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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 15, 2021 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market seasonally slow. Uncertainty over impact of Mumbai lockdown as Maharashtra state tightens restrictions. GIA backlog expected to grow as Surat continues to produce diamonds. Concerns in colored-diamond market as GIA detects treatment in green stones. US retail upbeat as Mar. jewelry sales +106%, reports Mastercard. Signet 1Q forecast for revenue +88% to $1.6B. LVMH 1Q jewelry and watch sales +138% to $2.3B. Christie’s NY garners $35M (94% by lot), with 2.17 ct., fancy vivid purplish-pink diamond sold for $3.5M ($1.6M/ct.). Rapaport Research Report highlights improved trade liquidity and diamond financing.

Fancies: Market for fancies seeing upturn. Some higher prices as consumers seek alternative shapes at more affordable prices than rounds. Dealers witnessing increased sales of fancy-shape engagement rings. Rise in orders for Ovals, Pears, Emeralds and Radiants above 2 ct. Cushion, Princess and Marquise improving. Buyers showing preference for elongated shapes with the right proportions. Excellent cuts in demand and selling at premiums. Steady orders in China helping the market. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Retail sentiment positive. Consumer spending getting boost from stimulus checks, tax refunds, and return to stores after vaccine rollout. Signet planning marketing drive to counter expected revival of travel sector and to compete with jewelers offering discounts. Dealer trading slower than 1Q. US February polished imports fell 7% to $1.4 billion while exports dropped 27% to $1 billion. Ovals and emeralds continue to improve.

Belgium: Outlook remains mixed. Suppliers to US and China optimistic, but Europe weak as lockdowns keep many jewelers closed. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct. SIs. Some shortages of 1 to 2 ct. diamonds as GIA backlog and India restrictions cause delays in new manufactured goods. Rough market quiet ahead of next week’s Alrosa sale.

Israel: Polished trading slow. Shorter week due to Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays. Some dealers limiting purchases from India due to Mumbai lockdown concerns. Focus on filling positive US and Chinese demand. Solid interest in 1 to 2 ct. diamonds. Continued uptrend in lower colors for smaller dossier goods.

India: Dealers cautious as Mumbai goes into tighter lockdown until May 1. Surat manufacturing still going despite rise in Covid-19 cases. Jewelry sector subdued and focused on enhancing e-commerce channels. Rupee depreciation to nine-month low of INR 75.4/$1 may ease pressure on large exporters but could increase expenses for local suppliers. Stable orders for round, 0.30 to 0.40 ct., J-K, SI goods.

Hong Kong: Wholesale market relatively quiet. Sentiment improving amid city’s plans to relax travel restrictions and potentially reopen China border crossing. Some jewelers rolling out new collections for Mother’s Day. China retail robust. Chow Tai Fook’s FY4Q (January to March) sales for mainland rose 174%; Hong Kong and Macau up 47%. 
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