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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 4, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Market sentiment cautious, with prices softening as 1 ct. RAPI -1.1% during quiet third quarter. Industry expecting stock-market wealth will boost holiday buying, as Dow hits new high of 26,951 (Oct. 3). Hong Kong jewelers hoping for rise in Chinese tourist spending during Golden Week. Indian dealers concerned hike in polished-diamond import duty from 5% to 7.5% will raise costs and reduce local demand. Sotheby’s HK garners $40M (65% by lot), with step-cut, 5 ct., fancy-vivid-blue, VS2 diamond ring selling for $13.8M ($2.8M/ct.). Bonhams sells 5.03 ct., fancy-pink, VS1 diamond for $2.9M ($583,551/ct.). India August polished exports +20% to $2.2B, rough imports -11% to $783M.

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: New York trading slow as dealers return from Jewish holiday vacation. Larger wholesalers receiving steady orders as focus shifts to fourth-quarter season. Stable demand for 1 ct., G-J, SI-I1 diamonds for engagement ring market.D-F, IF-VVS goods weaker. Expectations rising for holiday sales, since consumer confidence hit 18-year high in September, according to the Conference Board.

Belgium: Polished and rough activity relatively quiet. Dealers expect trading to pick up in coming weeks before India’s Diwali break. US orders improving. China demand cautious after Hong Kong show. Rough sentiment mixed, with low, single-digit premiums on the secondary market.

Israel: Bourse reopened after eight-day Sukkot festival, but market relatively inactive. Dealers focused on US, with hope that orders will improve as the holiday season begins. 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI stable. Weaker demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, IF-SI diamonds. Rough prices softening. Dealers and manufacturers waiting for next week’s De Beers sight (Oct. 8 to 12) and subsequent Alrosa sale (Oct. 15 to 19) for better gauge of trading.

India: Polished market slow, with few foreign buyers. Local dealers cautious due to weaker currency, tighter bank lending, and recent hike of import duty. Buyers focused on SI- to I1-clarity goods. Fancy shapes slow. Small manufacturers not buying rough, and reducing polished production ahead of Diwali break, which begins November 7.

Hong Kong: Wholesale quiet. Local dealers shut for last week’s Autumn Moon festival and because Chinese buyers have taken vacation for October 1 National Day holiday. Jewelers buying less stock after yuan currency depreciated 3.7% in the third quarter. Retailers hoping for boost from Chinese tourists during the ongoing Golden Week. 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, IF-VVS weak. 0.50 to 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) selling well.
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