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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jan 9, 2020 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond trading seasonally quiet, but diamantaires in positive mood as they return from New Year break. Dealers waiting for memo sale results to assess holiday season. Concern that US economic growth will slow in 2020 election year. Optimism for mainland China during Jan. 25 lunar festival. Hong Kong retail sluggish. Manufacturers cautious about raising factory production, despite expected 1Q inventory replenishment. Polished prices stable, with improvement in 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, IF-VS diamonds due to Chinese holiday demand and shortages of RapSpec A3+ goods. Prices and demand weak for 3 ct. and larger, F+, VVS+ diamonds. Rapaport hosts trade mission to Surat, India.

Fancies: Ovals are strongest shape, driven by US fashion jewelry demand. Larger Emeralds above 2.50 ct., D-G, VVS2-VS2 also selling well. Pears slightly slower due to sluggish Hong Kong market. Princess and Marquise continue to struggle. Fancies with classic and long ratios trending in fashion segment. Shortage of top-make fancies 1.50 ct. and larger in all categories except D color. US sustaining market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Wholesalers reviewing first-quarter inventory requirements. Uncertainty about market direction in 2020. Selective demand for large, old mined diamonds at Miami Beach Antique Show. Estate jewelry sector optimistic. Retailers focused on engagement-ring promotions ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Belgium: Dealer sentiment positive after difficult 2019. Concern about lab-grown impact on small natural stones is increasing as more diamond manufacturers enter the synthetics space. Polished suppliers holding prices firm, especially for nice-make, RapSpec A3+ goods. Rough market stable, with activity expected to pick up during next week’s Alrosa Alliance sale.

Israel: Polished trading steady. Dealers relatively satisfied with holiday season but still waiting for memo returns. Focus on Chinese New Year orders. Solid demand for 0.30 to 0.60 ct., D-H, VS-SI goods. 1.50 ct., F-J, SI2-I1 also selling well. Fancy shapes improving. Manufacturers anticipate robust rough market during Alrosa and De Beers Jan. sales.

India: Jewelry wholesalers cautious due to high gold price and volatile rupee-dollar exchange rate. Diamond trading centered on filling last-minute orders for Chinese New Year. Good demand for 0.30 to 0.60, D-G, I1+ stones. Diamantaires expect upturn in coming weeks as US dealers return for post-holiday trading. Manufacturers maintaining stable polished production below capacity.

Hong Kong: Slight improvement as dealers cater to Chinese New Year demand. Inventory levels down from six months ago. Shortages and steady orders supporting prices for goods below 1 ct. in D-G, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+. Local retail still weak. Optimism for Chinese New Year sales in mainland China.
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