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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Aug 15, 2019 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Low expectations for Sep. Hong Kong show due to slowdown in Chinese demand and escalation of political protests. Trade war affecting confidence. US jewelers likely to raise local manufacturing as 10% tariff on diamond and jewelry imports from China takes effect Sep. 1. Weak Macy’s 2Q results reflect struggling malls and drop in tourist spending. Devalued yuan adds price pressure for Chinese diamond importers. Hong Kong 1H polished imports -6% to $9.1B. Rough market quiet, with cutters reducing factory output through Oct. 27 Diwali break. Sarine 2Q revenue -35% to $12M, net loss of $1.4M vs. profit of $3.6M. India July polished exports -18% to $1.5B, rough imports -34% to $1.1B.

Fancies: Fancy shapes soft, reflecting slowdown in overall demand. 3 to 8 ct., I-K, VS-SI1 moving better than rounds as dealers and consumers shift to lower price points. Well-known brands are paying highest prices, as are buyers with specific requests. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well, especially 1.50 and 2 ct., G-H, VS and H-K, SI2. 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: Jewelry market slow, with decline in buyers and exhibitors at New York JA show. High-end manufacturers seeing fewer orders. Steady memo demand for 1.25 to 2.25 ct., G-H, SI-I1 goods. Melee stable, but jewelers not buying for inventory. Dealers hoping reduced production will create shortages that will support prices after Diwali.

Belgium: Antwerp diamond district very quiet during vacation period. Bourses scheduled to reopen on August 19.

Israel: Very little activity during summer break with diamond exchange closed until August 25.Dealers preparing for upcoming Hong Kong show, but greater emphasis on supplying to US market ahead of holiday season.

India: IIJS show sees slow diamond trading, but steady gold inquiries ahead of festival and wedding season. Jewelers waiting for gold-price stability before making orders. Polished production reduced by estimated 30%, with cutters shifting to lower-cost goods to keep workers. Large volume of 0.30 to 0.70 ct. available; suppliers selling in parcels to save on grading costs. Steady demand for better-quality SIs (RapSpec A3+), which are difficult to find.

Hong Kong: Trading and retail activity very quiet as political protests intensify. Rising uncertainty about Sep. fair following temporary airport closure, despite organizers’ assurances the show will go ahead. Drop in tourist arrivals impacting luxury sales. Steady demand for 0.50 to 1 ct., J-M, SI goods. Weak demand for 2 ct.+, D-F, IF-VVS diamonds.
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