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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 21, 2019 11:03 AM   By Rapaport News
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Market sentiment improves as focus shifts to retail ahead of Thanksgiving weekend. Jewelers preparing Black Friday promotions, with strong emphasis on e-commerce. Department stores and mall-based retailers offering heavy online discounts to entice customers. A lot of diamonds out on memo. Dealers maintaining firm prices for RapSpec A3+ diamonds, with positive trend in dossiers as reduced manufacturing has led to scarcity of better qualities. Cutters raising polished production in anticipation of post-holiday demand, but rough supply limited. Belgium Oct. rough imports -30% to $529M. Petra Diamonds sells 20.08 ct. blue rough for $14.9M ($741,000/ct.).

Fancies: Some improvement in 1 ct. and larger, G-H, VS-SI fancy shapes. Pears and Ovals are the strongest shapes. High-end collection goods weak as dealers and consumers shift to lower price points. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well in 1.50 and 2.99 ct., G-H, VS and H-K, SI2. Large Emeralds steady. Marquises and Princesses weak despite reduced manufacturing. US sustaining market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes since prices are lower than rounds. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell even at very deep discounts.

United States: Wholesale market stable. Dealers waiting for feedback from retailers about large quantity of goods out on memo. Steady demand for 0.90 to 1.50 ct., G-J, VS2-I1 diamonds for engagement rings. Jewelers more focused on selling than buying. Emphasis on improving e-commerce and omni-channel platforms.

Belgium: Busy activity in Diamantkring during Antwerp Rough Diamond Days, with Martin Rapaport presenting “Future of the Diamond Industry.” Lack of goods limiting transactions after 3Q market slump. Polished trading better than expected, with a lot of Israeli buyers looking for goods. Stable holiday demand for 1 to 2 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Large stones above 4 ct. slow.

Israel: Positive sentiment, with buyers looking for specific RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Suppliers concentrating on 1 ct., G-J, VS2-I1 stones for the US market. Dealers willing to compromise on profitability, preferring goods that are easy to sell quickly. Ovals and pears doing well in 1.50 to 2.99 ct. sizes. Good movement of fancy yellow diamonds above 3 ct.

India: Surat manufacturing back to normal as most workers have returned after Diwali break. Steady rough demand as factories raise polished production. Shortages in select RapSpec A3+ diamonds with no fluorescence. Overseas buyers, mainly from Israel and China, looking for SI to I1 goods, with some improvement in 0.30 to 0.50 ct., G-J, VS-SI stones. Local jewelry market relatively slow as wedding season begins.

Hong Kong: Diamond wholesale and jewelry retail markets extremely quiet as political protests have escalated. Many businesses closed or offering flexible work hours for staff. China retail picking up ahead of Chinese New Year on January 25. Improved demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., F-J, VS-SI diamonds. E-commerce offering strong growth opportunities. Uncertainty over trade war persists.
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