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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 16, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment improves, with wholesale jewelers busy filling Christmas orders. Record $25.3B Alibaba Singles’ Day (11/11) sales signal strong mobile buying for upcoming holiday season. Polished trading stable. Rough market cautious, with low profitability after $455M De Beers sight. High polished inventory sinks Sarine 3Q sales -35% to $11M. Geneva auctions disappoint. Christie’s sells $106M (75% by lot), with emerald, 163ct., D, FL Art of de Grisogono going for $33.7M ($206,266/ct.). Sotheby’s sells $79M (87% by lot), with 33.63ct., fancy light pink, VVS1 diamond fetching $12.8M ($381,154/ct.). Raj Pink fails to sell. Peace Diamond arrives in New York ahead of Dec. 4 auction.

Fancies: Curved fancy shapes in good demand. Ovals are strongest category, followed by Pears and Cushions. Some squares — Emerald and Radiant — are okay, but Princess still weak. Oversizes selling well. Steady demand for fine-quality 6 to 10 ct. Ovals, Pears and Emeralds, with limited supply. US demand supporting market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Far East demand improving as consumers seek fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Steady market, but dealers concerned about low profit margins.Better to trade polished than manufacture rough. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-I2 diamonds. Engagement-ring market steady, with average spend +25% in last five years to $6,351, according to The Knot. Rising expectations for retail holiday season.

Antwerp busier than last week. Steady trading, with sellers managing expectations of demanding buyers. Robust interest in 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. VVS weak. Rough market stable, but low premiums on secondary market. African Diamond Conference and Rough Diamond Days events attract attention and support Antwerp’s claim as rough-diamond trading center.

Israel: Positive sentiment as trading improves from last month. Stable US demand, with dealers filling holiday orders. A lot of goods sent out on memo. Steady interest in 1 ct., F-J, VS-SI2 diamonds. 2 ct. SIs moving well. Dealers cutting costs to improve margins. Large-stone rough market stable.

India: Trading returning to normal after Diwali, with dealers filling US and Chinese holiday orders. Steady market for 1 ct., G-J, VS2-SI1 (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Rough demand stable, despite high polished inventory levels. Factories ramping up polished production after Diwali break. Gold jewelry demand slow in 3Q due to new GST tax system, World Gold Council reports. Diwali sales average.

Hong Kong:
Positive outlook as retail improves ahead of Christmas and Chinese New Year. Positive sentiment after Alibaba’s record online Singles’ Day sales. Jewelers preparing omni-channel offering for holiday season. Good demand for 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI1 (3X, no-fluorescence). Fancy color diamonds gaining popularity, especially pinks and blues.
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