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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 2, 2020 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond markets under continued pressure and facing severe liquidity crisis as jewelry retail, manufacturing, trading and mining companies shut operations during COVID-19 lockdown. Trading limited to online deals, with opportunistic buyers pushing for even higher discounts. 1 ct. RAPI -6.8% in March. China business reopening amid new coronavirus reality. Signet Jewelers temporarily lays off workers, settles $240M shareholder lawsuit. Alrosa allowing 100% deferrals at next week’s sale. Gem Diamonds sells $12M at new flexible rough tender for large stones. Las Vegas Couture and Antique Jewelry & Watch shows canceled. Rapaport Group announces shift to monthly publication of Rapaport Price List. The next issue of the Price List will be published on May 1.

Fancies: Fancy shapes sluggish as coronavirus hits US, the strongest market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies. Weakness across all categories, including top makes and large sizes, as luxury brands temporarily shut stores. Downtrend due to external forces beyond industry’s control and affecting all products. Inventory still low in some categories of Pears and Ovals, but very little demand. High availability of other categories, with Cushions showing similar price declines to rounds. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Retail and dealer markets limited to e-commerce as Fifth Avenue and 47th Street diamond district shut doors. Large chains laying off workers and expecting lengthy store closures. Jeweler Support Network created to help small businesses cope.

Belgium: Shutdown continues as Europe fights coronavirus. Government and banks approve program to aid businesses struggling with liquidity during pandemic. Lenders agree to postpone loan repayments until September 30, with the state guaranteeing additional one-year credit lines.

Israel: Country on lockdown ahead of weeklong Passover holiday, which starts April 8. Sentiment weak as US and European markets remain closed. Companies with online capabilities suffering now that physical trading has dried up.

India: Polished production and trading drastically reduced amid nationwide quarantine restrictions to curb outbreak. Cancellation of De Beers sight will vastly reduce rough imports during this period. GJEPC donates $6.7 million to help large number of workers affected by the crisis.

Hong Kong: Stores have reopened but are seeing very low traffic amid reports of second wave of virus cases. Retail sales of jewelry and other hard luxury down 79% in February to HKD 1.56 billion ($200.6 million) due to quarantine rules for visitors from mainland China. Weak outlook for tourism and local demand.
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