than rounds. Dealers hoping for increased sales of fancy-shape engagement rings. Rise in orders for Ovals, Pears, Emeralds and Radiants above 2 ct. Cushion, Princess and Marquise improving. Buyers showing preference for elongated shapes with the right proportions. Excellent cuts in demand and selling at premiums. Steady orders in China helping the market. High availability of fancies below 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Steady wholesale activity. Wealthy consumers are spending and stimulus checks have boosted confidence. Bridal sales maintaining positive momentum despite end of traditional engagement season. Buyers showing interest in 1 to 2 ct., G-I, SI center stones. Demand for fancies focused on F-H, VS goods. Ovals and cushions in 3 to 7 ct. sizes moving well.

Belgium: Dealers optimistic as polished trading approaches pre-pandemic levels. Stable orders for 0.50 to 0.90 ct., I-M, IF-VS diamonds. Low clarities and VG+ cuts doing well. None-to-faint fluorescence selling at premium. Strong appetite for rough despite high prices.

Israel: Polished demand recovering; bourse activity returning. More customers purchasing for inventory. Chinese buyers back in the market after lunar new year but remaining cautious. Dealers planning business trips to US amid hopes of improvement in Covid-19 situation. High rough prices restricting profit margins.

India: Positive sentiment amid steady US and Far East orders. Rising interest in melee and in uncertified 0.30 to 0.50 ct., I-J, SI goods. Ovals, pears and emeralds improving. Dealers expecting supply shortages as miners’ high prices deter rough buyers. Manufacturing rates slowing among mid-tier and smaller cutting firms.

Hong Kong: Wholesale market quiet following end of peak season. Retailers maintaining low inventory now that holiday period is over. Dealers concerned ongoing travel restrictions will make for challenging year due to lack of overseas buyers and trade shows. Vaccine rollout fueling hopes of Chinese border reopening. 
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