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Rapaport Market Report

Sep 24, 2015 6:00 PM  
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Hong Kong show OK but Chinese demand slow before Oct. 1 Golden Week. Polished buyers selective and making low offers. Certs slow with better demand for lower quality parcels. Polished production significantly reduced as cutters shrink existing inventory. De Beers says 2014 global production -3% to 142M ct., diamond jewelry demand +3% to $80B. Russia’s 1H rough exports -16% to $2.1B, production +8% to 18.5M cts. Petra Diamonds FY revenue -10% to $425M, profit -12% to $60M. Sotheby’s expects up to $4.6M/ct. for cushion-shape, 12.03 ct., fancy vivid blue, IF diamond. THE RAPAPORT PRICE LIST WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON OCT. 2 DUE TO JEWISH HOLIDAY OF SUCCOT.

Fancies: Demand soft. Pears, Ovals and Cushions steady, Princess, Hearts slow. Prices for curves improving slightly. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1-carat. Far East fancy demand weak. Buyers are very selective and insisting on excellent-shape proportions. Significant price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly-cut fancies illiquid and very hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Diamond suppliers have not yet reported the usual rise in activity associated with the pre-Christmas holiday period. Still, demand is steady and there is some optimism that stronger orders will start to flow in the coming weeks. As prices have softened in the third quarter, dealers expect an improvement in demand for better-quality F to G color, VS and SI clarity diamonds, which have become harder for dealers to restock. There is also steady demand for promotional goods in F to J color, I1 to I2 clarity. Jewelry retailers noted slower-than-expected traffic during the summer but steady sales of larger stones, while the bridal and engagement ring segment continues to hold up. Round diamonds under 1-carat are the top retail sellers, with improving demand for cushions and ovals. Demand for princess shape diamonds is weak.

Belgium: Activity in Antwerp was fairly subdued this week as the market focused on the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair. The mood has improved since the beginning of September when dealers returned from the summer break and there is some optimism that trading will pick up for the Christmas holiday season. Trading is focused on filling U.S. and European demand, while the market in China and Hong Kong remains cautious. Rough trading is stable with some Russian boxes selling at slight premiums on the secondary market following ALROSA’s September 8 percent to 10 percent price cuts.

Hong Kong: The all-important September show met dealers’ low expectations with steady activity but lower visitor traffic and transactions than in previous years. The mood was relatively positive as dealers embraced the opportunity to sell after the lull in trading experienced in August. However, buyers were cautious and prepared to wait if the price wasn’t right. Demand remains order specific and there is still very little buying taking place to build up inventory. Attention now turns to the retail market with moderate expectations for jewelry sales during the October 1 Golden Week festival.

India: Sentiment remains weak in Mumbai as the Hong Kong show didn’t inspire renewed confidence among the local trade. There is business being conducted but transaction volumes are below levels usually seen at this time of year. There is steady demand for dossiers, 0.50-carat to 2-carat, G-J, SI-I2 diamonds, with stable demand for piqué goods. Dealers report weak local demand for diamonds larger than 2 carats. Cutters are still holding a lot of inventory of lower quality diamonds, while there is a reported shortage of eye-clean, nice-make goods due to reduced manufacturing in the past year. Polished production remains at low capacity and factories are not expected to significantly ramp up output before the November Diwali break. Consequently, rough trading is stable but the recent price cuts failed to stimulate a significant rise in demand.

Israel: The past week was a fairly rushed one for many Israeli diamantaires who traveled to the Hong Kong show between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Consequently, activity in the Israel Diamond Exchange was light with the bourse closed on those religious days. Dealers were watching trends in Hong Kong and while there was busy activity in the Israel pavilion at the show, overall Far East demand remains cautious. Polished suppliers are now focused on the U.S. and filling orders for the holiday season, with steady demand for 0.70-carat to 2-carat, G-J, SI-I2 goods popular in the U.S. market.
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