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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jan 31, 2019 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished trading sluggish with Far East dealers on holiday for Chinese New Year. Reduced expectations for Chinese Year of the Pig after 4Q slowdown. US buyers cautious as Conference Board consumer confidence index falls 5% to 18-month low, due to volatile stock market and government shutdown. High-end luxury doing well. LVMH 4Q jewelry and watch revenue +8% to $1.3B. Rough premiums decline, with continued weakness in low-value goods at $505M De Beers sight. Petra Diamonds 1H sales +8% to $207M, production +10% to 2M cts., average price -6% to $119/ct. Rapaport Group announces trip to Sierra Leone (April 1-4) to highlight artisanal mining industry.

Fancies: Fancy-shape market stable, driven by US and European demand for fashion jewelry. Excellent-cut ovals, pears and emeralds doing well. Supply shortage supporting prices for Pears. Radiants improving. Marquises and Princesses weak. 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: New York market quieter than usual for this time of year. Smaller dealers relying on memo calls rather than sales. Steady interest in 1 to 1.50 ct., G-H, SI goods. Large-stone demand softer. Jewelers concentrating on Valentine’s Day promotions, with focus on engagement rings and anniversary gifts.

Belgium: Polished trading steady and dealers relatively optimistic. Steady demand for 1 ct., D-F, VS-SI goods. 1.50 to 2 ct., D-G, VS-SI also doing well. 5 ct. and larger diamonds slower. Rough trading cautious following last week’s De Beers sight. Cutters and rough dealers concerned about profitability since premiums on the secondary market declined in January.

Israel: Busy activity in the bourse during International Diamond Week. Niche suppliers who are able to provide curated products for their customers are doing well. Buyers looking to fill existing orders rather than build inventory. Steady demand for 1 to 1.50 ct., G-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Improving demand for princess-cut, 1.50 to 2.99 ct., G-I, VS2-SI1.

India: Dealers and cutters cautious as US restocking is slower than expected.Low volume of new goods coming to the market, with significant slowdown in diamond manufacturing. Inventory levels high and suppliers offering old stock at deeper discounts. Steady demand for SI-I1 clarity goods. Concerns about tight profit margins and reduced bank credit. Rough trading relatively slow following De Beers sight.

Hong Kong: Diamond market quiet, with dealers on vacation during Chinese New Year. Business expected to resume in mid-February ahead of Hong Kong show. Jewelry retail sales stable, with steady engagement ring demand for the Lunar festival and Valentine’s Day. Good demand for 1 ct., F-H, VS-SI, 3X goods. Gemstones and fancy-color diamonds selling well for the season, particularly rubies and emeralds.
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