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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 14, 2022 10:26 AM   By Rapaport News
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News: US retail supporting the market with steady demand, but dealer trading slow amid price uncertainty, China lockdown and Russian sanctions. US places Alrosa on OFAC Specially Designated Nationals list, blocking all US transactions with or benefiting the miner. American Gem Society urges members not to buy Russian-sourced diamonds even if cut outside of Russia and to require suppliers to sign ethical pledge. Alrosa cancels April tender as more banks refuse to facilitate payments. Updated sanctions news at De Beers April sales +26% to $565M. LVMH jewelry and watch 1Q sales +24% to $2.5B. Christie’s NY totals $25.1M (96% by lot), with pear-shape, 8.82 ct., fancy intense purple-pink, IF ring fetching $6.8M ($770K/ct.). THE RAPAPORT PRICE LIST WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON APRIL 22 DUE TO THE PASSOVER HOLIDAY.

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: Dealer trading stable but slowing due to Passover and Easter holidays. Steady demand for 1.50 to 2 ct., H-J, VS2-SI2 diamonds. Shortage of top-quality goods. Jewelers focusing on memo orders as they manage with less inventory during seasonal lull. Bridal driving retail; stores expecting strong summer wedding season.

Belgium: Sentiment weaker than in previous weeks as market slackens. Concerns rising about long-term impact US Alrosa sanctions will have on Antwerp trade. Steady US demand for 1 to 2.99 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods. Large stones above 3 ct. robust. Growing interest in investment-quality diamonds.

Israel: Activity sluggish ahead of Passover. Bourse partially closed next week for the holiday (April 17 to 22). Uncertainty following recent price declines. More dealers considering long-term implications of buying Russian-origin diamonds. Top-quality 3X goods in short supply.

India: Business slow. Dealers willing to negotiate on price to raise liquidity. Suppliers with Russian goods focusing on Asian buyers, but demand is down due to China’s coronavirus restrictions. Manufacturers preparing to separate Alrosa goods from others to serve different markets. Some shifting to lab-grown production amid uncertainty.

Hong Kong: Trading quiet as Covid-19 measures continue to impact business. Infection rate declining slightly, fueling hope that limitations will ease in coming weeks. Luxury houses struggling due to lack of tourist shoppers and are shifting focus to mainland. China retail slow due to pandemic. Chow Tai Fook fourth-quarter same-store sales down 11% in China and 22% in Hong Kong.  
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