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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Dec 12, 2019 11:03 AM   By Rapaport News
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Polished trading driven by last-minute US holiday orders and preparations for Chinese New Year. Multi-channel marketing and personalization are key themes for retail this season. Consumers shifting to lower price points. Diamantaires satisfied with Dec. orders after tough year. Dealers hoping reduced rough supply will support prices and relieve inflated polished inventory. De Beers cuts production plan to 32M-34M cts. as Anglo American reports 2019 inventory grew by $500M. Bain forecasts recovery only in 2021. ABN Amro tightens credit conditions, citing reduced midstream requirements due to streamlined production and sales efficiency.

Fancies: Some improvement in 1 ct. and larger, G-H, VS-SI fancy shapes. Excellent-cut pears and ovals selling well as more affordable alternatives to rounds. High-end qualities soft 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: New York trading stable as dealers take last-minute holiday orders and await feedback on consignment sales. Activity down slightly from November as the Christmas break approaches. Recycled market busy as pawn shops see strong interest from buyers and resellers. Steady memo demand from retailers for rounds and ovals in 1 to 2 ct., G-H, VS-SI categories. Major brands trying to woo customers with pop-up stores and community events.

Belgium: Market slowing before the Christmas break, but mood positive after Nov./Dec. improvements. Holiday orders selective as jewelers avoid holding large inventory over the festive period. Buyers insisting on shorter delivery time from suppliers and taking more goods on memo. Solid US interest in 1.50 ct., G-H, VS2-SI2 diamonds, while 0.30 to 0.70 ct. continues to improve. Rough trading slightly more active during De Beers sight week.

Israel: Bourse relatively quiet for this time of year. Suppliers focused on filling US holiday orders and planning for 2020. Far East demand down. Buyers looking for goods in India but are very selective and finding it difficult to fulfill their requirements due to shortages. Rough dealers concentrating on commercial qualities. 4- to 8-grainer rough weak despite firm market for 0.30 to 0.70 ct. polished.

India: Sluggish polished trading, with buyers struggling to find the right goods due to scarcity of popular categories. Manufacturers cautiously raising production levels. Factories still operating below capacity with large inventories of lower-quality diamonds that are difficult to sell at a profit. 0.30 to 0.70 ct., G-J, SI-I1 moving well. Stars and melee stable in SI and lower piqué clarities. Jewelry retail sales relatively slow given the ongoing wedding season.

Hong Kong: Sentiment improving as business returns to normal following months of demonstrations. Chinese buyers coming back to the city in search of goods for the Chinese New Year on January 25. Steady demand for 0.50 to 0.70 ct., D-I, VS-SI, RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Shift to lower colors in 1 ct. category. Hong Kong retail still depressed, but mainland China jewelers seeing solid consumer interest.
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