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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jun 14, 2018 10:59 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market stable as Las Vegas shows signal robust US jewelry sector. Chinese retail also improving, spurring optimism for rest of the year. Good demand for 0.50 ct. SIs and improving trend for 0.70 ct. Rough trading steady after small $288M Alrosa May sale. Cutters cautious ahead of next week’s De Beers sight due to tight profit margins. Graff Diamonds 2017 sales +22% to $693M, profit +232% to $52M. Christie’s NY sells $20M (89% by lot), with 20.47 ct., D, FL diamond fetching $2.7M ($132K/ct.). US March polished imports flat at $2B. Belgium May polished exports +5% to $1.2B, rough imports -14% to $905M. China cuts import tariffs on precious-stone jewelry from 35% to 10%.

Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, followed by Emeralds, Pears and Cushions. Marquises and Princesses weak. Oversizes selling well. Steady demand for fine-quality 6 to 10 ct. Ovals, Pears and Emeralds, with prices firming for 3 to 5 ct. due to shortages. 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: Stable New York trading as dealers return from Las Vegas shows. Healthy diamond market due to positive retail jewelry environment. Good demand for 1 ct., F-J, VS-SI. Rising interest in 5 ct.+, F-I, SI stones. Suppliers keeping prices firm. Jewelers holding less inventory and taking more on memo.

Belgium: Positive sentiment despite slower Vegas shows. Dealers optimistic for second half of the year and encouraged by steady US and Chinese demand. Best sellers are 1 to 2 ct., I-L, VS-SI diamonds. Pears, ovals and cushions doing well among fancy shapes. Rough activity steady during Alrosa sale and ahead of De Beers sight (June 18 to 21).

Israel: US-focused suppliers doing well, with good orders for SI-I1-clarity diamonds. Traders maintaining stable prices, even if it means losing the sale. Online channels gaining greater importance. Solid interest in 0.30 to 0.50 ct., G-J, SI stones. 0.70 ct. improving after long period of stagnation.

India: Dealers focused on post-Vegas follow-up and preparing for next week’s Hong Kong show (June 21 to 24). Twenty-two companies participating in India Diamond Week networking event at China’s Shenzhen Rough Diamond Exchange. Few overseas buyers in Mumbai. Polished production at slightly lower levels, after rough purchases declined in May due to high prices. Focus turning to next week’s De Beers sight.

Hong Kong: Trading better than in previous weeks. Rising confidence among Chinese jewelers expected to boost activity at next week’s Hong Kong show. Stable demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., F-G, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) diamonds. Fancy colored diamonds gaining traction, with more jewelers using color in collections, particularly yellows. Retail continues to improve.
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