Rapaport Magazine


By Deena Taylor
Bourse Quiets Down

Preoccupation with the country’s security situation and ongoing military actions dampened business activity in an already-subdued seasonal summer slowdown period. Diamond trading at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) traditionally winds down in advance of the annual vacation, which took place between August 10 and 22. The combination of seasonal slowing and national events reduced overall traffic in the exchange and led to lighter trading.
   Jacob Kattan, a member of the IDE board and owner of JKD-Kattan Diamonds, which manufactures round and fancy shapes of .50-carat stones and larger, noted that fewer foreign buyers visited the bourse to buy goods. However, buyers still placed orders. “Customers continued to order and we continued to supply them, but because they didn’t come to the bourse to conduct business, the overall volume went down,” he said.
   Moshe Barzilai, owner of Barzilai 2000, which trades in .90 carats and up, agreed that orders were down during the period. “Almost no clients came to the bourse,” he said.
   Gil Melamed, a partner in Vulcan & Company, a manufacturer of fancy shape, better-quality diamonds, noted that the general mood in the bourse also was negatively impacted by the fact that many from the industry were called up to the military reserves. He indicated, however, that the domestic situation in Israel didn’t impact sales abroad.
   In response, some diamantaires opted to keep their offices partially open, even through the vacation period, in the hopes of picking up extra business and orders that weren’t placed during the tense period in the country.

IIJS Feedback
   A small delegation of Israeli companies exhibited at the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) in Mumbai at the end of July as part of the Israeli Diamond Pavilion. But the Israeli delegation was much smaller than in previous years. Suppliers who were at the show told Rapaport Magazine that IIJS was mainly positive, with good demand and no price resistance for top-quality fancy and round stones.
   Rony Eitany, president of Regent Diamonds, a manufacturer of rounds and fancy shapes in sizes from 3 carats to 20 carats, participated in IIJS’ Israeli Diamond Pavilion and encouraged more Israeli companies to exhibit at the show next year to attract more buyers and boost sales. Eitany reported that there was not much competition in the 3-carat and larger rounds and fancies in the Indian market. “If you have the right goods at reasonable prices, you can make the deal,” he said.
   Melamed also observed good demand and steady prices for goods at IIJS. Expressing long-term confidence in the Indian market, both Eitany and Melamed agreed that consistently exhibiting in India will eventually pay off in the future.

Upcoming Opportunities
   With the end of the summer vacation period, diamantaires began to express anticipation for the U.S. and International Diamond Week, which took place on the trading floor of IDE after press time September 1 to 4, and for the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair that will follow on September 15 to 21.
   Diamantaires hailed International Diamond Week in Israel as a positive initiative for the local market. At press time, over 200 foreign buyers had registered to attend. “It’s very good for people to see new buyers inside the bourse as it gives a boost to the local market,” Melamed said.

Hopes High for Hong Kong
   Approximately 325 Israeli companies were preparing to exhibit in excess of $1 billion worth of polished diamonds in Hong Kong. Diamantaires’ hopes were high for the Hong Kong show to spur strong fourth-quarter trading in Ramat Gan in advance of the year-end holiday shopping season. Local suppliers were preparing to exhibit goods at the show and also to source diamonds there, especially since there is a shortage of certain popular makes.
   Yair Sahar, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Sahar Atid, a manufacturer of rounds and fancies and a specialist in cutting straight-edged diamonds, noted that demand always improves in advance of the Hong Kong show, when dealers concentrate on restocking ahead of holiday sales. “There are representatives from all the major mining companies there so it’s going to be something big,” Sahar said.
   “We’re confident that all markets will have good, steady demand. I think that business will continue to improve, especially compared to 2013 and two years ago,” said Steven Farber of Leo Schachter Diamonds.
   Melamed added, “Rough prices are very high at the moment. We don’t see any reason prices will drop down. I think that prices will stay strong, the market will stay strong and I think if you compare this summer to the previous summer, this year is better than last year when there was no demand and no business.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - September 2014. To subscribe click here.

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Tags: Deena Taylor