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Rapaport TradeWire October 30, 2015

Oct 29, 2015 6:00 PM   By Rapaport
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RAPAPORT NEWS SERVICE | October 30, 2015   www.rapaport.com | news@rapaport.com
 
 
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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment October 30, 2015

GIA invalidates 1,042 grading reports after computer hackers penetrate system and alter data. RapNet suspends 10 members that GIA says were involved. Reduced Indian production before Diwali holiday (Nov. 7-13) creating some shortages. Trading activity improving as aggressive dealers try to buy select goods at deep discounts. Some sellers holding out and getting good prices from buyers with firm orders. Rough under continued pressure with reports of De Beers discounting. Sight system falling apart as 100% deferrals allowed for Nov. Petra Diamonds 1Q production +1% to 842,796 cts., prices -9% at Oct. sale. Sally Morrison to head marketing at Diamond Producers Association.

RapNet Data: October 29
Diamonds 1,218,611
Value $8,201,511,354
Carats 1,340,732
Average Discount -29.06%

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The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI) is the average price for the top 25 diamond qualities (D-H, IF-VS2). It is based on the 10 best priced diamonds for each quality.

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  QUOTE OF THE WEEK
  GIA strongly requests that anyone in possession of any of these diamonds or grading reports return them immediately to GIA for examination.

GIA’s announcement after an outside party gained unauthorized remote access to its grading information database and altered reports for 1,042 diamonds

MARKETS  
 
United States: Steady trading with buyers looking for opportunities. Suppliers able to sell at low profits. Dealers filling specific orders can get good prices...

Belgium: Activity improving with dealers filling specific orders for the holiday season. U.S. demand good, Europe just okay, China weak...

Hong Kong: Slight improvements with some limited inventory buying at deeply discounted prices. Most activity is for specific orders with some stones getting good prices...

India: Polished trading improving with U.S., Israeli and Chinese buyers looking for opportunities before Mumbai shuts for Diwali (Nov. 7-13). Local buyers also active...

Israel: Slight improvement in polished trading as dealers return from New York DDC week. U.S. demand is driving the Israeli market, while Chinese demand improving... 

Click here to continue reading


INSIGHTS  
 
Is the Two-Stone Ring The One?

The last few years have been a tiresome journey for the diamond industry but recent announcements from Signet Jewelers and De Beers signaled that the urgent call to sales by stepping up marketing activity may have finally been heard…

Click here to continue reading


INDUSTRY  
 
GIA Invalidates 1,000+ Hacked Grading Reports

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) invalidated grading reports for 1,042 diamonds after an outside party gained unauthorized access to GIA’s grading information database and altered the reports.

The alterations pertained to both color and clarity grades, and the clients who submitted the diamonds in question have been contacted and suspended from further submissions to GIA, pending the association’s continued investigation.

The GIA published a list of the clients that submitted the diamonds which includes the number and issue date of the invalidated reports, the shape and weight of each stone, and the submitting client account. The list does not include color or clarity grades because these may have been altered, GIA added.

The diamonds were submitted between November 2014 and September 2015; approximately 900 were submitted in July and August, with most of the diamonds submitted in India.

GIA said internal controls identified discrepancies, prompting it to initiate an investigation with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a contractor that supports GIA databases. The investigation indicated that one or more former TCS employees made the unauthorized changes remotely to alter grades before the reports were printed and sent to clients. The hackers were said to be acting at the behest of parties unrelated to GIA or TCS.

Indian law enforcement agencies are also actively investigating the matter.


 
RapNet Suspends Members Suspected of Falsifying GIA Reports

RapNet, the Rapaport Diamond Trading Network, has suspended 10 members pending further investigation. The members have also been suspended by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for allegedly participating in a scheme that hacked into the GIA’s computer system and upgraded 1,042 GIA grading reports. GIA issued laboratory alerts invalidating the grading reports and naming the suspended members.

RapNet has removed all diamonds with grading reports involved in this matter as well as all other diamonds listed by suspended members. Additional updated information and a list of all the diamonds and the companies that submitted them is available at http://goo.gl/TEF66F.

GIA has asked anyone in possession of the listed diamonds or invalidated grading reports to immediately return them to GIA. Rapaport clients may return the grading reports and diamonds to Rapaport offices in New York, Ramat Gan, Mumbai and Hong Kong.

The names of the suspended Rapnet Members are:, A. Lallubhai & Brothers, Admg Diamonds Pvt. Ltd, Darshna Gems, Dirgh Diamond Pvt. Ltd., Mahima Gems, Nidhi Impex, Pansuriya Impex, Shree Yogeshwar Gems, Sitaram Gems and Unity (HK).


 
De Beers Enables 100% Deferrals

De Beers will allow sightholders to defer their entire November allocations until December.

“Further to discussions with several of you following recent cutting center visits, we are writing to provide an overview of some of the additional flexibility we will be putting in place for sights 9 and 10,” the company said in a note to sightholders, which was obtained by Rapaport News. “We understand that many businesses' short-term demand requirements may well have seen some significant changes, so we are looking to find the best ways to be flexible in meeting your needs.”

Sightholders reported a somber mood at the October sight and refused about half of their allocated supply. Diamond manufacturers have significantly reduced their rough diamond intake and factory output in 2015 as polished sales have declined due largely to a slowdown in China.


 
WFDB Agenda Prioritizes Membership Expansion, Benefits

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) will discuss a “new strategy” at its executive committee meeting in Germany, which it said will seek to grow its membership and broaden the benefits offered by membership. The event will be hosted by Germany’s Diamant-und Edelsteinbörse, or diamond and gemstones exchange, in Idar-Oberstein in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Other topics on the agenda will include the World Diamond Mark (WDM), which will be the subject of an address by WDM chairman Alex Popov.

Members will also discuss forging closer ties with trade bodies in the major diamond centers, producers, and laboratories, WFDB president Ernie Blom said.


 
JFC Announces ‘Facets of Hope’ Honorees

Jewelers for Children (JFC) will honor Stuart Lee of Signet Jewelers and Dennis Ulrich of the Richline Group at its annual Facets of Hope event, set for June 2016.

Both Lee, Signet’s executive vice president of merchandising, and Ulrich, Richline’s CEO and chairman of JFC, have agreed to serve as guests of honor, with the responsibility of assisting in the group’s fundraising efforts. The proceeds benefit children who are the victims of catastrophic illness or life-threatening abuse and neglect.


 
Slack Demand Leads to Earlier Diwali Closings

Indian diamantaires will close a week early for Diwali this year as they expect a subdued holiday season, The Times of India reported.

Work will stop by the end of October, even though the official 20-day vacation does not begin until November 5, with Diwali to be celebrated on November 11 this year. Most business owners are contemplating reopening in the first week of December, a Diamond Trading Company sightholder was quoted as saying in the report.

A fall in demand for polished stones has negatively impacted the Indian industry as the Chinese economy has slowed down. Around 300 smaller diamond units have closed permanently in recent months, cutting output capacity by 60% and rendering more than 20,000 workers redundant.


 
Laurelton-Reign Factory to Reopen After Tiffany Exit

A Namibian diamond cutting and polishing company that supplied Tiffany & Co. will reopen after shutting down earlier this year, but without Tiffany’s involvement, The Namibian reported, citing the country’s Diamond Commissioner, Kennedy Hamutenya.

Laurelton-Reign Diamonds, which operated as a joint venture between Tiffany subsidiary Laurelton Diamonds and Namibia’s Reign Investment, closed in August after the U.S. retailer pulled out because the supply of stones was not adequate and not the right type, the newspaper quoted Hamutenya as saying.

Reign is in the process of acquiring the company’s factory in Windhoek and is looking for new investors to enable it to operate again in the near future, Hamutenya added.


RETAIL & WHOLESALE  
 
Rio Tinto, Pure Gold to Offer Diamond Jewelry in Middle East

Rio Tinto Group and retailer Pure Gold Jewellers struck an exclusive partnership to sell diamond jewelry in the Middle East, targeting the region’s lucrative wedding-gift market.

The British miner’s collection, marketed every year for the Hindu festival, will be available in Pure Gold stores during Diwali, with prices starting at $463 (AED 1,699) for jewelry items made from natural diamonds and hallmarked, 18-karat gold.


 
Worthy Raises $8M for Diamond, Colored Gem Expansion

Worthy, an online auction site for pre-owned diamonds and jewelry, raised $8 million to buy diamond and colored stone jewelry, as well as vintage watches, from consumers. The two-year-old New York City e-commerce startup, which also operates an R&D facility in Israel, previously raised more than $8.5 million.

Worthy brokers items from consumers, then insures the goods and pays to ship and authenticate them. Once the items have been inspected, they are typically placed on the e-commerce site within five days. Worthy then auctions them to mostly antique dealers and retail jewelers, paying the original owners via check, wire transfer or PayPal, and taking a cut of between 5% and 20%, depending on the price of the item.

Ben De-Kalo, Worthy’s founder and CEO, said that since the world’s diamond mines are going to be exhausted in about 50 years, business opportunities will abound in recycling already-mined diamonds, including the $1 trillion worth of polished stones estimated to be held in U.S. households.


 
India’s Flipkart, Malabar Partner

Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart partnered with Malabar Gold and Diamonds on its inaugural online marketplace, just ahead of the Diwali festival.

The site lists more than 1,300 designs of gold, diamond and platinum jewelry.

Flipkart delivers 5 million shipments monthly—books, electronics, makeup and clothing—to 18 million registered users in 150 cities, and its cash-on-delivery model made e-commerce more viable in India, according to Bloomberg News.


 
Black Friday to be Top U.S. Shopping Day

Black Friday is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year, using both customer visits and sales dollars as indicators, according to retail analytics provider ShopperTrak.

November 27, the day after Thanksgiving Day this year in the U.S., is the day on which retailers traditionally offer promotions. The second-busiest day by both measures will be Super Saturday, which falls on December 19 this year, the last Saturday before Christmas.


 
Bulgari Strength Fueling Jewelry’s Growing Dominance Over Watches at LVMH

The strength of the Bulgari brand against the “repositioning” TAG Heuer label is largely responsible for the widening gap between LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s sales figures for jewelry and watches, according to Chris Hollis, LVMH's director of financial communications.

“Although when you look at this gap, it's a little bit artificial as you compare watches for Bulgari, which are benefiting from the strengths of the brand, but also watches from TAG Heuer, which is in a sort of repositioning phase," Hollis said in the group’s third-quarter results conference call October 13.

Meanwhile, LVMH has appointed McKinsey & Company’s Anish Melwani as chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Inc. from January 4, responsible for activities in North America, LVMH said in a statement October 27. Pauline Brown will step down as North America chairman at the end of 2015, it statement said October 27.


 
Signet Calls for Tax Equality for Brick-and-Mortar Jewelry Retailers

Signet Jewelers has called for measures to remove a perceived unfairness in the tax system that it said imposes a financial disadvantage on traditional retailers in the U.S., versus their online counterparts.

The U.S.-based jeweler’s comments, posted on Cleveland.com, came amid discussions over the introduction of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 in the Congress. The act, which has yet to be passed, aims to “restore States' sovereign rights to enforce State and local sales and use tax laws.”

Currently, online sellers such as Amazon and eBay can avoid charging and collecting sales tax in states where they do not have a warehouse or another physical presence, which, according to Cleveland.com, gives them a 7% to 8% price advantage.

Under current tax laws, brick-and-mortar stores are required to charge and collect sales taxes, but the same does not apply to online sellers, James Alperin, an Ohio jeweler, said in an interview with the site. The Ohio General Assembly is prepared to pass the legislation once Congress does.


 
$3.1M Fancy Pink Diamond Ring Up for Auction in HK

A 12.31-carat, VVS1 pear-shaped fancy light pink diamond and diamond ring valued at an estimated $3.1 million (HKD 24 million) will be offered at a tender to be held by Hong Kong auction house Luxeford on November 10 at the country’s Conrad Hotel.

The stone is exceptionally chemically pure and flanked by pear-shaped diamond shoulders weighing 1.26 and 1.2 carats and an openwork gallery embellished with pavé-set, brilliant-cut diamonds of pink hue, Luxeford stated.

A public exhibition of this and other lots will be held at the Conrad Hotel from November 7 to 10.


 
Marco Bicego Rolls Out E-Commerce Site

Jewelry brand Marco Bicego launched an e-commerce site that enables visitors to browse its 11 core collections and its Unico line online, National Jeweler reported.

Consumers can view online merchandise by category, collection, technique and style, as well as access updates about the brand and events.

Marco Bicego is set to unveil its latest collection, Luce, this December exclusively on the new site, according to National Jeweler. The line will feature a range of silhouettes crafted in thin, irregularly shaped 18-karat yellow-gold hand-engraved strands, some of which are piece-set with diamonds. Retail prices will range from $1,500 to $4,000.


 
J.C. Penney Lays off 300

J.C. Penney Company laid off 300 staffers at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, citing a need to simplify the business and increase productivity, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The move, which follows the appointment of Marvin Ellison as CEO on August 1, affects just under 10% of the company’s 3,400 employees. Since taking the helm, Ellison has been reviewing the business with the aim of identifying areas for cost reduction, the report said.

It was “essential that our operations align with the strategic priorities of the company,” J.C. Penney spokeswoman Dapne Avila said in The Dallas Morning News.“Over the last several months, the company has been evaluating its home office structure to identify opportunities for greater simplification and higher productivity.”

J.C. Penney aims to achieve roughly $2 billion in incremental sales by 2017, resulting in mid-single-digit sales growth during the period, it said in a statement posted on its website last October.


MINING  
 
Petra Diamonds Reports Zero Revenue

Petra Diamonds reported that it generated no revenue during its first fiscal quarter that ended on September 30, though its production rose 1% year on year to 842,796 carats, moving the company toward its goal of producing more than 3.3 million carats in fiscal 2016.

“The diamond market continues to be impacted by excess polished inventory in the pipeline, a slowdown in demand, particularly from China, as well as financing and profitability issues in the midstream,” Petra explained in its trading update.

Petra didn’t hold any tender sales during the quarter. Consequently, its diamond inventory rose 90% to 1.18 million carats as of September 30.

The company held its first tender of the year in October, selling 696,801 carats for $68.9 million with 96% of the goods on offer sold. The average price achieved was $99 per carat, which was 8.8% below the average price garnered at Petra’s previous sales in May and June.


GENERAL  
 
India’s Central Bank Plan to Cut Gold Imports

The Reserve Bank of India unveiled a set of guidelines designed to govern the gold monetization scheme, which is expected to reduce the approximately 900-ton total imported annually, according to information posted on the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) website.

The government wants to make some part of the country’s 20,000-ton idle gold inventory, held by individuals, trusts or mutual funds, available, as high gold imports were a contributing factor in the current account deficit.


 
Gem-A Appoints Interim CEO

The Council of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) appointed Nick Jones as interim CEO, after the post had been unoccupied for several months.

Jones’ role as interim CEO will be to manage the trade association and advise the governing council on the future structure of the group. Jones is a chartered accountant who recently retired after 12 years at the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE), having served as its CEO for the past six years.


 
South Africa Told Its Lagging Diamond Industry Needs a Boost

South Africa needs to boost its lagging diamond industry to re-establish the industry’s former glory, two keynote speakers said at the nation’s first Diamond Indaba in Johannesburg.

Ernie Blom, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, called on delegates at the conference to “work together as partners or we will all perish together as failures,” in a speech posted online by Mining Weekly October 28.

Even though South Africa is the world’s fifth-largest diamond producer and home to some of the diamond mining industry’s most iconic names, the number of workers employed in the sector in South Africa had fallen from a peak of 4,500 to 200 today, Blom said.

“We need to consider the benefits that we can derive as a region and individual countries if we collaborate to establish SADC as a diamond beneficiation hub," Barend Petersen, the executive chairperson at De Beers Consolidated Mines, told delegates at the Indaba, an African term for a conference, in a speech posted by Mining Weekly.


ECONWATCH  
 
Diamond Industry Stock Report

Shares of miners saw losses this past week, led by Petra Diamonds (-16%) after the South African miner reported disappointing results. Among retailers, JC Penney (-5.5%) and Nordstrom (-4.5%) lost value. Kering (+9%) led gains in European luxury stocks after it said 3Q revenue was fueled by a "surge" of Chinese tourist shoppers in Western Europe and Japan.

View the detailed industry stock report.

  Oct. 29 (10:52 GMT) Oct. 22 (13:00 GMT) Chng.  
$1 = Euro 0.91 0.89 0.024  
$1 = Rupee 65.24 65.10 0.1  
$1 = Israel Shekel 3.89 3.87 0.02  
$1 = Rand 13.77 13.51 0.27  
$1 = Canadian Dollar 1.32 1.31 0.01  
         
Precious Metals        
Gold $1,160.15 $1,167.98 -$7.83  
Platinum $979.50 $979.50 $0.00  
Silver $15.96 $15.82 $0.14  
         
Stock Indexes       Chng.
BSE 26,838.14 27,287.66 -449.52 -1.6%
Dow Jones 17,779.52 17,168.61 610.91 3.6%
FTSE 6,377.83 6,339.07 38.76 0.6%
Hang Seng 22,819.94 22,845.37 -25.43 -0.1%
S&P 500 2,090.35 2,018.94 71.41 3.5%
Yahoo! Jewelry 1,048.17 1,018.87 29.30 2.9%


INDIA MARKET REPORT  
 
Polished Trading Activity

Polished trading improving with U.S., Israeli and Chinese buyers looking for opportunities before Mumbai shuts for Diwali (Nov. 7-13). Local buyers also active as steady gold demand (+5% in 3Q, according to GFMS survey) raises expectations for Diwali. Good demand for 0.30-1ct., D-H, VS-SI, RapSpec A2+ (3X, none) diamonds. Very limited rough buying as manufacturers maintain low polished production and some factories closing early for Diwali. GIA hacking scandal adding to uncertainty with leadership meeting set to discuss implications.

Read the Polished Diamond Trading Report




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