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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jan 6, 2022 10:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond market seasonally slow as US and European dealers gradually return to work. Focus shifts back to online trading as rapid spread of Covid-19 Omicron strain forces people to avoid offices and international travel. Polished prices supported by good Nov.-Dec. jewelry sales, supply shortages and high rough prices. Many buyers still on vacation. 1 ct. RAPI +5.3% in Dec., +17.4% in 2021. Optimism for 1Q as jewelers need goods following successful holiday season. Manufacturers concerned about potential rough price hikes at Jan. 17-21 De Beers sight. Rising expectations for Feb. 1 Chinese New Year. Hong Kong retail weak due to lack of mainland tourist shoppers.

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: Positive sentiment after the festive season. Mid-size and smaller dealers waiting for customers to report back on memo sales. Growing concern about polished price levels. Some suppliers are holding goods in anticipation of further increases, particularly in melee. Retailers assessing post-holiday inventory requirements. Jewelers report excellent November-December sales of lab-grown diamond jewelry.

Belgium: Antwerp market quiet with dealers on New Year vacation. Bourses to reopen on Monday, January 10. Omicron spread limiting activity and pushing focus to online trading.

Israel: Bourse quiet as country sees record Covid-19 cases amid Omicron spike. Some suppliers filling orders for Chinese New Year. Dealers waiting for US colleagues to return from break. US demand spurred 54% rise in polished exports in 2021 for total of $3.65 billion. Buyers struggling to find profitable product.

India: Business slow as US and European customers are on vacation. Positive expectations for trading once markets return. Merchandise in short supply as high rough prices have resulted in lower polished production. Local wedding season boosting jewelry sales, but latest Covid-19 wave creating concerns. January IIJS Signature show postponed indefinitely due to pandemic.

Hong Kong: Trading quieter during New Year’s slowdown. Stable demand for 1 ct., F-J, VS-SI, 3X diamonds; smaller stones seeing less movement. Omicron spread affecting local activity as government tightens containment measures. Outbreak dampening hopes of China border reopening. Positive mainland sentiment ahead of lunar festival.
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