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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Sep 12, 2019 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Low expectations for next week’s Hong Kong show, with fewer suppliers and buyers attending due to ongoing demonstrations. Dealers hoping polished trading will improve as US holiday season approaches. Rapaport calls for $1B industry-wide marketing campaign for engagement rings, including $500M matching funds from mining companies. Signet 2Q bridal sales -4% to $560M, Tiffany engagement jewelry -3% to $277M. CIBJO urges jewelers to focus on environmentally conscious, gender-neutral Gen Z-ers (ages 15 to 25). Midstream inventory declined due to reduced manufacturing. Alrosa Aug. rough sales -36% to $180M. Rapaport announces first Estate Jewelry Auction, Nov. 3-7, in New York.

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: New York wholesale market quiet. Dealers struggling to compete with Indian suppliers who are increasingly selling direct to retailers. Some diamantaires diversifying into niche segments such as estate jewelry to improve profit margins. Fashion jewelry growth stronger than bridal.

Belgium: Slightly better activity in both the rough and polished markets, with some demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+. Pointer-size fancy-yellow and fancy-intense-yellow stones also firmer. Buyers are selective and pushing for higher discounts as they sense suppliers’ need to raise liquidity and move inventory. Rough auctions stronger than last month, as manufacturers require goods for the US holiday season before the Diwali break.

Israel: Mixed sentiment. Some US demand ahead of the fourth-quarter selling season, but concerns remain about the Hong Kong fair. Fewer dealers traveling to the show. Stable interest in 0.50 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ goods. Faint and stronger fluorescent goods selling at notable discount to nonfluorescent. Dealers looking for buying opportunities following 2019 price declines.

India: Market for 0.30 to 0.40 ct. stabilizing due to lower production. Buyers looking to fill specific requests rather than build inventory. Fewer dealers than usual going to Hong Kong show due to ongoing protests and drop in Chinese wholesale demand. Suppliers focused on 0.30 to 1 ct., D-H, VS-SI goods. Manufacturers maintaining low polished production but starting to consider rough purchases before Diwali break, which begins on October 27.

Hong Kong: Political protests continue to impact wholesale and retail business. Hope for busier trading during next week’s show, but few expect successful fair compared to previous years. Stable demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-K, VS-SI1 diamonds, while buyers are pushing for deeper discounts on SI2-I1 goods. Chinese buyers cautious, even as consumer spending on mainland appears robust. Rising interest in colored gems amid shift to lower-budget jewelry.
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