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Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Aug 13, 2020 11:18 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sentiment improving after relatively good trading in July-August. Shortages supporting prices. Fewer dealers active in the market. Suppliers with the right goods that meet selective demand gaining market share. Manufacturers considering higher rough purchases as they assess 4Q inventory requirements. Rough buying limited due to travel restrictions and inflated De Beers and Alrosa prices. Alrosa July rough sales -86% to $23M. Sarine 1H profit of $1.2M vs. loss of $2.8M a year earlier, revenue -0.5% to $22M. Hong Kong 2Q polished imports -45% to $2.2B, exports -47% to $1.7B. GIA to provide full color and clarity grading for synthetics. ABN Amro to cease Hong Kong diamond lending.

Fancies: Reduced inventory supporting prices for select fancy shapes. Strength in Ovals and Pears, 1.50 to 2 ct. goods in I-K and VS categories and 3 to 5 ct. SIs. Rising demand for fancies in China helping the market. Excellent cuts and nice shapes in demand. Dealers hoping for improved 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: Stronger retail sales stimulating demand for select polished diamonds. High end doing well, with stock-market wealth boosting spending. Bridal segment strengthening. Stable demand and firm prices for 1 ct., G-H, SI diamonds, with shortages of nice makes. Liquidity tight and suppliers giving longer payment terms to loyal buyers. High gold prices influencing estate jewelers and pawnshops to reevaluate inventory.

Belgium: Market very quiet with many dealers on summer vacation. Bourses closed until end of August. Major manufacturers and dealers cautious about the rough market. Rising concerns about credit shortage when demand improves for contract goods from De Beers and Alrosa.

Israel: Some traffic in the bourse despite usual August summer lull. Sentiment slightly improved as dealers have made some sales and depleted inventories of in-demand goods. Less desirable diamonds available in large volumes. Manufacturers interested in buying rough again because of scarcities, but concerned about limited access to viewings and high prices as De Beers and Alrosa have not lowered prices during the downturn.

India: Trading stable, with dealers trying to fill orders before Jain festival of Paryushan (August 15 to 22). Improving US and Chinese demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., D-I, VVS-SI, RapSpec A3+ (3X, none) diamonds. Fancy shapes doing better, particularly ovals and cushions. Mumbai-based diamantaires frustrated by delays at customs in Bharat Diamond Bourse. Surat operations starting to open again as coronavirus restrictions ease. Rough and polished shortages fueling short-term optimism.

Hong Kong: Dealer market slow amid continued caution about Covid-19 and quiet summer season. Local retail weak due to lack of tourism. Steady interest in 0.80 to 1 ct., D-G, VVS-VS diamonds (3X, none) for engagement rings supporting the trade. Chinese buyers focused on 1 to 2 ct., D-J, VS-SI goods, with sellers maintaining prices amid supply shortages in the category in Hong Kong.
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