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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 5, 2020 10:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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High voter turnout as US election reflects divided country. Rising expectations for holidays despite American election uncertainty and second round of Covid-19 lockdowns. Consumer spending expected to be in line with last year. Jewelers begin seasonal promotions early, with emphasis on e-commerce. Polished prices stabilizing as buyers complete holiday orders. 1 ct. RAPI +1% in Oct. Rough trading steady during De Beers sight, but demand slower than last month. Smaller goods weak. Hong Kong 3Q polished imports -32% to $2.7B, polished exports -2% to $2.8B. Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle mine ends production, having recovered 825 million carats in 37-year life.

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: Sentiment mixed due to uncertainty about this week’s elections. Dealers concerned about potential impact of voting results on Manhattan businesses. Rising expectations for festive season. Retailers preparing for a spike in online sales. Wholesalers busy filling orders as stores plan final holiday collections and promotions. Bridal supporting the market with good demand for 1 to 2 ct., G-I, VS-SI diamonds.

Belgium: Confidence down due to rise in Covid-19 cases. Businesses remain open but not seeing much activity. Very little inventory buying. European jewelers and luxury houses have reduced their holiday expectations. Rough trading stable; focus is on larger goods for polished above 1 carat. Industry mourns the passing of Jacques Korn, former president of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, and Prabodh Mehta of Antwerp-based Gembel Diamonds.

Israel: Dealers looking for the right goods. Business as usual for sought-after items, but trading in bread-and-butter categories is down. Focus on filling US orders and meeting specific China demand. Bourse seeing steady traffic but not many transactions. Improvement in lower-color, 0.30 to 0.89 ct. diamonds. Prices for D-H, IF-VS2 have softened since peaking in October. Rise in availability of 1 ct., I-M, IF-SI stones. Yoram Dvash elected chairman of Israel Diamond Institute.

India: Polished suppliers regaining optimism amid solid interest from the US and China. Wedding season stimulating local jewelry retail sector, but gold more dominant than diamonds. Rough trading stable during sight week. Manufacturing at 70% to 90% of capacity. Factories planning shorter Diwali break of three to five days rather than two weeks; festival falls on November 14. Polished inventory levels rising. GJEPC calls on government to reduce polished import duty from 7.5% to 2.5% in 2021 budget.

Hong Kong: Dealer market quiet as travel remains limited to local residents and requires two-week quarantine on arrival. Stores struggling due to lack of Chinese tourist shoppers and weak domestic sentiment. China retail positive. Steady mainland orders for 0.50 ct., G, VVS2 and 1 ct., G-H, VVS2-VS1 RapSpec A3 diamonds. Jewelers preparing inventory for Chinese New Year on February 12. 
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