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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 8, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished trading slow as Indian market shuts for Diwali. Dealers focused on US orders ahead of holiday season, but hoping for boost from China’s 11/11 Singles’ Day. Alibaba expanding diamond and jewelry platform, enabling Belgian and Israeli suppliers to sell directly to consumers. US e-commerce expected to rise 15% in Nov.-Dec. Rough trading cautious ahead of De Beers sight as manufacturers hold large inventory during Diwali break. Alrosa cuts FY sales forecast due to weak small-stone demand, reports 3Q revenue +20% to $1B, profit +87% to $366M. US Aug. polished imports +16% to $1.8B. Israeli police arrest Leviev employees and relatives on diamond-smuggling allegations.

Fancies: Fancy-shape market stable, driven by US and European demand for fashion jewelry. Ovals and Cushions are best sellers, followed by Emeralds and Pears. Supply shortage supporting prices for 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. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes at better prices. 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 seeing slower activity than expected before the holiday season. A lot of interest in memo. Prices firm for certified diamonds, with steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods. Melee market soft. Retail sales stable, but holiday traffic has yet to begin.

Belgium: Trading sluggish for this time of year. Focus is on US, with good orders for 1 ct., G-I, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Better Far East demand anticipated after Chinese buyers avoided inventory purchases in third quarter. Low-quality fancy-color diamonds weak, with a lot of available inventory. Rough trading quiet before next week’s sight.

Active trading, with steady US market for 1 ct., RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Orders rising as Indian competitors take vacation. Some dealers focused on refining online offering ahead of China’s Singles’ Day festival. Prices for 5 ct., D-J, SI1-I1 firm at -25%/-31%. Solid fancy-shape demand for 1.50 to 3.99 ct. sizes.

India: Market very quiet, with most businesses closed for Diwali. Factories expected to stay shut for two to four weeks, as dealers are stuck with large inventories over the break. Jewelers report encouraging sales during the festival, boosted by lower gold prices due to weak rupee.

Hong Kong: Polished trading improving ahead of wedding season. Chinese retail sales robust, but wholesalers cautious due to currency uncertainties and trade tensions. Better demand from dealers in other Asian centers. Typhoon and geopolitics impacted Hong Kong October luxury market: Year-on-year sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts up 2.2% to HKD 6.15 billion ($785 million), compared with 20% year-on-year growth for January-to-October period.
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