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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jan 11, 2018 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond trading steady after positive US retail season. Signet disappoints again as Nov.-Dec. sales -3% to $1.9B due to glitches in outsourced credit program, lower sales of Ever Us line, and less effective promotions. Department stores rebound, with Macy’s and J.C. Penney seeing jewelry growth. Richemont jewelry maisons’ 3Q sales +5% to $2.2B. Rising expectations for Chinese New Year (Feb. 16) after Chow Tai Fook 3Q sales +12% in China, flat in Hong Kong/Macau. Strong rough demand anticipated at Jan. Alrosa and De Beers sales, with manufacturers ready to raise production for 1Q stock replenishment. Shmuel Schnitzer steps down as chairman of Israel Diamond Institute.

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 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: Positive sentiment and steady activity as wholesalers return from end-of-year vacation. Dealers optimistic for 2018 due to strong economy, rising stock market, and tax cuts. Jewelry sales increase, driven by growth at larger independents and department stores. Market leader Signet falters. Fashion jewelry doing well.

Belgium: Dealers return from holiday in optimistic mood. Far East demand steady ahead of Chinese New Year. Dealers waiting for post-holiday US orders. Focus on VVS2-SI2. Piqué goods weak. Quiet rough trading expected to improve over next two weeks during Alrosa sale (Jan. 15) and De Beers sight (Jan. 22).

Israel: Cautious trading as dealers wait for holiday memo returns and final results from the season. Focus on filling Chinese New Year orders. Sentiment good, with improved profit in past month. Stable demand for 0.30 to 1.49 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. 1 ct., D, IF also good. Manufacturers anticipate robust rough market during upcoming Alrosa and De Beers sales.

India: Trading relatively quiet as US and European dealers slowly return from Christmas-New Year break. Foreign buyers from China, South Korea and Israel looking for goods. Steady market for 1 ct., I-L, VS-SI diamonds, with shortages in lower colors. 0.70 ct. soft. Polished production below capacity but expected to rise after upcoming rough sales cycle.

Hong Kong: Stable trading, but market quieter than before Christmas. Positive outlook for Chinese New Year, with renewed jewelry-retail growth in mainland China. Good demand for 1 ct., D-G, VS-SI diamonds. Custom designs rising in popularity among Chinese millennials.

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