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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

December 31, 2015

Dec 31, 2015 10:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Rounds: U.S. consumer confidence improves with overall holiday retail sales +7.9%, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. Mobile and online sales soar. Diamond trade cautious about the Chinese New Year as China-Hong Kong jewelry sales slowed in 2015. RAPI for 1ct. diamonds +1.5% in December as difficult year ends on a positive note. Polished prices supported by shortages rather than rise in demand. Dealers more optimistic but profit concerns continue into 2016. Cutters not willing to raise polished production at current rough prices. The Rapaport Group wishes everyone a happy, healthy, ‎prosperous and peaceful New Year.‎

Fancies: Pears and Ovals in short supply due to limited production. Emeralds improving. Fairly good market for large top-quality fine-cut fancy shapes but buyers are extremely picky and supply is very tight. Cushions steady, Princess and Hearts slow. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1ct. Far East fancy demand weak. Buyers are very selective and insisting on excellent-shape proportions. Significant price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly-cut fancies illiquid and very hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Polished trading quiet as wholesalers and dealers took vacation between Christmas and New Year.Sentiment improving amid reports of a positive holiday shopping season and some orders for Valentine’s Day. A lot of goods out on memo and dealers are waiting for January returns to assess their inventory positions. Good demand for 0.30-0.80ct., G-J, SI-I2 diamonds with shortages supporting prices. Retailers note steady sales and heavy tourist traffic over Christmas.

Belgium: Polished and rough trading very quiet with most dealers on vacation during the Christmas to New Year period. Antwerp bourses are closed until January 4.

Israel: Polished trading stable and sentiment continues to improve. Steady demand with shortages supporting prices for RapSpec A2 (3X, none) 0.30-0.90ct., D-J, VS-SI and 1ct., G-J, SI-I2 diamonds. Prices soft for lower quality diamonds as suppliers try to off-load dead inventory. Rough trading very quiet with dealers expecting price correction at January sight.

India: Positive sentiment in the market. Prices firm due to shortages in RapSpec A2 (3X, none) diamonds while holiday demand was okay. Good U.S. demand for 1ct., G-J, SI2-I2 diamond. Steady Chinese demand for 0.30-0.40ct., D-J, VS-SI diamonds.Polished production remains at estimated 30 percent below capacity with tight profitability due to high rough prices. Manufacturers anticipate 5 to 7 percent rough price cut in January. Jewelry retail sales stable but consumer confidence still weak.

Hong Kong: Polished market quiet over Christmas-New Year with many dealers on vacation.Some trading activity to fill orders from Mainland China for the Chinese New Year (Feb. 8). Good demand for 0.30-0.49ct., D-J, VS-SI GIA dossiers with notable shortages in the market. Jewelry retailers report mixed sales over Christmas, with consumer sentiment cautious in Hong Kong and Macau.
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