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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Dec 30, 2021 10:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond markets quiet as dealers take vacation. Sentiment positive after strongest holiday season in years. Nov.-Dec. jewelry sales +32%; general retail +8.5%, with e-commerce +11% and in-store +8%, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Consumer confidence up despite inflation uncertainty and Omicron spread, says Conference Board. Diamantaires anticipate steady post-season demand but are concerned about supply shortages and high prices. Expectations for strong Jan. rough sales. Dealers shifting attention to Far East ahead of Feb. 1 Chinese New Year. Hong Kong 3Q polished imports +38% to $3.7B. Rapaport wishes everyone a happy, healthy, ‎prosperous and peaceful New Year.‎

Fancies: Market robust. Good demand across all sizes. 1.20 to 3.99 ct., F-J, VS-SI is hottest category and seeing scarcities. 0.30 to 0.99 ct. improving. Prices high and stable, supported by supply shortages. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative shapes. Dealers report increased sales of fancy-shape engagement rings. Rise in orders for Ovals, Pears, Emeralds, Princesses, long Radiants and Marquises. Ovals closing price gap with Rounds. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Steady demand in China helping the market. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Activity slower between Christmas and New Year as many take vacation. Jewelers and dealers report successful 2021. Good orders for 1 to 2 ct., G-H, SI-I2 and 5 ct.-plus, G-H, VVS-VS stones. Retailers carefully managing inventory levels amid uncertainty about 1H economic prospects. Finding right merchandise remains biggest challenge.

Belgium: Market quiet with bourses closed this week and next for holidays. Spike in Covid-19 cases causing concern. Jewelers busy, reflecting steady demand for European luxury. November polished exports up 12% to $683 million; rough imports increase 44% to $1 billion.

Israel: Focus returning to online trading due to Omicron travel restrictions. Suppliers optimistic for first quarter. Dealers looking for goods, but prices are high and supply scarce. Fancy shapes hot, particularly pears and ovals.

India: Positive outlook following strong holiday period. US demand supporting market as retailers restock. Customers in Hong Kong and China making purchases ahead of Lunar New Year. Good movement in 1.50 ct. and larger, G-I, SI1-SI2 diamonds. Steady trading across all categories amid supply shortages. Lack of rough is restricting polished manufacturing levels. Some cutters shifting to lab-grown due to better availability of material.

Hong Kong: Retail improving amid Christmas festivities. Consumers rushing to purchase as government’s shopping vouchers near expiration. Wholesale slow due to holidays. Resurgence of Covid-19 infections is prompting concerns that China border might not reopen soon. Stable demand for 1 to 1.50 ct., F-H, VS2-SI2, 3X diamonds. Mainland spending strong ahead of Chinese New Year, but gold and gemstones outperforming diamonds.
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