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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jan 7, 2021 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond trade ends challenging 2020 with 1 ct. RAPI +5.8%. Firm polished prices reflect inventory decline after significant drop in manufacturing and rough sales. Optimism for 1Q as jewelers and dealers seek goods following the holiday season. Retail outlook still cautious amid spike in global Covid-19 infections. Lockdowns may curb jewelers’ inventory replacement efforts. Rising expectations for China jewelry sales ahead of Feb. 12 lunar festival. Tiffany & Co. Nov./Dec. sales +2%, Asia Pacific +20%, Americas -5%, e-commerce up more than 80%. Titan Company jewelry sales +15% during 3Q Diwali period. Russia resumes KP chairmanship after 2020 meetings suspended.

Fancies: Rising 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. Ovals, Pears and Emeralds strong in 1.50 to 10 ct. sizes. Cushion, Princess and Marquise improving. Excellent cuts and nice shapes 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: Positive sentiment as retail jewelers report steady holiday sales. Momentum continuing in January despite rising Covid-19 infections. Independents with strong e-commerce programs able to connect with consumers who want to support community businesses. Wholesalers seeing satisfactory success rate from memo returns. Estate jewelers doing well, but expensive high-end jewelry slightly slow.

Belgium: Dealers back from two-week holiday break, and bourses have resumed operations. Businesses with export focus doing better than those relying on local European buyers. Steady demand from China and US. Rough trading stable; expectation is that major miners will cautiously release goods to the market.

Israel: Activity low as country enters third nationwide lockdown. Export orders slow as US clients return from break. Dealers relatively satisfied with holiday season but still waiting for memo returns. Some orders for Chinese New Year. Suppliers maintaining steady prices due to inventory declines.

India: Traders gaining confidence amid steady US and Chinese demand. Suppliers filling Chinese New Year orders. Manufacturers raising polished production in response to prevailing shortages. Buyers struggling to find the right goods at the right prices. Stable interest in 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI diamonds. More factories entering lab-grown segment in search of better margins.

Hong Kong: Mainland China supporting market ahead of Lunar New Year (February 12). Polished in short supply following Indian lockdowns. Wholesale sector stable; good appetite for 0.30 to 1 ct., D-I, VS2-SI2, 3X diamonds with GIA reports. Chinese buyers interested in 3 to 5 ct., F-I, SI, 3X stones. Fancy shapes moving well in 2 to 3 ct. sizes. Local retail weak as government tightens restrictions amid coronavirus wave.
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