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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jul 19, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Slow trading, with dealers in summer vacation mode. Bargain-hunters asking for higher discounts during quiet period, but suppliers holding prices firm. Difficult to replace goods after recent price hikes and with fewer RapSpec A2+ goods on the market. US retail seasonally slow, but e-commerce strong as record Prime Day sales exceed Amazon’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Asia growth continues with Chow Tai Fook 2Q same-store sales +4% in China, +26% in Hong Kong/Macau. Concerns weaker yuan will impact 3Q consumer spending. Rough trading stable, with lower volumes supporting prices. De Beers 1H production +8% to 17.5M cts., sales -7% to 17.8M cts., average price +4% to $162/ct.

Fancies: Far East demand improving as Chinese consumers seek Pears and Princesses at better prices. US and European demand 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 prices firming for 3 to 5 ct. due to shortages. US supporting market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States:
Dealers slowly returning from vacation, but finding it difficult to replace goods they sold before July 4 break. Sales up from last year, but profit is tight. Suppliers holding prices firm amid shortages. JA show very quiet. Retail also slow, with some bridal demand during summer wedding season.

Belgium: Fewer orders, with dealers prepared to wait through the vacation period rather than sell at lower prices. Bourses scheduled to close for two weeks at end of July. Good market for 0.30 to 1.20 ct., D-H, VVS2-SI diamonds. Nice-make fancy shapes selling well, with smaller Pears and Ovals in short supply and high demand. Rough trading steady ahead of next week’s De Beers sight.

Israel: Stable prices in quiet market. Solid demand for 0.70 ct., D, IF, and 1 ct., K-L, IF-VS2 diamonds. Local dealers looking for goods during quiet summer months, with some categories selling at lower prices in the US than in India. Melee trading weak, in part due to jewelers buying directly from manufacturers. Industry lobbying banks to raise credit.

India: Sentiment down due to sluggish summer demand, depreciating rupee and rumors of further bankruptcies. Dealers also frustrated by slower turnover, as authorities withhold shipments following $440 million fraud involving customs officials. Fewer overseas buyers in the market. 1 ct. and dossiers moving well. Rough demand stable, but manufacturers careful not to build up excess inventory.

Hong Kong: Cautious market sentiment due to summer slowdown and weaker yuan. Steady demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., D-M, VS-SI diamonds. Buyers willing to pay strong premium for 3X over 3VG. Improving demand for 3 ct. and larger stones, but shortages are restraining deals. Rising interest in fancy shapes and fancy color diamonds.
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