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Rapaport Market Report

May 19, 2016 8:07 AM   By Rapaport News
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Rounds: World Diamond Congress focuses on transparency, responsibility, sustainability with discussions about financing and regulatory requirements for compliance auditing. 2016 looking better than 2015 but demand still sluggish. Mixed expectations for Las Vegas shows with U.S. consumers cautious in election year. Steady rough demand and stable prices at De Beers sight. Namibia signs 10-year supply deal with De Beers. Chow Tai Fook warns 1Q profit down 40-50%. Sotheby’s Geneva sells $175M (83% by lot) with pear-shape, 15.38 ct., fancy vivid pink, VVS2 diamond fetching $31M ($2.1M/ct.). Christie’s Geneva sells $149M with rectangle, 14.62 ct., vivid blue, VVS1 ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ selling for $57.5M ($3.9M/ct.). WFDB adds GJEPC as member, re-elects Ernie Blom president. Ronnie Vanderlinden elected IDMA president.

Fancies: Ovals doing well and cushions have cooled off. Emeralds selling. Princess and Hearts slow. Top quality fine-cut fancy shapes OK but buyers are extremely picky. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1 ct. 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: Sentiment is weak as New York trading slows. Dealers concerned about profitability as demand softened in the past month, particularly for 3 to 4 ct. diamonds. Steady demand for 1 to 2 ct., G-I, VS-SI goods. Suppliers focused on preparing the right inventory for JCK Las Vegas show (June 3-6). Retail sentiment weaker after department stores reported weak 1Q sales. Jewelers sustained by engagement and bridal sales.

Belgium: Steady business despite slower buyer traffic in Antwerp. Dossiers selling well with good demand for 0.30 to 1.25 ct., D-J, VS2-SI1, 3X diamonds. 3 to 5 ct. relatively weak with improving demand for commercial-quality H-J, SI goods. Fancy shapes mixed with good demand for ovals and better-quality pears. Squares on edge. Rough trading stable during sight week.

Israel: Polished trading seasonally quiet. Large delegation traveling to Las Vegas with mixed expectations for JCK show. Liquidity squeezed with suppliers cautious to give clients credit while bank lending is tight. A lot of goods sold on memo. Steady demand for 0.30 to 1.99 ct., D-I, VS-SI, 3X diamonds. 5 ct.-plus improving in lower qualities. Rough trading stable with large-stone manufacturers eyeing prices at next week’s International Rough Diamond Week in Ramat Gan.

India: Stable market but trading relatively quiet during summer holiday period. Steady U.S. and Far East demand. Dealers looking for goods ahead of Las Vegas shows and expect trading to improve in June. Domestic demand sluggish with relatively weak sales during Akshaya Tritiya gold buying season. Manufacturing levels stable. Rough trading steady with sightholders reporting good value in De Beers boxes during sight week.

Hong Kong: Polished trading slowed from previous weeks. Steady demand from China with steady inquiries for 1 to 2 ct., D-J, VS-SI RapSpec A2 diamonds. 3 to 5 ct. slow. Weak consumer sentiment and decline in tourist arrivals impacting jewelry retail sales. Higher gold prices also discouraging jewelry purchases.
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