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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Dec 3, 2020 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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E-commerce driving sales at start of US holiday season. Black Friday online spending +22% to $9B, Cyber Monday +15% to $10.8B, reports Adobe Analytics. In-store shopping sluggish due to ongoing spread of Covid-19. Foot traffic -55% on Thanksgiving Day, according to NRF. Black Friday jewelry sales -54%, says RetailNext. Signet 3Q sales +9% to $1.3B, profit of $9.3M vs. loss of $36M. Cyberattack disrupts Stuller operations. Polished trading stable at lower levels. 1 ct. RAPI +0.5% in Nov. De Beers pledges to disclose country of origin for most of its diamonds by 2030. Dubai’s DMCC opens office in Israel Diamond Exchange. Elliot Krischer elected president of NY Diamond Dealers Club.

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 among e-commerce sellers as digital drives holiday retail sales. Store foot traffic slow. Bridal category strong, with rising demand for ovals and pears. Colored gems — rubies, emeralds and sapphires — also gaining popularity as center stones. Large-stone market robust; dealers struggling to source 5 ct., D, IF diamonds.

Belgium: Polished trading improving despite ongoing lockdown. Suppliers filling US holiday orders. Steady interest in round, 1 to 2 ct., G-J, SI goods. Princess and radiant cuts also doing well. Some worry jewelry trade not focused enough on e-commerce trend over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Rough market stable ahead of next week’s De Beers sight.

Israel: Polished activity sporadic. Dealers uncertain about prospects for holiday season and anticipate little momentum in 1Q 2021. US bridal market supporting appetite for 1 ct. and larger diamonds. Far East demand slow despite strong China retail recovery. Buyers looking for goods from India but finding it difficult to meet their requirements due to high prices.

India: Manufacturers working at higher capacity to fill final holiday orders. Solid US and Far East demand, but trading slower than before Diwali. Some fear prospective oversupply as factories ramp up production. Rough prices firming on secondary market ahead of sight week. Cutters seeking goods from local tender houses amid travel restrictions. Customs delays in Mumbai holding up diamond shipments to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: Wholesale improving ahead of December holidays and Chinese New Year. Inventory levels low following months of cautious buying. Steady interest in and shortages of 1 ct., D-H, VVS-SI, 3X goods. Anxiety about potential fourth coronavirus wave, with local demand uncertain and Chinese tourists absent. Recent seizure of diamonds by Hong Kong customs at Shenzhen border raising concerns about trade with China. Slow traffic at Jewellery & Gem Asia Hong Kong show, as overseas buyers unable to visit.
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