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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

May 30, 2019 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Las Vegas show opens with hopes it will uplift diamond market. Jewelers taking more on memo and using tech in their stores to tap online supply and improve consumer buying experience. Polished suppliers left with large volumes and low profit margins. Rough market slow. India’s customs unreasonably tightens disclosure rules for rough imports. India April polished exports -18% to $1.6B, rough imports -5% to $1.4B. Christie’s Hong Kong sells $45M (77% by lot) with cushion, 3.43 ct., fancy-vivid-purplish-pink, IF diamond fetching $7.5M ($2.2M/ct.). 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. Well-known brands and buyers with specific requests are paying the strongest 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: All eyes on Las Vegas shows. Positive sentiment as consumer confidence hits six-month high, despite Chinese trade-war concerns. Steady demand for 0.70 to 1.50 ct., G-J, SI-I1 diamonds. Jewelers seeing steady engagement-ring sales. Bridal driving growth in platinum sales, according to Platinum Guild.

Belgium: Polished trading stable, with focus on bread-and-butter US goods during Las Vegas shows. Buyers hunting for bargains and have specific needs as jewelers limit inventory purchases. Solid demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+. Large stones weaker. Rough trading relatively quiet with low premiums on the secondary market.

Israel: Local activity slow, as many dealers have gone to Las Vegas. Many choosing to attend as buyers rather than exhibitors this year. Suppliers assessing market conditions in order to prepare for second half of the year. Inventory levels slightly down from previous months but still well above 2018 levels. Good demand for nice SIs, which are difficult to source.

India: Local trading limited as many dealers traveled to Las Vegas. Some Far East and Indian buyers in Mumbai, but supply is focused on the US. Indian sentiment weak due to reduced demand and tight liquidity. Good demand for 0.70 to 1.99 ct., G-J, VS-SI. Stars and melee weak. Cutters working below capacity.

Hong Kong: Sentiment soft as trade war heats up. Polished market slow during traditionally quieter period. Dealers focused on lower colors and clarities, reflecting shift in consumer demand toward lower price points. Jewelers limiting diamond inventory and seeing stronger momentum from gold products.
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