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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 4, 2019 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market slow, with stable US demand supporting the trade. Dealers under pressure as polished prices continue to soften. 1 ct. RAPI -0.5% in 1Q. Rough-market sentiment weak amid reports De Beers is reducing 2019 supply. Manufacturers hoping reduced rough sales will ease liquidity concerns. Signet 2018 sales -0.1% to $6.3B, loss of $690M vs. profit of $486M. Chow Sang Sang 2018 revenue +13% to $2.4B, profit +15% to $129M. Tiffany and Forevermark shift marketing focus to bridal. Sotheby’s Hong Kong sells oval, 88.22 ct., D, FL diamond for $13.8M ($156,150/ct.). De Beers launches provenance program for “Diamonds from DTC.” GIA rebrands synthetics grading report as lab-grown.

Fancies: Fancy shapes stable, driven by US and European demand. Ovals for fashion jewelry in good demand. Supply shortage supporting prices for Pears, with 1.50 ct. the strongest category. Radiants improving. Marquises and Princesses weak, despite reduced manufacturing. Excellent-cut Ovals, Cushions, Pears and Emeralds doing well, with steady orders for fine-quality goods in 6 to 10 ct. 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: Wholesale markets cautious, despite reports of strong retail sales. Jewelers’ 1Q sales improving following weak holiday season. Memo houses doing well. Dealers buying what they need, mainly interested in best-quality (3X, no-fluorescence) goods. Nice SIs in demand but not easy to find.

Belgium: Polished trading slower than expected for this time of year. 0.30 to 0.50 ct. selling well, with lower prices due to excess supply. Stable demand for excellent-cut, 1 ct., G-J, SI diamonds. Lower-quality SIs weak. Large stones 2 to 5 ct. also slow. Rough market cautious during De Beers sight.

Israel: Trading activity down. Many suppliers traveling to the US before the Passover holiday (April 19-26), looking for niche markets outside the crowded New York market. 0.50 to 0.90 ct. slower than 1 to 2 ct. Sluggish demand for 3 ct. and larger.

India: Sentiment subdued amid reduced bank credit and tight rough-to-polished profit margins. Manufacturers lowering production in an effort to deplete inflated inventories and in anticipation of lower De Beers rough offerings. Good demand for nice-quality SIs, which are in short supply. Buyers sensing midstream pressures and pushing for deeper discounts. Dealers focused on US, hoping for stronger 2Q restocking by jewelry retailers.

Hong Kong: Wholesale and retail markets seasonally quiet ahead of Easter holiday (April 21). Strong emphasis on lower colors (I-M). Good orders for VS clarities amid shortage of nice SIs. 1 ct., D-I, VS (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds selling well. 3 ct. and larger stagnant. Jewelers seeing shift to lower-priced diamonds in collections. Demand for expensive jewelry slowing.
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