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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Feb 4, 2021 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market segmented. Goods below 1 ct. softening, with slowdown in D, IF category after strong 2020 recovery. 1.50 ct. and larger firm. 1 ct. RAPI -0.6% in Jan., 3 ct. +1.7%. Polished inventory expected to rise in coming months after strong Dec.-Jan. rough buying. De Beers Jan. sales +18% to $650M. Letšeng 4Q sales +6% to $55M, average price +11% to $1,907/ct. Hong Kong dealer market slowing ahead of Feb. 12 Chinese New Year. Mainland China retail robust and anticipating strong growth versus pandemic-affected 2020 season. India exempts online rough auctions from 2% e-commerce tax, maintains 7.5% duty on polished imports. India 2020 polished exports -31% to $14.2B.

Fancies: Stable demand for select fancy shapes as consumers seek alternative designs at more affordable prices than rounds. Dealers hoping for increased sales of fancy-shape engagement rings. Rise in orders for Pears, Emeralds and Radiants above 2 ct. Cushion, Princess and Marquise improving. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand and selling at premiums. Steady orders in China helping the market. High availability of fancies below 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Trading has slowed in line with expectations for the post-holiday period. Steady demand for ovals and emeralds above 2 ct. as consumers seek unique pieces that express individuality. Secondhand market active, with strong interest in old-mine and European cuts. Hearts improving ahead of Valentine’s Day. Dealers able to profit from recutting diamonds.

Belgium: Polished dealers optimistic despite relatively quiet trading, ongoing lockdown and rise in Covid-19 cases. Stable demand for dossiers. 1 to 3 ct. doing well. Fancy-yellow diamonds improving. Rough market steady, with high volumes of goods available after large January De Beers sight.

Israel: National lockdown and weak overseas demand denting local activity. Government debating whether to relax Covid-19 rules. Slow movement in goods under 1 carat. Concerns about upcoming months as global polished production rises ahead of slower season.

India: Positive sentiment following encouraging US holiday season and amid optimism for Chinese New Year. Buyers struggling to find right goods at right prices as shortages persist. Manufacturers maintaining high production rates following large De Beers and Alrosa rough sales. Dealers waiting for post-Valentine’s Day memo returns to assess true state of the market.

Hong Kong: Wholesale market quiet ahead of Chinese New Year. Steady demand for 1 to 1.50 ct., VS-SI, 3X, GIA-graded goods. More local jewelers planning to move online as tourist slowdown continues to hamper in-store sales. Hong Kong retail revenues from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts -41% to $399 million in December; FY sales -54% to $3.9B. Mainland consumers supporting the market, with Chinese retailers buying 0.80 to 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI, 3X diamonds. 
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