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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jun 7, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... JCK show sees fewer participants, but trading reflects healthy US market. Big jewelry brands and top-tier independents adjusting to dynamic retail environment and enjoying 2018 growth. Suppliers maintaining stable prices, with 1 ct. RAPI -0.2% in May. De Beers’ entry into lab-grown diamonds dominates discussions at the show, with industry largely supporting the move to disrupt the synthetics market. Forevermark unveils omni-channel strategy with online sales platform. DPA to launch China campaign in July, shifts US focus to female self-purchasers. Signet 1Q sales +6% to $1.5B, loss of $497M vs. profit of $79M last year. Chow Tai Fook FY sales +15% to $7.5B, profit +33% to $536M.

Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, followed by Emeralds, Pears and Cushions. Marquises and Princesses 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 continues through Las Vegas shows. Buyers looking for specific items in loose diamonds, while retailers planning fall and holiday season collections. Steady demand for round, 0.50 to 1.25 ct., G-I, SI diamonds. VVS weak. Fancy shapes selling well, particularly Ovals and Emeralds.

Belgium: Antwerp trading slightly quieter, with many dealers at Las Vegas fairs. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Buyers looking at price points and avoiding inventory buildup. Polished exports up in 2018, with US and Hong Kong fueling growth. Rough trading stable ahead of next week’s Alrosa sale.

Israel: Dealers upbeat about US market following JCK show. Steady interest in 0.75 to 1.25 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Shortage of RapSpec A2+ diamonds supporting prices. Emeralds, Ovals and Pears driving fancy shapes. Rough trading slow.

India: Activity relatively low as May summer break ends and dealers return from Las Vegas. Inventory levels rising, with steady polished manufacturing. Solid demand for dossiers, melee slightly weak. Cutters concerned about tight profit margins.

Hong Kong: Diamond trading quiet, with dealers interested in Las Vegas feedback. Suppliers preparing for Hong Kong show (June 21 to 24), the smallest of the municipality’s three annual fairs. Hong Kong and mainland China retail environment improving. Chow Tai Fook notes changing consumer preferences due to rise of middle class and millennials as well as increased urbanization.
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