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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 15, 2020 10:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Rising expectations for US holiday season. Retailers beginning early promotions and planning for longer 4Q selling period to avoid overcrowding among last-minute shoppers. Shortages supporting polished prices after manufacturing down by estimated 50% in 2020. Large volume of new polished expected to become available before year’s end following strong 3Q rough buying. De Beers Sep. sales +57% to $467M, Alrosa +28% to $328M. GIA launches four digital synthetic-diamond reports specifying 4Cs and growth method. New CIBJO guidelines say lab-grown diamonds should get “product specifications” instead of grading reports in order to preserve rarity of natural diamonds.

Fancies: Reduced inventory supporting prices for select fancy shapes. Ovals and Pears strong in 1.50 to 2 ct., G-K, VS-SI categories and 3 to 5 ct. SIs. Princesses improving. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand and selling at premiums. Rising orders in China helping the market. Dealers hoping for increased sales of 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: Positive sentiment as jewelers order goods for the holiday season. Steady memo calls as retailers limit owned inventory in the Covid-19 economy. Solid demand for rounds in 0.70 to 1.50 ct., G-I, VS-SI to satisfy thriving bridal market. Cushions and ovals also doing well. Shortages of stronger items leaving dealers struggling to replace merchandise they’ve sold.

Belgium: More caution than in previous weeks due to spike in coronavirus infections. Good European demand as limited travel prompts dealers to focus on the local market. UK, Germany and Italy are strongest centers. Online selling also robust. Rough activity stable after large De Beers and Alrosa September sales.

Israel: Business quiet as government extends lockdown beyond Jewish holidays to at least October 18. Orders steady in US but slow in Far East, particularly Hong Kong. Shortages supporting prices for certain categories, but large volume of goods expected to become available as production levels rise. Solid interest in 0.50 to 1 ct., D-H VS-SIs. Cushions and radiants improving and showing firm prices.

India: Trading stable, with steady demand for round, 1 ct., G-J, VS diamonds. Demand from local jewelers up as well. Polishing factories operating at around 70% capacity as manufacturers prepare for rise in holiday orders. Companies planning shorter Diwali break of five to seven days to boost sales. Good market for fancy shapes above 1 ct.

Hong Kong: Slow retail sales during important Golden Week shopping period due to slump in tourism and weak consumer sentiment. Mainland China more upbeat amid good local luxury spending. Tse Sui Luen warns of $5.2 million loss in fiscal first half as coronavirus-related restrictions ravage Hong Kong sales. Rising dealer demand for 1 to 2 ct., D-H, VVS-VS diamonds.
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