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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jan 4, 2018 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond market optimistic for 2018 after good holiday season. Polished prices supported by shortages of select goods as manufacturing stays below capacity. 1 ct. RAPI -5.3% in 2017, with +0.3% increase in Dec. as difficult year ends on a positive note. Strong rough demand expected when Alrosa and De Beers resume sales later this month. Positive outlook for Chinese New Year (Feb. 16), with high-end consumer confidence boosted by recent stock-market rally. Hong Kong improving with Nov. jewelry, watch and luxury sales +8% to $783M. Titan Company reports double-digit Diwali jewelry-sales growth. EU takes over as Kimberley Process chair.

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: 47th Street quiet. Businesses slowly returning from Christmas-New Year holiday, but snowstorm keeping buyers at home. Initial holiday retail reports positive. Dealers optimistic as they wait for holiday memo returns. Trading expected to increase in January as inventory levels declined during holiday season. Consumer confidence high as stock-market rally continues.

Belgium: Diamond trading slow with bourses closed until January 8. Dealers assessing first-quarter inventory needs. European holiday season mixed. UK jewelers report positive Christmas, but France and Italy sluggish. Rough trade quiet.

Israel: Positive sentiment as dealers report good US holiday sales. Focus now shifting to Far East for Chinese New Year. Suppliers maintaining firm prices when filling select orders. Polished inventory reduced in line with last year’s levels.

India: Stable market driven by Chinese New Year orders. US and Europe quiet during holiday break. Some Antwerp dealers in Mumbai looking for goods. Dealers note positive trend from consumers in India, US and China. Rough trading quiet, with prices on secondary market firming. Manufacturing stable, with new polished slowly coming to the market.

Hong Kong: Polished trading slower but sentiment positive. Dealers optimistic for coming Chinese New Year season with renewed retail growth in Hong Kong and China. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.60 ct., H-L, VS1-SI2 diamonds. Good demand for 1 ct., F-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Buyers working with tighter budgets are shifting to lower color and clarity.
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