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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 11, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished trading back to normal after Jewish and Chinese festivals, but activity below previous Oct. levels. Expectations rising for US holiday season, with focus on improving omni-channel offerings. Retailers taking more goods on memo. Jewelers of America launching generic marketing campaign to boost consumer demand. LVMH 3Q jewelry and watch sales +10% to $1.2B. Rough market cautious during De Beers sight due to weak rupee and tight manufacturing profits. Alrosa Sept. sales +8% to $332M, driven by large stones, while cheaper goods softened. Belgium Sept. polished exports -2% to $1.2B, rough imports -17% to $806M.

Fancies: Far East demand improving as Chinese consumers seek fancy shapes at better prices. US and European demand mixed. Ovals and Cushions are best sellers, followed by Emeralds and Pears. Radiants improving. 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: Steady bridal sales supporting market. A lot of memo deals before the holiday season. Consistent inquiries for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Fancy shapes moving, with shortage of Ovals and improving demand for Radiants. Melee suppliers under pressure, having to resell at lower prices following rupee depreciation.

Belgium: Trading stable and focused on goods below 1 ct. with GIA and HRD reports. Dealer activity cautious, with steady orders from jewelers ahead of the holiday season. Ovals and Pears selling well; demand growing for Princess and Cushion cuts. Rough market relatively quiet during De Beers sight.

Israel: Polished slower than usual for this time of year. Focus on US orders, but not much excitement for upcoming Israel Diamond Week in New York (Oct. 15 to 17). Dealers seeing buying opportunities in weaker Indian market in select categories. Melee and stars slow, and 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-J, IF-VVS goods remain soft. 0.70 and 1 ct. RapSpec A3+ stable.

India: Slight improvement in trading, with more foreign buyers in Mumbai for Bharat Diamond Week (Oct. 8 to 10). Local dealers under pressure due to weak rupee (-14% since beginning of year to INR 74.27/$1 on Oct. 10). Smaller manufacturers closing factories early for Diwali as currency decline, bank caution and sluggish demand lead to tight liquidity. Some cutters also at risk after loaning to Surat textile company involved in $70 million bankruptcy. Jewelry sales improving ahead of Diwali festival, which begins Nov. 7.

Hong Kong: Market up from last week. More inquiries from China after Oct. 1 Golden Week. Robust Chinese tourist arrivals in Hong Kong and Macau during National Day holiday, despite concerns about how US-China trade war and yuan devaluation might impact consumer confidence. Steady demand for 1 ct., H-K, VS-SI diamonds.
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