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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jun 18, 2020 11:02 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment improving as US retail shows signs of recovery with May sales +18% from previous month. Dealers and jewelers anticipating rise in bridal demand. Geopolitical tensions and Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing fueling caution about China. Rough producers see interest in large, investment-grade diamonds; D-IF prices firming in smaller-size polished (0.50 to 2 ct.). Surat factories operating at very low capacity, as India April-May rough imports -94% to $81M, polished exports -79% to $389M. Grib Diamonds sells 90% by value at Antwerp rough auction, with slightly higher prices than March. Industry mourns death of Rosy Blue founder Arunkumar Mehta. GJEPC elects Colin Shah as chairman.

Fancies:
Fancy shapes sluggish as US retailers reopen. Dealers hoping for improvement in fancies for engagement rings, as consumers seek alternative, unique designs at lower cost. Inventory is low for 1.50 ct. Ovals and Pears, supporting prices, but demand is still weak. High availability of fancies below 1 ct., with Cushions showing similar price declines to rounds. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States:
Manufacturing and wholesale sectors reopening but trading still slow. Dealers receiving some memo requests, mainly for bridal goods. Suppliers firm on prices in anticipation of stronger activity in the coming weeks as businesses return. Jewelers expecting wave of post-lockdown proposals.

Belgium:
Customers placing sporadic orders and demand selective, with no inventory buying. Some movement in 0.30 to 0.90 ct., F-H, VS1 diamonds; 1 ct. slow. Rough market stable at low levels, with De Beers holding sight viewings in Antwerp amid restrictions on travel to Botswana. Coronavirus infection rate stabilizes but lack of Chinese tourists dampens hopes of recovery in European luxury sales.

Israel: Trading limited as diamantaires return to offices. Minimal dealer trading taking place, with growing concern the slow market will continue despite reopening of US retail and global diamond hubs. Some interest in 1 to 1.10 ct., D-F, VVS-VS1 goods. Bourse management meets with Minister of Economy to discuss support for the industry.

India: Sector still partly closed as Covid-19 cases rise. Eight manufacturers shut sections of factory after workers test positive. Virus outbreak in Beijing and India-China border dispute add to concerns about market recovery. Cautious optimism that market can improve before Nov. 14 Diwali festival. Steady demand for 1 ct., D-E, IF-VVS1 goods, especially D-IF stones. Diamond industry observes day of mourning to mark the passing of Arunkumar Mehta.

Hong Kong
: Retail recovery in mainland China boosting expectations for polished demand. Online sales improving, especially in smaller diamond sizes. Local Hong Kong jewelry sales weak due to drop in tourism, with government enforcing 14-day quarantine for arrivals. Chinese diamond dealers also staying away. Growing demand for 1 ct., D-H, VS, 3X goods. Inventory levels relatively low, with nice SI2 diamonds in short supply.
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