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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 7, 2016 8:21 AM   By Rapaport News
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Rounds: Diamond markets quiet after positive first quarter. March 1 ct. RAPI unchanged, 1Q up +1.4%. Selective buyers offering lower prices as inventories rise and new supply becomes available. High-quality 3 ct.+ demand very weak. Rough trading steady during De Beers sight with reports of a 2-3% price increase. ALROSA cuts 2015 production target to 37-39M cts. Lukoil’s 2015 Grib Diamonds revenue reaches $162M. Sotheby’s HK sells $73M (66% by lot) with De Beers oval, 10.10 ct., fancy vivid blue, IF diamond selling for $31.8M ($3.2M/ct.). Belgium’s March polished exports -6% to $1.2B, rough imports -30% to $979M. Jacques Korn elected president of Antwerp Diamond Bourse.

Fancies: Ovals doing well and cushions have cooled off. Emeralds selling. Princess and Hearts slow. Top quality fine-cut fancy shapes OK but buyers are extremely picky. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1 ct. 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 stable. Ovals in short supply and easier to sell as rounds inventory increases. Good demand for 0.30 to 1.99 ct., G-J, VS2-I1 diamonds. High-quality big-stone demand very weak. Buyers focused on RapSpec A2 diamonds. Jewelry retail sales stable, driven by bridal. Jewelers adapting to changing consumer trends with more of an online presence. Millennial consumers trending towards customized jewelry.

Belgium: Activity quieter and sentiment weaker in April. Rising concern about sluggish European consumer demand and synthetic diamonds. Steady demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-I, VS-SI diamonds. Demand for 3 ct. and larger sizes weak. Dealers unsure about prices as new polished becomes available. New supply selling better than left-over old stock. Rough trading steady with select De Beers boxes selling at premiums on the secondary market. 

Israel: Polished trading slowed since March Hong Kong show with sluggish big-stone demand. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.99 ct., D-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A2 diamonds. Steady fancy shape demand for ovals, pears and emeralds. U.S. demand stable and supporting the market. Dealers looking for bargains as Indian polished inventory rises. Rough trading stable with persistent concerns about high auction prices.   

India: Trading slowed after dealers reported good sales in March. Buyers pushing for higher discounts as polished inventory grows. Manufacturing stable after estimated increase of 20% in first quarter. Steady U.S. and Far East demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI qualities. Domestic Indian demand quiet as jewelers continue strike against 1% excise duty. Strike momentum fading ahead of popular gold buying Gudi Padwa festival (April 8). Rough trading steady during De Beers sight week.

Hong Kong: Sentiment improving and dealers expect 2016 to be better than last year. Polished trading picked up since Easter break with stable demand for dossiers and 1 ct., D-J, VS-SI RapSpec A2 diamonds. 3 ct. and larger diamonds weak. Jewelers preparing for May 1 Golden Week but carefully managing inventory. Chinese demand stable but consumers choosing to make luxury purchases in Japan, South Korea and Europe instead of Hong Kong.
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