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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Jun 13, 2019 10:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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Disappointing Las Vegas shows failed to add value for diamond dealers. Jewelry wholesalers did better, reflecting steady US market. Diamantaires focused on showcasing tech rather than diamonds; innovations included improved traceability programs, online sales platforms and better inventory management. Brands pushing bridal as average engagement-ring price continues to decline. Small De Beers June sight expected as manufacturers reduce cutting operations. Alrosa May sales -8% to $266M. Chow Tai Fook FY sales +13% to $8.5B, profit +11% to $597M, but 2H growth flat amid trade war uncertainty. Industry mourns the passing of former GIA president Glenn Nord.

Fancies: Fancy shapes soft, reflecting slowdown in high-end 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 and buyers with specific requests are paying the strongest prices. Ovals for fashion jewelry moving well, especially VS2-SI2. Demand for Radiants and Emeralds down. 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: Stable New York trading as dealers return from Vegas shows. Some optimism for second half of the year amid positive jewelry retail sentiment. Good demand for 0.70 to 1.99 ct., F-J, VS2-SI2 diamonds. Buyers lacking urgency. Memo houses doing well, as jewelers are holding less in-house inventory.

Belgium: Polished trading slow during short week due to Whit Monday public holiday. Little reaction to Vegas shows, as fewer suppliers attended. Commercial-quality G-J, VS-SI diamonds selling better than collection goods (D-F, IF-VVS). Buyers looking at price points and avoiding inventory buildup. Rough trading cautious ahead of Alrosa sale (June 13 to 19) and De Beers sight (June 17 to 21).

Israel: Market quiet, with concern that conditions will worsen before they get better. Dealers at the JCK show were looking for buying opportunities but cautious about falling diamond prices. Focus remains on mid-range American goods. Large stones weak. Thirty companies participating in Hong Kong show (June 20 to 23), hoping for improvement in Chinese demand.

India: Weak sentiment, with manufacturers under pressure due to sluggish polished demand and tight profit margins. Factories operating at reduced capacity, and some manufacturers slashing salaries of polished workers. Fewer foreign buyers in Mumbai after Las Vegas shows. Steady orders for 0.30 to 0.99 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds, but prices continue to soften. Concern that rising demand for synthetics is cannibalizing small-stone market.

Hong Kong: Polished trading slow amid buyers’ reluctance to invest in down-trending market. Sentiment weak due to US-China trade war and slow global trading. Steady interest in 0.30 to 0.50 ct., F-I, VS-SI RapSpec A3+ diamonds, but excess supply still affecting prices. Shortage of top-quality SIs (3X, no-fluorescence, no black, green or milky). Dealers preparing for next week’s show.
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