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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Dec 5, 2019 11:03 AM   By Rapaport News
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Jewelers and memo dealers gaining confidence after positive start to holiday season. E-commerce driving growth, with record $9.4B purchases on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics. NRF counts 189.6M shoppers and average spend +16% to $362 over Thanksgiving weekend. Tiffany & Co. 3Q sales flat at $1B, Signet Jewelers sales flat at $1.2B. Shortages and holiday demand supporting diamond prices, especially for diamonds below 1 ct. RAPI for 0.30 ct. +5.3% in Nov., 1 ct. -0.5%. Rough market improving with demand for RapSpec A3+ polished. De Beers returns to regular sales policy at next week’s sight, ending flexibility that allowed higher buybacks or deferrals.

Fancies: Some improvement in 1 ct. and larger, G-H, VS-SI fancy shapes. Excellent-cut pears and ovals selling well as more affordable alternatives to rounds. High-end qualities weak as dealers and consumers shift to lower price points. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well in 1.50 and 2.99 ct., G-H, VS and H-K, SI2. Large Emeralds steady. Marquises and Princesses weak despite reduced manufacturing. US sustaining market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes since prices are lower than rounds. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell even at very deep discounts.

United States: Positive reports about the holiday season from wholesale and retail. Feedback fueling optimism among dealers for sales of memo goods. Demand robust for commercial-quality engagement rings but slow for high-end bridal. Estate and vintage jewelry hot. Diamantaires trying to develop strategy for 2020 amid concern about long-term outlook.

Belgium: Market improving as shortages lead to firmer prices. Less rough available after drop in supply between July and November. Indian rough buyers looking for goods as large-scale Surat factories raise production. Polished trading steady, with dealers focused on filling US orders.

Israel: Momentum slower than in previous weeks. 0.30 to 0.89 ct. diamonds remain firm, supported by shortages as well as US and Chinese holiday orders. 1 ct. stable. Reduced polished inventory fueling anticipation of increased rough supply in December. Merger approval for Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank and Union Bank means smaller number of local lenders, sparking concerns about tighter credit for the industry.

India: Buyers actively looking for goods amid scarcity of better-quality RapSpec A3+ diamonds that are in demand. Very little new supply available since manufacturers decreased production over last five months. Rough orders expected to improve at next week’s sight as cutters prepare for post-holiday restocking among jewelers. Steady sales of I1-I3 stars and melee. Interest in certified stones centering on goods below 1 ct. Local jewelry market falling short of expectations during wedding season.

Hong Kong: Polished trading doing better as political protests subside. Retail still quiet due to weak consumer sentiment. Major jewelers seeing steady China sales compensate for poor Hong Kong performance. Engagement-ring segment strong, but consumers shifting to smaller center stones to meet lower price points. Improvement in 0.40 to 0.70 ct., D-I, VS-SI diamonds as well as 1 ct., I-J, SI-I1.
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