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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Mar 8, 2018 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond market positive despite slower-than-expected Hong Kong show. China outlook optimistic, with some uncertainty over unlimited Xi Jinping rule. Government relaxing anti-corruption measures, and consumers more confident about displaying wealth. Chinese female self-purchases rising. Hong Kong jewelry and watch sales +10% to $1B in Jan. Diamond buyers adapting to higher polished-price levels, with 1 ct. RAPI +0.7% in Feb. Manufacturers’ profit margins tighter, with higher rough prices at $555M De Beers sight. Alrosa sells $541M in Feb. Rough trading steady; boxes selling at around 5% premiums. Belgium Feb. polished exports -6% to $1.3B, rough imports -5% to $866M.

Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, Marquises strong, followed by Pears and Cushions. Emeralds and Radiants fair, Princesses still weak. Oversizes selling well. Steady demand for fine-quality 6 to 10 ct. Ovals, Pears and Emeralds, with limited supply. US supporting market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Far East demand improving as consumers seek fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: New York trading stable. Dealers eyeing trends at Hong Kong show, maintaining firm prices. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. A lot of fancy color diamonds available. Cushions improving. Jewelers focused on engagement and bridal collections.

Belgium: Antwerp quiet, after many dealers traveled to the Hong Kong show. Some US and European buyers looking for goods; collection VVS diamonds doing well.Solid dealer demand for GIA dossiers. Rough market strong, with relatively large volume of Alrosa goods available.

Israel: Stable market, with robust dealer trading at Hong Kong show. Suppliers disappointed with Chinese retail turnout. Positive demand for 1 ct., F-H, VS1-VS2 diamonds. Low colors (K-M) selling well. Steady European interest in high-end goods, but IF weak.

India: Mumbai trading slow with Hong Kong show drawing focus. Large suppliers holding prices firm. Good market for dossiers and 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds. Stars and melee improving. Banks more cautious in lending to the trade following Nirav Modi-Gitanjali Gems fraud case. Tighter credit and higher rough prices lead to liquidity concerns.

Hong Kong: Positive sentiment at show, with fewer but more serious buyers attending. Big Hong Kong brands looking for goods and expanding retail footprint. Jewelers still assessing Chinese New Year sales and are expected to restock in coming months. Steady demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., D-J, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) stones. Fancy color diamonds also selling well.
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