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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 29, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment improves after positive start to holiday season. More people shopped than expected on Thanksgiving weekend, but average spend fell 7% to $313 per consumer, reports NRF. Online sales +20% in November, with record $7.9B generated on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. Polished market stable, with continued caution about small stones. Luxury jewelers concerned as Chinese tourists spend less abroad. Chow Tai Fook 1H sales +20% to $3.8B, profit -89% to $37M. Tiffany & Co. 3Q sales +4% to $1B, profit -5% to $95M. Christie’s Hong Kong sells $60M (70% by lot). Birks to accept Bitcoin payments, despite the cryptocurrency’s volatility (-68% in 2018).

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: Polished trading mixed, with dealers expecting last-minute holiday orders. More memo goods selling at retail since Thanksgiving weekend. Jewelers taking goods to meet specific orders rather than to fill store space. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds. Positive start to holiday season, with strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Belgium: Sentiment positive, with busier trading for the holiday season. Steady US and European demand, China and India slower. 0.70 ct., G-H, VS2 diamonds selling well. 1 ct. steady. Stones above 4 ct. weak. Rough trading quiet, and premiums relatively low on the secondary market.

Israel: Polished trading stable, but quieter than expected for this time of year. Robust demand for select categories. Shortages supporting prices for 0.70 ct., D-J, VS-SI goods. 0.50 ct., F-J, VS1-SI2 selling well at around -35%. Good demand for 2 ct., J-L, VS2-SI2. Several dealers participating in Hong Kong International Jewelry Manufacturers’ Show (HKIJMS) and hoping well-timed event will boost Asia orders.

India: Dealer market back to normal after Diwali break, and manufacturers expected to start raising production. Foreign buyers in Mumbai looking for polished, but difficult to find the right goods. Local dealers gaining confidence as rupee-dollar exchange rate has stabilized at around $1/INR 70.6. I1 clarities moving well across most color categories. Jewelry market stable during wedding season.

Hong Kong: Wholesalers seeing better orders, but some disappointment over November trading. Dossiers stable, particularly 0.50 to 1 ct., D-J, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Retail sentiment weak amid concerns about cautious spending by tourists from mainland China. Jewelers considering early holiday promotions to reduce excess stock. Low expectations for HKIJMS show, which began November 29.
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