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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 14, 2019 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Market sentiment weak, with select categories seeing demand. Diamonds between 0.70 ct. and 1.99 ct. moving well, but large stones slow. Sluggish demand for goods under 0.50 ct., with manufacturers reducing production of that size. Rough market subdued. Alrosa Jan.-Feb. sales -40% to $627M. Belgium Feb. rough imports -28% to $621M, polished exports -3% to $1.2B. Gem Diamonds 2018 revenue +25% to $267M, profit +171% to $47M after record production of exceptional stones. Eurostar Diamond Traders close to bankruptcy amid $500M debts. Signet appoints Jamie Singleton president of merged Kay, Zales and Peoples leadership team.

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, Cushions, Pears and Emeralds doing well, with steady orders 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: Market weak, with falling interest in diamonds under 0.50 ct. and above 3 ct. Buyers insisting on discounts due to excess supply. Good orders for cushions and ovals. Growth in January retail sales indicates improving consumer confidence.

Belgium: Sentiment low, with demand in select categories. Round, 1 ct. goods selling well, but less movement in 2 to 2.99 ct. range, and very weak market in 5 ct. stones and larger. Strong interest in pear, 1 to 2 ct., VVS diamonds. Inventories falling as manufacturing levels decline.

Israel: Polished production low due to weak market for rounds 3 ct. and larger in high colors and clarities. Shortages of ovals and pears supporting prices.

India: Sentiment cautious, with selective interest in smaller sizes. Surplus of +11 goods has placed pressure on prices. Firms trading rough rather than manufacturing, creating shortages in certain melee categories. Slow demand for diamonds under 0.50 carats, but better sales of round, 1 ct. stones. Dealers seeing stronger orders from US than China, with certified goods easier to sell than uncertified. Liquidity low for manufacturers and traders as Mar. 31 financial year-end approaches.

Hong Kong: Activity dropping slightly as positive effects of Hong Kong show wear off and peak retail season ends. Demand remains for 1 ct., G-I, VVS2-SI2 diamonds, with shortages of stones containing no black inclusions. Dossiers not selling well, especially in 0.50 to 0.99 ct. range. Weak overall demand for 2 ct. diamonds, but dealers still getting orders for certain triple-Ex goods with high colors and medium clarities. Fancy-yellow sales stable in China.
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