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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 20, 2019 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Low expectations for Basel show amid weak large-stone demand and fewer diamond, jewelry and watch exhibitors. US stable, with good orders for commercial-quality 0.70 to 1.99 ct., G-J, SI-I2 diamonds. Shortages developing for better qualities as India cuts back production. Rough market quiet, with deep concerns about manufacturing profitability. Alrosa 2018 revenue +9% to $4.6B, profit +15% to $1.4B. De Beers launches $2B Jwaneng mine expansion. India Feb. polished exports -4% to $2.3B, rough imports -18% to $1.4B. CIBJO specifies need to disclose treatments for both natural and lab-grown diamonds and gemstones. Fugitive jeweler Nirav Modi arrested in London.

Fancies: Fancy-shape market stable, driven by US and European demand for fashion jewelry. Supply shortage supporting prices for Pears, with 1.50 ct. the strongest category. 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: Steady New York trading. Dealers selling old stock, with few new goods coming onto the market, as manufacturing has declined. Difficult to find right products to satisfy buyers’ specific requirements. Jewelry retail sales stable with no major holidays to boost demand. Jewelers focused on bridal; engagement-ring sales going strong ahead of summer wedding season.

Belgium: Mixed sentiment, with good demand for 1 to 1.99 ct., H-K, VS2-SI2 diamonds. Steady orders for pears, cushions and ovals. Market for fancy colors relatively quiet. Some interest in Basel show, but fewer dealers attending. Profit margins tight, with reduced rough supply supporting prices, while polished continues to soften. Rough activity down following last week’s Alrosa sale.

Israel: Quiet market during a short week, with offices closing Thursday for Purim holiday. Many dealers attending Baselworld as visitors rather than exhibitors, hoping to do business on the sidelines of the show. Large stones above 3 ct. weak. Steady orders for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Shortage of nice ovals and pears supporting prices. Rough trading cautious amid tight profit margins for dealers and manufacturers.

India: Sentiment weak amid slow polished trading. Foreign buyers looking for bargains and pushing for deeper discounts on goods below 0.50 ct. Local dealers cautious, despite boost from rupee’s rise to INR 68.6/$1. Liquidity tight due to overseas purchasers delaying payments, and businesses settling accounts before the financial year-end. Rough market subdued as cutters try to reduce polished inventory and avoid manufacturing low-profit rough.

Hong Kong: Polished activity stable. Good market for pointer sizes at reduced prices. Steady interest in 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI, with lower I-M colors also selling well. 2 ct. and larger stones sluggish. Buyers insisting on 3X, no fluorescence. Jewelry retail relatively slow after the Chinese New Year season.
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