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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Dec 10, 2020 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Jewelers upbeat about holiday season amid strong e-commerce and lucrative early gift shopping. Last-minute US orders and preparations for Chinese New Year driving polished trading. China jewelry market robust. Luxury demand good at NY auctions: Christie’s sells $45M (91% by lot) including Kashmir sapphire and diamond bracelet to Harry Winston for $6M. Sotheby’s raises $47M, with heart-shape, 1.71 ct., fancy red, SI2 diamond going for $3.2M ($1.9M/ct.). Rough market very active during sight week. Manufacturers anticipate firm post-holiday inventory replacement. Dominion sells Ekati mine to bondholders. Next year’s March Hong Kong shows and AGS Conclave postponed due to pandemic.

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 positive as dealers fill orders in time for peak pre-Christmas period. Sourcing the right diamonds difficult due to shortages. A lot of goods out on memo. Steady demand for 1 to 2 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds. Well-cut ovals also doing well and in limited supply. Retail jewelers focusing on e-commerce promotions for delivery before December 24.

Belgium: Polished trading stable. Wholesale businesses able to operate during lockdown, which is scheduled to end next week. Exporters focused on US market and some orders from Asia. Sustained interest in 1 to 3 ct., D-J SIs. Rough market active during sight week, with shortages in some categories.

Israel: Bourse quiet. Dealers filling sporadic last-minute orders with sense that season is coming to an early end. Some planning for 2021 and expecting improved momentum during first quarter. Buyers looking for goods in India but struggling to meet high prices. Stable market for 1 to 2 ct., F-G, VVS-VS stones. 0.30 to 0.89 ct. relatively slow.

India: Good momentum since Diwali break. Solid orders from foreign and local buyers. Rough purchasing robust as manufacturers raise production levels to alleviate scarcities. Polished prices firm, particularly for above 1 ct.; major suppliers not feeling urgency to sell. Sufficient liquidity due to lower rough buying earlier in the year, steady polished sales, and flexibility from banks about paying back credit during lockdown. Jewelers optimistic after seeing strong business during festival and wedding season.

Hong Kong: Dealers in more optimistic mood amid solid Christmas and Chinese New Year demand. Steady interest in 0.30 to 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI diamonds. Increase in requests for 2 to 5 ct., G-J SIs. Local retail sluggish due to another spike in Covid-19 infections and lack of tourism during peak selling season. Mainland China jewelers doing well. E-commerce and omni-channel driving recovery.
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