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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 12, 2018 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Optimistic mood as trading resumes after spring break. Polished prices stable, with 1 ct. RAPI -0.1% in March. Chinese dealers buying stock ahead of potential yuan devaluation that may raise local prices if China-US trade war emerges. European high-end market mixed, with large luxury houses doing better than smaller niche players: LVMH 1Q jewelry & watch sales +9% to $1.2B; De Grisogono to cut around 40 jobs in strategic shift to affordable fine jewelry & watches. Sotheby’s Hong Kong sells $49M (61% by lot), but emerald-cut, 14.18 ct., fancy blue, VVS2 diamond ring remains unsold. Alrosa March sales -1% to $560M. Hong Kong 2017 polished imports +9% to $18.9B, exports +5% to $14B.

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 quiet after Passover holiday. Little urgency to sell, and suppliers not prepared to reduce prices after good 1Q. Dealers optimistic for 2Q, with focus on Las Vegas shows. Solid demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS2-I2 diamonds. Growth-minded retailers investing in e-commerce, better distribution and innovation in effort to drive customers to stores.

Belgium: Positive sentiment after Easter break, although trading still subdued. Prices steady for commercial goods, with consistent demand for 1 to 2 ct., H+, VS-SI diamonds. Lower colors improving. Rough trading stable during De Beers sight, with boxes selling on the secondary market at slightly lower premiums.

Israel: Slow trading as dealers return from Passover vacation. Demand centering around 0.30 to 1.49 ct., G-J, VS2-SI range. Large-stone orders quiet. Dealers focused on US market, with rising expectations for upcoming Las Vegas shows. Steady interest in special-size rough.

India: US and Asian buyers driving activity. Good demand for 0.30 to 0.60 ct. and 1 ct., J-M, I1-I2 diamonds. Manufacturers with sizable credit lines facing greater scrutiny from banks amid concern large companies may reduce prices to raise liquidity. Trading expected to improve during Bharat Diamond Week (April 23 to 25).

Hong Kong: Slight slowdown since last month’s show, but business still better than a year ago. Dossiers moving well. Steady orders for 2 to 3 ct. in lower I-M colors. Stronger tourist spending and improved job market lift retail sentiment in 2018. Chinese yuan depreciation may reduce tourist shopping.
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