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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Sep 1, 2022 11:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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News: US market holding up well, but international trading under pressure with significantly weaker demand. China slow amid continued negative impact of Covid-19. Dealers uncertain about price levels. 1 ct. RAPI -3.6% in Aug. Top brands and retail programs buying at stable prices. Independents focused on memo. Polished inventory rising due to slowdown. Rough premiums declining on secondary market. De Beers Aug. sales +21% to $630M. Gem Diamonds 1H revenue -4% to $100M, profit -51% to $8.3M. Signet Jewelers 2Q sales -2% to $1.8B, profit -35% to $145M. Sotheby’s to auction cushion, 11.15 ct., fancy-vivid-pink, IF diamond with $21M presale estimate. Vipul Shah appointed GJEPC chairman.

Fancies: Market has cooled for 0.30 to 1.20 ct. diamonds. Supply shortages of well-cut fancies supporting prices. 1.20 to 3.99 ct., F-J, VS-SI goods stable. Oval is leading shape, followed by Radiant, 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. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: New York dealers gaining confidence as orders start to pick up. Memo business getting stronger, with reasonable sell-through. Retailers starting to prepare holiday inventory and marketing. Steady demand for 2.50- to 5-carat, G-I, VS-SI (3X, none) diamonds. Estate jewelry selling well, but goods difficult to source.

Belgium: Bourses officially operating again after summer break. Trading low amid price uncertainty and drop in orders. Very few buying for stock. Dealers expect improvement in mid-October after Jewish holidays. European brands doing well and looking for goods. Decline in rough demand is leading to caution and price decreases on secondary market.

Israel: Dealers careful and unsure what prices to set. Focus is on US supply; Far East quiet. Select items doing well as demand shifts to better-quality diamonds. Buyers reducing orders and lowering offers. Solid interest in 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods for robust US bridal segment.

India: Business quieter, as many took off Wednesday and Thursday for Jain holiday of Samvatsari. Polished sales slow. Focus on bigger sizes amid drop in Chinese demand for smaller certified stones. Average price of polished exports up 23% to $915 per carat in July. Manufacturers maintaining low production. Rough demand down even though cutters typically increase operations before Diwali, which begins October 24.

Hong Kong: Polished trade improving ahead of busy fourth-quarter shopping season. Dealers seeing stronger orders from mainland China despite ongoing border restrictions. Demand stable for 0.30 to 0.80 ct., D-I, VVS-SI2 and 1 to 1.50 ct., F-I, VS2-I1 diamonds, but below historic levels. Engagement ring segment driving retail sales. Tourist traffic still limited due to quarantine measures. Chinese retail slow but slightly better than a month ago.  
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