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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 18, 2019 10:54 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment mixed, with slow trading before Easter and Passover. Selective buyers looking for 3X (X3) fine VS-SI diamonds. Steady US demand for 1 to 1.50 ct. goods ahead of summer wedding season. Diamond cutters reducing production and seeking to offload excess 0.30 to 0.50 ct. inventory. Alrosa 1Q sales -37% to $988M, rough-price index -3%. Chow Tai Fook and Luk Fook signal slowdown during Chinese New Year, with decline in gem-set jewelry sales. Christie’s NY garners $30M (86% by lot). Sotheby’s NY sells $22M (78% by lot). US considers regulations requiring source-of-origin disclosure. THE RAPAPORT PRICE LIST WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON APRIL 26 DUE TO THE JEWISH HOLIDAY OF PASSOVER.

Fancies: Fancy shapes stable, driven by US and European demand. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well. 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 nicely, 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:
Polished market stable, with steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods. Buyers looking for fine-grade VS-SI (no black or BGM – brown, green, milky), but they are hard to find even at firm prices. Large volume of lower-quality old stock that suppliers are willing to discount. Retailers reducing in-store inventory due to improved omni-channel platforms, increased demand for customized jewelry, and rise in memo transactions. Jewelers beginning promotions for Mother’s Day (May 12).

Dealer trading quiet ahead of Easter and Passover holidays. Market stabilizing as shortages appear: Manufacturers have reduced polished production, and miners are cutting back rough supply. Steady demand for 1 to 2.99 ct., VS-SI goods. Larger stones slow. Diamonds with fluorescence moving better as discounts entice buyers.

Trading slow ahead of Passover, with the bourse partially closed next week for the festival (April 20 to 26). Dealers optimistic that reduced rough supply will ease market pressure and create some polished shortages. Good demand for round, 0.70 to 1.99 ct., G-K, SI diamonds. Excellent-cut pears and ovals in short supply, with 1.50 ct., VS-SI the strongest category. Dealers looking for bargains in India but struggling to find the right goods.

India: Polished market slow amid tight liquidity. Business activity disrupted by national elections. Parcels of 0.30 to 0.50 ct. diamonds selling better than certs. Manufacturers reducing polished production, leading to selective shortages. Steady US demand for 1 ct., SI-I1 diamonds supporting the trade. Dealers expecting more trading to shift from Mumbai to Surat in coming years.

Hong Kong:
Activity seasonally slow. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-M, VS-SI, 3X diamonds. Interest in 0.30 ct. stones has softened. Jewelers marketing cheaper items during slow period. Many are rolling out new collections for Mother’s Day. Consumer sentiment improving, after China’s 1Q gross domestic product (GDP) growth beats forecasts.
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