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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jul 16, 2020 11:18 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond markets quiet amid new wave of coronavirus infections. Demand selective with dealers filling specific orders from US and Chinese jewelers. Midstream inventory reduced as manufacturers limit rough buying. Lucara to sell 10.8 ct.+ rough to HB Group for price based on polished outcome. De Beers 2Q production -54% to 3.5M cts., sales -96% to $56M, 1H prices -21% to $119/ct. Alrosa production -42% to 5.7M cts. Sotheby’s HK sells $56.5M (80% by lot), including heart, 5.04 ct., fancy vivid blue, VS2 diamond for $10.6M ($2.1M/ct.). Christie’s achieves $40M (82% by lot), with marquise, 12.11 ct., fancy intense blue going for $16M ($1.3M/ct.). Richemont FY1Q revenue -47% to $2.3B.

Fancies: Reduced inventory supporting prices for select fancy shapes. Ovals in 1.50 to 3 ct. are the strongest category, followed by Pears. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand. Dealers hoping for improvement in fancy shape engagement rings as consumers seek alternative designs at lower cost. High availability of fancies below 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Wholesalers focused on rounds and ovals in 1 to 1.25 ct., F-I, VS-SI categories for bridal market. Difficult to find newly manufactured goods since very little supply is coming out of India. Steady investment demand for D, IF diamonds among high-net-worth individuals and collectors. Jewelry retail improving on east coast, but weak on west coast and in southern states where coronavirus cases have spiked.

Belgium: Mixed sentiment as Covid-19 infections rise. Dealers concentrating on online trading and marketing. Stable demand for 0.30 to 0.90 ct., D, IF collection goods. 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ for engagement rings also selling. Rough market quiet as dealers and manufacturers limit buying.

Israel: Sentiment weak amid concerns the country will go back into lockdown. Dealers looking for local sourcing opportunities. Supply from overseas limited due to travel and shipping restrictions. Some interest in nice SI-I1 clarities for US market.

India: Trading and manufacturing down due to continued spread of coronavirus and workplace restrictions. Shipments delayed at customs. Some factories under self-imposed lockdown until July 19. Stable orders for 0.18 ct.+, D-F, VS-SI and 1 ct., D-F, SI1-SI2 diamonds. Rough sector quiet, with manufacturers sourcing select goods at online auctions to fill specific needs.

Hong Kong: Wholesale market slowing again as government enforces new social-distancing measures amid third wave of virus. Dealers filling orders from mainland China, but border closure hindering activity. Jewelry retail at a standstill without tourists to boost sales. Luxury brands shifting to China, which is seeing steady consumer demand. Chow Tai Fook same-store sales fell 11% in China and 76% in Hong Kong during first quarter (April to June).
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