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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 7, 2022 10:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished trading cautious as prices continue decline. 1 ct. RAPI +0.5% in March but down in recent weeks; 0.30 ct. for March -3.9%. US bridal supporting the market. March jewelry sales +12%, Mastercard SpendingPulse reports. Uncertainty growing due to geopolitical and economic volatility and China Covid-19 lockdowns. Alrosa suspension from Responsible Jewellery Council highlights market split in criteria for ethical sourcing. Kering withdraws from RJC; Bulgari steps down from board; John Hall appointed interim executive director. US Congress members request extension of Russian sanctions to polished cut outside Russia. Rapaport halts all activity with Russia and Belarus, introduces rough source disclosure on RapNet, launches new social responsibility website,

Fancies: Market slowing. 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: Sentiment mixed. Retail sales steady, but jewelers carefully managing inventory amid economic caution. Buying based on specific requests rather than bulk orders. Dealers struggling to replace goods following strong first quarter; nice 3X rounds and fancies hard to find at reasonable prices. Staff shortages preventing manufacturers from meeting demand. Melee segment has slowed significantly. Improving market for investment-quality diamonds.

Belgium: Activity has stabilized since 1Q frenzy. Dossiers weak due to Chinese Covid-19 measures. US bridal driving orders for 1 to 1.50 ct. polished. Rough trading steady despite uncertainty about Russian supply. Sufficient rough available even with growing dissent over Alrosa.

Israel: Industry cautious as demand drops sharply in key markets. Dealers sending more goods to US on memo. Very few transactions with Chinese buyers amid Shanghai lockdowns. Some suppliers traveling to US before Passover holiday, which begins April 15.

India: Polished trade cooling after Jan.-Feb. peak. Fewer US orders than last month. China slow. Domestic market seeing pockets of demand but sluggish overall. Solid interest in round and fancy-shape, 1.20 ct., G-I, VS-SI goods. Manufacturing below capacity; more factories embracing lab-grown during slump.

Hong Kong: Market quiet amid Covid-19 outbreak and seasonal lull. Consumers avoiding luxury purchases as virus continues to spread. Ongoing closure of Chinese border impacting business. Shanghai lockdown creating further worries. Mainland demand weak but showing some movement in melee and 0.30 to 0.70 ct., D-J diamonds after recent price declines.
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