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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Dec 28, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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US holiday season positive, with fashion jewelry driving growth. Nov.-Dec. holiday jewelry sales +5.9% after strong last-minute buying, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Female self-purchases gaining momentum. Overall retail sales +4.9%, online shopping +18%, as Amazon boasts record holiday season. US and Belgian dealers on vacation, with positive outlook for next year. Miners wary of inflated inventory. Alrosa to cut 2018 rough production -7% to 36.6M cts. US puts diamond trader Dan Gertler on OFAC sanctions list for corrupt DRC deals. The Rapaport Group wishes everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year.

Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, followed by Pears and Cushions as next-best shapes. Emeralds and Radiants okay, but Princesses 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: New York trade quiet with businesses closed for Christmas-New Year period. Retail sentiment positive following good holiday sales. Studs, pendants, eternity bands strong sellers. Lots of last-minute sales. Dealer market still cautious, waiting for memo returns before assessing holiday season.

Belgium: Trading very quiet with bourses closed until January 8. Dealers upbeat about US and Chinese markets over holiday season, but cautious about Europe. Jewelers concerned about synthetics and competition from e-commerce platforms.

Israel: Dealers satisfied with holiday sales, after steady trading during December. Good demand from US independents this holiday season. Positive online sales via company websites and third-party consumer platforms such as James Allen and eBay. Good Chinese demand for 1 ct., K-L, VVS-VS diamonds. Large stones improved slightly.

India: Positive sentiment even amid slower trading, with fewer foreign buyers in the market over Christmas and New Year. Steady local interest in gold and diamond jewelry during wedding season. Good demand for 1 ct., J-L, VS-SI diamonds. Some improvement in princess-cut demand. Rough market seasonally quiet, with factories maintaining steady lower-capacity production until the New Year.

Hong Kong: Wholesale activity down slightly during Christmas holiday. Dealers focused on filling Chinese New Year demand. Steady market for 1 ct., D-H, VVS2-SI1 RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Retail sales improving, with Hong Kong jewelers expecting better season than last year.
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