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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

May 23, 2019 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Dealers heading to Las Vegas with hope new JCK venue will create a buzz and stimulate trading. Market sentiment weak amid slow orders, tight liquidity and declining prices. Memo houses doing well. US retail positive, with fine jewelry a top category at J.C. Penney and Macy’s. Richemont FY jewelry sales at Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels +10% to $7.9B. Diamond manufacturers’ profit squeezed as De Beers maintains steady prices at $415M May sight. Alrosa 1Q revenue -27% to $1.1B, profit -27% to $372M. Sarine 1Q sales -34% to $11M, net loss of $1.4M vs. profit of $3.1M. RapNet announces vote on listing synthetics. Rapaport to host annual Las Vegas conference on Sunday, June 2, at 8 a.m.

Fancies: Fancy shapes soft, reflecting slowdown in high-end demand. Inventory limited. Buyers with special inquiries and big brands paying strong prices. Dealers being squeezed by lack of goods and low profit margins. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well, especially VS2-SI2. Pears with VS clarity also steady. Demand for Radiants and Emeralds declined. Marquises and Princesses weak despite reduced manufacturing. US sustaining market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Steady movement of goods even as discounts deepen. New York suppliers competing by offering cash prices and slight premiums for memo. Some shortages of top-quality 0.70 to 1.50 ct., G-J, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Jewelers see good momentum for fashion and fine jewelry. Bridal and engagement rings stable for summer wedding season.

Belgium: Trading volumes below last years’ levels. Activity supported by US orders as dealers prepare for Las Vegas shows. Good interest in 1.00 to 1.50 ct., D-F, SIs. Weak demand for 3 to 5 ct. stones. Rough market cautious, with dealers selling De Beers boxes at average 1% to 2% premiums above list.

Israel: Mixed expectations for Las Vegas shows, as dealers set appointments and prepare inventory. Fewer diamantaires exhibiting as the focus shifts to buying. Suppliers cautious amid continued price downtrend. Good demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Steady sales of 0.30 to 0.50 ct. but inventory remains high. Rough trading slow, with some weakness in large stones.

India: Polished trading quiet amid ongoing liquidity concerns. Geopolitical factors fueling caution as diamantaires await national-election results. Fewer foreign buyers seen in Mumbai. Pockets of good demand, as dealers look for top-quality supply. Manufacturers maintaining reduced polished production after summer break, while profit margins tighten during May sight.

Hong Kong: Wholesale seasonally slow. Some movement in 0.30 to 0.40 ct., D-J, VS-SI as buyers capitalize on reduced prices. US-China trade war and yuan depreciation (-2.4% in May to CNY 6.9/$1) adding to caution. Buyers shifting to lower colors and clarities to accommodate tighter consumer budgets. Gold jewelry selling well.
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