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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 26, 2020 10:32 AM   By Rapaport News
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Positive sentiment as US holiday season begins. NRF retail group forecasts Nov./Dec. sales +3.6% to $755B as consumers show willingness to spend on spirit-lifting gifts after challenging year. Covid-19 continues to spread, with concerns about crowded shopping areas. Jewelers investing in e-commerce, pushing Black Friday promotions on social media. India sees release of pent-up demand over Diwali. China recovery gains momentum. Tiffany & Co. 3Q sales -1% to $1B, profit +52% to $119M. Human Rights Watch claims jewelry trade’s responsible sourcing falls short of international standards. The Rapaport Group wishes all our friends a happy Thanksgiving and a successful holiday season.

Fancies: Reduced inventory supporting prices for select fancy shapes. Ovals and Pears strong in 1.50 to 2 ct., G-K, VS-SI categories and 3 to 5 ct. SIs. Princesses improving. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand and selling at premiums. Rising orders in China helping the market. Dealers hoping for increased 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: Rising expectations for holiday sales ahead of Thanksgiving weekend. Brands and large chains doing better than mom-and-pops. Independents with strong e-commerce capabilities performing well. Online retailers buying in anticipation of strong sales in the next month. Steady activity across the supply chain, with bridal the strongest category. Less inventory available due to lower supply during India’s Diwali break.

Belgium: Trading very quiet, with the country to remain on lockdown until mid-December. Exporters focused on US clients, with stable demand for 1 to 2 ct., G-H, VS-SI goods. Fancy shapes improving, with squares doing better than curve shapes. Low expectations for European holiday season. Rough market quiet since Diwali break.

Israel: Bourse activity low, with dealers filling last-minute US orders. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Fewer goods available as Indian suppliers slowly return from vacation. Below 1 ct. slightly weak. Lab-grown market relatively busy, with more dealers embracing synthetics. Israel Diamond Exchange election gaining interest, but members skeptical about candidates’ plans to revitalize the sector.

India: Activity gradually rising as businesses return from the Diwali break. Retail sentiment positive after good festival sales. Bridal driving demand during ongoing wedding season. Factories operating at 60% to 70% of capacity, with bulk of supply intended to fill US and Chinese holiday demand. Some shortages evident due to lack of manufacturing over Diwali and seasonal demand. Fancy shapes improving.

Hong Kong: Some caution as government imposes stricter measures to curb potential fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Low expectations for Christmas and Chinese New Year sales due to weak local sentiment and lack of tourist shoppers. Steady dealer demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, VS-SI goods and 1 to 1.50 ct. stones in the same quality range. Retail in mainland China robust. Chow Tai Fook Oct./Nov. sales +26% in mainland, -11% in Hong Kong and Macau.
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