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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 28, 2022 10:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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News: Market sentiment mixed. US retail and high-end jewelry sales strong and supporting the trade. China slow. Dealer caution stemming from inflation concerns, China Covid-19 lockdowns, and Russia-Ukraine war. Expectations that Russian sanctions will lead to shortages, especially in smaller goods. UK imposes 35% import duty on Russian diamonds. De Beers 1Q production +25% to 8.9M cts., sales volume -41% to 7.9M cts.; signs exploration deal in Angola. Gem Diamonds 1Q revenue +19% to $52M, Letšeng average price +12% to $1,831/ct. Kering “other” sales, including jewelry and watches, +35% to $1.1B. Sotheby’s HK sells step-cut, 15.10 ct., fancy vivid blue De Beers diamond for $57.5M ($3.8M/ct.).

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: Market mood improved. Stronger sell-through of memo goods. Retail steady, with positive expectations for Mother’s Day jewelry sales. Dealers struggling to replace sold inventory amid shortages and price uncertainty. Melee improving.

Belgium: Polished trading stable after Passover and Easter holidays. Business happening, but not booming. Dealers receiving calls for specific items; very few bulk inventory orders. Positive expectations for GemGenève show (May 5-8). Large stones robust. Rough trading quiet ahead of next week’s De Beers sight (May 3-6).

Israel: Uncertainty about market direction after Passover break. Focus on US; more dealers traveling to meet customers. Steady demand for 1 to 1.50 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods. 0.30 to 0.39 ct. certs weak. Rough trading cautious as secondary market premiums continue to soften.

India: Market slow amid global pressures. Liquidity tight due to sluggish demand and some payment delays. Manufacturers limiting rough purchases due to uncertainty over Russia situation. Dossiers weak; better demand for 1 ct. and larger, H-I, SI, certified goods with no fluorescence. Weak rupee creating concerns as cost of imports increases.

Hong Kong: Trading seasonally quiet, with Covid-19 outbreak dampening sentiment. Government lifting restrictions as infections drop. Most diamond categories slow. Retail jewelry sluggish despite stimulus consumption vouchers. Shanghai lockdowns hurting mainland China jewelry sales, with retailers pausing inventory purchases.
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