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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Feb 15, 2018 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished prices firm, supported by shortage of select fine-cut (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Trading slow as Chinese buyers take vacation during the Lunar New Year. Dealers hoping strong festival jewelry sales will boost diamond demand at Hong Kong show (Feb. 27-Mar. 3). US stable. Rough market busy as cutters raise polished production. Alrosa Jan. sales $499M. Small miners see higher prices at rough tenders. Asian Star 3Q diamond sales +45% to $145M. Israel pledges $284M to guarantee industry bank loans. Israel 2017 polished exports -4% to $4.5B, rough imports -12% to $2.9B. The Rapaport Group wishes all our friends a happy and successful Year of the Dog.

Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, followed by Pears and Cushions. Emeralds and Radiants fair, 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: Market sentiment positive. Dealers doing business at higher prices than at the beginning of the year. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ goods. Some shortages of fine-cut RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Pears and Ovals the strongest fancy shapes. Strong online jewelry promotions for Valentine’s Day.

Belgium: Busy trading, with dealers optimistic for 2018. Firm prices, supported by shortages of RapSpec A2 (3X, no-fluorescence) goods. 3 ct.+ collection diamonds also in short supply. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, VS-SI diamonds. Indian dealers looking for lower-cost goods. Rough market stable during Alrosa contract sale.

Israel: Positive atmosphere after busy Diamond Week earlier in Feb. Dealers hoping good trading momentum will continue through Hong Kong show. Dealers buying less than they’ve sold, in order to reduce inventory and due to high replacement costs. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Rough trading stable, with strong bidding for specials at auctions.

India: Steady activity as dealers prepare for Hong Kong show. Fewer foreign buyers in Mumbai, with Hong Kong dealers on vacation during Chinese New Year. Solid US demand for commercial-quality diamonds. Manufacturers raising polished production in anticipation of post-holiday orders. Rough market busy, but concerns rising about high price levels.

Hong Kong: Dealer trading slow with wholesale market shut for Chinese New Year. Ongoing optimism for China and Hong Kong jewelry sales. Retail down from pre-holiday activity, as local consumers focus on family rather than shopping. Steady Chinese tourist traffic. Rising expectations for Hong Kong show.
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