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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Aug 6, 2020 11:18 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished market improving due to select demand from US and China. Shortages supporting prices; 1 ct. RAPI +1.9% in July. Jewelers acclimating to new normal by emphasizing digital sales and lower in-store inventory. De Beers considering layoffs and investing in tech to enable more efficient and customized supply. Rough trading slow and availability low after small De Beers and Alrosa sales. Alrosa in talks to sell $500M to $1B of excess supply to Gokhran. India renews appeal to limit rough buying. Chow Sang Sang expects 1H profit -65% to $26M as Hong Kong sees dramatic slump in tourism. AGS lab resumes grading synthetic diamonds after eight-year break.

Fancies: Reduced inventory supporting prices for select fancy shapes. Strength in Ovals and Pears, 1.50 to 2 ct. goods in I-K and VS categories and 3 to 5 ct. SIs. Rising demand for fancies in China helping the market. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand. Dealers hoping for improved sales of fancy shape engagement rings as consumers seek alternative designs at lower cost. High availability of fancies below 1 ct. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: Dealers receiving orders from retailers. Focus on bridal. Jewelers are looking for specific items rather than inventory but having difficulty finding the right goods. Steady demand for 0.70 to 1.50 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds. Estate jewelry market strong as high-end consumers and collectors seek authentic, branded pieces that hold value.

Belgium: Bourses closed and most companies on vacation through August. Polished suppliers concentrating on European market. Stable demand for collection goods. Rough sentiment mixed, with very little trading and few goods available after last week’s De Beers sight.

Israel: Companies with strong networks in the US and China coping with the crisis better than others. Shortages keeping prices firm in certain categories. Dealers eager to find new supply to fill existing orders. Steady interest in 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI.

India: Outlook improving amid gradual increase in demand from US and China. Manufacturing units running for longer hours but still operating well below capacity. Supply shortages supporting prices for round, 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, IF-VS goods (3X, none) following long period of limited production. Solid market for oval and pear, 1.20 ct. and larger, D-J, VS-SI diamonds. Liquidity tight as buyers forced to delay payments. Local retail sales slow.

Hong Kong: Third Covid-19 wave hurting diamond sector. Infection rate showing signs of slowing but outbreak will take time to bring under control. Wholesalers laying off employees to reduce costs. Trading weak as sellers refuse to lower prices. Retail sluggish amid tourism slump and subdued local sentiment. Polished imports down 50% to $4.6 billion in first half, with exports falling 46% to $3.7 billion.
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