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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 19, 2020 10:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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Rising expectations for holiday season despite surge in Covid-19. US retail sales +5.7% in Oct. Digital driving growth in US and China: Walmart 3Q e-commerce +79% and Alibaba’s 11/11 Singles’ Day sales +26% to record $74B. Polished trading slow as Indian suppliers take Diwali vacation. Jewelers making final holiday orders. Steady demand for 1 to 2 ct., G-H, VS-SI goods in bridal category. Positive momentum continues in rough market. De Beers Nov. sales at $450M. Petra Diamonds FY revenue -36% to $296M, net loss of $223M. Alrosa cuts 2021 production plan to 30M cts. after reporting 30.6M cts. in inventory. Belgium Oct. polished exports -6% to $629M, rough imports +65% to $873M.

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: Dealers busy working to meet last-minute holiday demand and struggling to replace sold inventory as shortages of popular categories curb sales. Steady interest in 1 to 2 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Buyers not as focused on memo as before, instead completing more transactions as festive season peaks. Some concern that resurgence of Covid-19 cases may affect retail shopping.

Belgium: Market at a standstill with country on lockdown until December 13 and Indian diamantaires taking vacation for Diwali. Most suppliers have completed US holiday orders. Focus is on sourcing specific US and Chinese requests. Big-stone dealers doing well and seeing good demand for top-range 5 ct. and larger goods. More rough coming to market after sizable De Beers and Alrosa sales, fueling hope that dealers can fill shortages in certain categories.

Israel: Market cooling as bulk buyers complete their purchases for US holiday season. Dealers struggling to source goods while their primary polished suppliers in India are on vacation. Focus shifting to local market. Good activity during Rapaport single-stone auction. Stable demand for 2 ct. and larger rounds and fancy shapes. Sentiment weak across the trade amid significant downsizing due to Covid-19.

India: Very little activity with most businesses on Diwali vacation. Manufacturers taking shorter break to catch up on production time lost during lockdown. Factories likely to continue operating at around 70% capacity next week as rough from De Beers sight arrives. Suppliers also returning to fill final orders from US clients in time for Christmas.

Hong Kong: Polished trade improving during peak selling period but still well below previous years. Best-performing category is 0.30 to 1.50 ct., D-H, VS-SI, 3X. Retail sentiment weak as unemployment rate soars and travel restrictions prevent Chinese luxury shoppers from arriving. Mainland jewelers doing well and feeling optimistic for the season. Record Singles’ Day e-commerce sales boost retail outlook.     
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