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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

May 16, 2019 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Rising expectations for Las Vegas shows. Good demand for 0.70 to 1.99 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+. Other categories weak. Large-stone dealers cautious amid high-end slowdown. Christie’s Geneva garners $62M (87% by lot) as cushion, 118.05 ct., fancy yellow, VS2 diamond sells for $7.1M ($60,000/ct.). Sotheby’s Geneva fetches $42M (77% by lot) with 36.57 ct., D, FL going for $5M ($137,036/ct.). Rough prices stable at De Beers sight but tight Indian liquidity impacting demand. Alrosa April sales -21% to $319M. Letšeng 1Q average price -42% to $1,900/ct. Petra sells 425 ct., D, type II rough to Stargems and Choron for $15M. Industry mourns the passing of Leo Schachter and Sam Abram.

Fancies: Fancy shapes soft, reflecting slowdown in high-end demand. Inventory limited. Buyers with special inquiries and big brands paying strong prices. Dealers being squeezed by lack of goods and low profit margins. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well, especially VS2-SI2. Pears, VS-clarity also steady. Demand for Radiants and Emeralds declined. Marquises and Princesses weak despite reduced manufacturing. US sustaining market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Chinese consumers seeking fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Slight improvement ahead of Las Vegas shows. Positive activity in 1.00 to 1.99 ct., G-J, VS-SI. Large stones weak, despite some interest from key buyers. More companies dealing in recycled goods as they offer better profit than newly manufactured diamonds. Retail sales steady after Mother’s Day with fashion jewelry the strongest segment.

Belgium: Sentiment improving for dealers in commercial-quality, 1 ct., G-I, VS-SI goods. Larger stones weak, especially D-F, IF-VVS pieces. More US jewelers carrying lab-grown collections, frustrating suppliers of natural diamonds. Buyers pushing for deeper discounts. Rough trading steady but lacking buzz during De Beers sight.

Israel: Trading stable as dealers prepare for Las Vegas shows. Polished suppliers concerned about synthetics threat, impact of trade war and struggling manufacturing sector. Dealers see India caution as reflection of sluggish global market. Soft demand for 0.30 to 0.69 ct., D-J, IF-VS. Steady US orders for 0.70 to 1.50 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods. Movement of 3 to 5 ct., D-G, IF-VS stones slow.

India: Cautious mood amid rumors more businesses closing. Dealer trading quiet with many extending their summer vacation due to slow orders. US and Israeli buyers in Mumbai looking for bargains before Las Vegas shows. Liquidity tight and cutters reducing production. Rough market stable, but manufacturing profit margins tight. Jewelers concentrating on gold rather than diamonds.

Hong Kong: Wholesale trading slow amid fears new US tariffs will impact Chinese diamond and jewelry exports. Weaker yuan (-3.5% to CNY 6.88/$1 in May) adding to export risk. Stable demand for 1.00 to 1.99 ct., G-M, VS-SI diamonds. Dealers shifting to lower colors. Retail sales mixed during May 1 and Mother’s Day holidays, with consumers seeing better investment in gold than diamond jewelry.
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