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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Feb 16, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment improving with rising expectations for important Hong Kong show. Suppliers hoping polished prices will catch up to rough, enabling a return of profits in the diamond manufacturing sector. Steady prices expected at next week’s De Beers sight. ALROSA CEO urges caution in rough market and commits to branded marketing with traceability programs. Stable large-stone and fancy-color diamond demand at International Diamond Week lifts mood in dealer market. Asian Star 3Q sales +7% to $112M, profit -5% to $2.2M. Botswana 2016 rough diamond exports +54% to $4B with projected economic growth +2.9%. NY Diamond Dealers Club signs deal to move into IGT building on 47th St.

Fancies: Fancy-shape demand improving slightly with shortages of fine-quality, large Pears and Ovals. Cushions making comeback. Emeralds selling better than Princesses. Some demand for big fancy shapes, but buyers extremely picky. U.S. demand steady, Far East fancy shape demand weak. Large 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 steady with slight improvement after longer-than-usual post-Christmas lull. Prices firming with shortage of RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Steady demand for 1 ct., I-F, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ goods. Ovals hottest fancy shape. Jewelry retail market stable over Valentine’s Day with consumers shifting to lower price points. Bridal and engagement rings the strongest segment.

Belgium: Market improved slightly after slow start to the year. Dealers hoping momentum will build for Hong Kong International Jewellery Show (Feb. 28). Suppliers holding prices firm for fine-cut RapSpec A2+ diamonds due to high rough costs. Steady demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Profit margins tight after Jan. rough price hike. Smaller De Beers sight and stable prices expected next week.

Israel: Busy International Diamond Week lifts mood in the bourse. Improved foreign buyer presence from previous years. Steady local demand for niche items like large stones, fancy shapes and fancy color diamonds. Good demand for round, 1 to 1.50 ct., F-I, SI2- I1 diamonds. Steady U.S. demand for Ovals and Pears, 1 to 1.50 ct., F-I, VS-SI2 diamonds. Blues and pinks strong. Dealers preparing for Hong Kong show.

India: Polished trading improving with foreign buyers in Mumbai and local dealers gaining confidence. Effect of demonetization diminishing but concerns remain that small manufacturers in rural areas are unable to open required bank accounts to resume normal business activity. Large manufacturers raising polished output to fill shortages of select categories. Steady Asian demand for GIA dossiers. Good U.S. demand for piqué (I1 to I3 clarity) diamonds. Rough trading stable ahead of next week’s De Beers sight.

Hong Kong: Dealers returned from the Chinese New Year break and preparing for Hong Kong show. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-I, VVS-VS, VG+, GIA-graded diamonds and 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-J, VS2-SI1 goods. Buyers seeing better-quality goods at more attractive prices in Hong Kong than manufacturing centers. Jewelry wholesale orders starting to improve with rising consumer demand in mainland China. Hong Kong retail still cautious with jewelry and luxury sales -17% to $9.2B in 2016.
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