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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

May 12, 2022 10:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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News: Market sentiment mixed as summer wedding season begins. US 8.3% April inflation fuels caution but positive retail momentum continues with jewelry sales +33%, Mastercard reports. Alrosa cancels rough sales, continues supplying Russia’s Gokhran. Shortages anticipated. De Beers scales up Tracr blockchain as crisis accelerates traceability efforts. Savvy dealers seeking ethically sourced goods. RapNet bans diamonds sourced from Russia after Feb. 24, including polished manufactured outside Russia from Russian rough; introduces rough source field for polished. Sotheby’s sells $36M (77% by lot). Christie’s sells $70M (92% by lot), with pear-shape, 228.31 ct., G, VS1 diamond going for $22M.

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: Dealers optimistic amid stable retail sales and anticipated supply scarcities. Vendors preparing inventories for Las Vegas shows. Good demand for 1.25 to 2.50 ct., G-I, VS-SI, 3X diamonds. Melee prices firm; some speculative buying as dealers expect shortages to drive up prices.

Belgium: Sentiment improving. Steady US demand for certified goods supporting the market. Dealers maintaining firm discounts as buyers struggle to find top-quality diamonds. Robust demand for fancy shapes and colors. Lack of Russian supply leading to rough shortages. Mixed reports from GemGenève show, with some exhibitors registering strong sales.

Israel: Traders seeking clean, 3X goods since returning from Passover holiday. Some optimism that rough shortages will rebalance bloated inventory, but sales relatively weak. US driving orders. Focus on 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI center stones for engagement rings. Stock-market slump and weakening of Chinese yuan currency fueling concerns about global diamond demand.

India: Market seasonally slow during summer break. Many Surat manufacturing units closed for vacation until mid-to-late May. US orders driving polished trading; Far East quiet. Buyers selective and filling specific orders from customers. Price gap between fluorescent and nonfluorescent diamonds widening. Rough adjusting to impact of Russia crisis, especially in small sizes that yield polished melee.

Hong Kong: Local market improving as government eases Covid-19 restrictions. Stable demand for 0.80 to 1 ct., D-G, VS, 3X diamonds with no fluorescence, reflecting positive engagement-ring sales. Mother’s Day boosts retail activity. Mainland China slow as lockdowns continue in Shanghai and other key cities.
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