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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 23, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market upbeat with steady orders from U.S. and Chinese jewelers. Improving demand for big stones as Basel show begins with fewer companies attending due to high exhibitor costs. Sotheby’s to offer Oval, 59.60 ct., Fancy Vivid Pink, IF Pink Star diamond at Apr. 4 Hong Kong auction with low estimate of $60M ($1M/ct.). Rapaport Auctions sells 83,000 cts. for $12.5M at Hong Kong show as melee prices rebound. 1Q Rapaport Melee Index +13%. Tiffany 2016 sales -3% to $4B, profit -4% to $446M. De Beers buys LVMH stake in De Beers Diamond Jewellers. Dominion rejects $1.1B takeover bid from Washington Companies. India Feb. polished exports +3% to $2.4B, rough imports -3% to $1.5B.

Fancies: Good demand for Pears in the Far East with Ovals overtaking Pears as the strongest shape in the U.S. Shortages of fine-quality, large Pears and Ovals. Cushions stable. Emeralds selling better than Princesses. Some demand for big fancy shapes, but buyers extremely picky. Improving demand for Radiant, 3.01 to 9.99 ct., D-I, SI1-SI2 elongated stones. 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: Sentiment improving with dealers filling orders. A lot of goods out on memo. Stable demand for commercial-quality 1 to 2 ct., G-I, VS2-SI2 diamonds. Large-stone market improving with high-end suppliers attending the Basel show. Difficult to find top-quality fancy shapes. Diamond jewelry sales cautious with retailers focusing on fashion jewelry to boost turnover.

Belgium: Positive market momentum with good Far East demand for dossiers and steady U.S. demand for 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Fancy shapes selling well with improving demand for Emeralds and Radiants. Commercial-quality, fancy-color diamonds sluggish. Rare fancy colors strong. Steady rough demand following ALROSA sale.

Israel: Polished trading relatively slow compared with other centers. Dossiers stable but 1 to 2.99 ct., D-J, VVS-VS sluggish with tight profit margins. Good demand for 0.90 to 4.99 ct., D-J, I1 diamonds. Dealers scaling down operations to cut costs and improve profit. Large-stone demand steady but fewer suppliers attending Basel show. Rough trading cautious with Israelis struggling to match prices paid by large Indian manufacturers.

India: Good mood in the market. Firm prices for smaller diamonds signal diminishing negative impact of demonetization on local trading. Steady demand for E-I, VS-SI dossiers, especially in 0.40 cts. Large manufacturers near full production and able to turn over new inventory. Rough trading stable with smaller De Beers sight expected next week.

Hong Kong: Polished market slowed slightly after the peak selling period surrounding the March show. Steady demand for 0.50 to 0.70 ct., D-H, VVS-SI RapSpec A2+ (3X, none) diamonds. Lower colors selling well. Retail sentiment improving ahead of second-quarter wedding season. Consumers shifting to branded jewelry as they seek assurances on quality and provenance.
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