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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Feb 14, 2019 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market improving, with suppliers selling at lower prices to generate liquidity. Rough trading cautious as high rough prices and weak polished continue to squeeze midstream profits. Shortages of top-make goods due to reduced manufacturing, but large inventory of leftover lower-quality diamonds. Chinese government reports retail sales +9% during 7-day Lunar New Year holiday. High-end luxury robust as Boucheron owner Kering sees strong growth in US and Asia. NRF expects jewelry to top list of Valentine’s Day gifts. Alrosa Jan. sales -44% to $282M. Belgium Jan. polished exports -4% to $777M, rough imports -33% to $727M. Rapaport announces Trade Mission to Surat April 8-11.

Fancies: Fancy-shape market stable, driven by US and European demand for fashion jewelry. Supply shortage supporting prices for Pears. Radiants improving. Marquises and Princesses weak. Excellent-cut Ovals, Pears and Emeralds doing well, with steady demand for fine-quality goods in 6 to 10 ct., and prices firming for 3 to 5 ct. due to shortages. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes at better prices. US sustaining 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 quiet for February. A lot of calls for short-term memo, but fewer sales. Buyers are looking for deals and are able to push suppliers’ prices lower. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ goods. Some shortages in top-make RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Strong online jewelry promotions for Valentine’s Day.

Belgium: Mixed outlook for the market, with suppliers to the Far East doing well before the Hong Kong show. US buyers holding back. Solid demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A2+ (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Fewer fresh goods becoming available. Rough trading cautious, with De Beers and Alrosa products selling at lower premiums on the secondary market.

Israel: Sentiment improving. Dealers concentrating on the US while Far East returns from Chinese New Year break. Good orders for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. 0.30 to 0.50 ct. and 0.70 ct. selling after recent price cuts. Rough trading stable, with steady interest in specials (above 10.8 ct.).

India: Dealers preparing for Hong Kong show, stimulating better activity in Bharat Diamond Bourse. Overseas buyers interested in 0.30 to 2 ct., H-K, VS2-I1 stones. Little buzz around IIJS Signature fair, but steady gold jewelry market for wedding season. Liquidity concerns amid bankruptcy rumors of small-scale manufacturers. Polished production levels remain restrained.

Hong Kong: Polished trading sluggish as dealers slowly return from Chinese New Year vacation. Activity expected to pick up in next two weeks ahead of Hong Kong show, which starts Feb. 28. Solid demand for 1 ct., D-I, VS-SI goods (3X, no-fluorescence). Retail sales good during Lunar festival and for Valentine’s Day. Stable Chinese tourist traffic during the season.
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