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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 31, 2022 12:30 PM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond market sluggish due to US economic caution and China Covid-19 restrictions. Polished price decline fueling uncertainty. Buyers waiting for further decreases. Suppliers willing to negotiate to raise liquidity and reduce inventory of less desirable goods. Rough market restrained amid decline in prices on secondary market. De Beers maintains stable prices at March sight. Split in Responsible Jewellery Council over Russia sanction policy; executive director Iris Van der Veken quits; Pandora and Richemont leave over Alrosa membership. Tiffany & Co. halts purchasing of polished from Russian rough. UK government places sanctions on Alrosa.

Fancies: Market slowing with supply shortages supporting prices. 1.20 to 3.99 ct., F-J, VS-SI is hottest category. Oval is leading shape, followed by Emerald, Pear, Cushion and Marquise. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Growing interest in fancy-shape engagement rings. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Chinese demand helping the market. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Jewelry sales steady, capping off strong 1Q. Outlook for 2H uncertain amid economic slowdown and inflation worries. Jewelers focused on memo supply and avoiding large inventory purchases. Shift to lower price points, with good demand for L-to-M colors. Fancies selling well but difficult to find top-quality stones.

Belgium: Mixed sentiment. Rough trading steady, with prices on secondary market softening. Polished buyers growing cautious. Small stones weak; 1 to 3 ct. steady; large diamonds in demand. Dealers waiting for positive signals from US and worried about retail backlash on Russian diamonds.

Israel: Weak sales fueling concerns about extended slowdown. US buyers refraining from large orders, and Chinese market resisting current price levels. Significant drop in demand for stones below 0.30 ct. Prices of other categories declining but still high relative to past year. Rough trading quiet.

India: Polished trading slow amid market uncertainty. Fewer US orders than in January-February. Domestic market also quiet. Manufacturers buying rough but maintaining lower polished production. Some delays in Alrosa supply due to ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Prices of small rough continue to decline.

Hong Kong: Covid-19 restrictions curbing sentiment among businesses and consumers. Many jewelers closing stores and shifting to e-commerce. Luxury market suffering from long-term absence of tourist shoppers. Sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts fall 34% year on year to HKD 2.21 billion ($282 million) in Feb. China jewelry sales also slow amid lockdown in big cities.    
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