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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Sep 6, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond industry focused on important Hong Kong fair, hoping the recovery in Far East jewelry retail will continue amid trade tensions and weaker currencies. Dealer trading slow, with softer prices during summer slowdown as 1 ct. RAPI -0.5% in August. Rough demand cautious, with lower premiums on secondary market. Gem Diamonds 1H revenue +81% to $168M, profit of $24M vs. loss of $3M last year. Hong Kong 1H polished imports +4% to $9.7B, exports flat at $6.7B. Equity firm Epiris buys Bonhams auction house. Rapaport offices will be closed on Monday and Tuesday (September 10-11) due to Rosh Hashanah. Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful Jewish New Year.

Fancies: Far East demand improving as Chinese consumers seek Pears and Princesses at better prices. US and European demand mixed. Ovals and Cushions are best sellers, followed by Emeralds and Pears. 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: Trading quiet in shorter week that began with Labor Day.New York dealers expecting slow activity until after September Jewish festivals. Fewer memo orders from retailers. Stable engagement-ring demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Major jewelers optimistic for fourth-quarter holiday season, with marketing focus on fashion diamond jewelry.

Belgium: Cautious sentiment due to slow trading, India bankruptcy rumors, and decline of rupee, Chinese yuan and Turkish lira. Gap widening between buyers’ offers and suppliers’ asking prices. Steady demand for 1 ct., D-J, SI2 goods. Very little inventory-buying. Rough dealer premiums soften during De Beers sight.

Israel: Dealers focused on preparing inventory for next week’s Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. Quiet expected in local market starting next week, from Jewish New Year through Sukkot festival, which ends October 1. Steady demand for 1 to 3 ct., D-G, VS-SI diamonds. Smaller goods sluggish, with some price flexibility. Rough market slightly weaker.

India: Slow trading, with some dealers missing the Hong Kong show due to next week’s Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Sentiment down following rupee depreciation to record low (INR 72.10/$1), bankruptcy rumors and tightened bank credit. Small manufacturers cautious and reducing polished production. Drop in demand for small polished diamonds evident in rough market at De Beers sight.

Hong Kong: Business improving ahead of next week’s show. Steady demand for 0.30, 0.50 and 1 ct., D-G, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ goods. Rising interest in lower colors (G-K). Hong Kong jewelers more upbeat than those based in mainland China as weaker yuan impacts consumer sentiment. Currency may also affect tourist spending over October 1 Golden Week.
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